The Faculty of Humanities: fostering engagement and social change

The Faculty of Humanities (FHUM) at the North-West University (NWU) has an approach to education that goes beyond textbooks and lectures. Here, students and staff embark on a journey that not only sharpens their minds but also nurtures their hearts, fostering a sense of responsibility towards creating a better world. Through engaged research, teaching and community activities, the FHUM lights the way for positive change, shaping a more just and equitable society for all.

“In this vibrant community, education is more than an academic pursuit; it is a calling to make a meaningful impact. Through service learning and work-integrated learning, students do not just learn, they grow into compassionate professionals ready to make a difference,” says Prof Herculene Kotzé, deputy dean for community engagement, business development and stakeholder relations.

“We follow this approach to ensure we create an environment where students become active citizens who understand the importance of social justice, and to elevate their graduate attributes.”

For example, the Development Communication Honours programme of the School of Communication pairs students with NGOs, where they gain practical experience and see the profound impact of their work first-hand. Meanwhile, the Academic Literacy subject group in the School of Languages helps high school learners transition to higher education by equipping them with essential academic writing skills.

Central to the FHUM's philosophy is the concept of engagement, where the lines between academia and community blur. This collaborative spirit brings researchers and community partners together to tackle real-world challenges. The School of Social Sciences, for instance, is delving into the employment experiences of graduates, aiming to bridge gaps and enhance opportunities. By blending expert knowledge with community insights, the FHUM aims addresses pressing issues, spark innovation and foster community well-being.

The goal is clear: to create evidence-based solutions that advance social justice and promote collective welfare.

But the commitment does not stop at teaching and research. The FHUM is deeply rooted in community service, always seeking ways to give back. Their projects, such as the “Musicking at Huis Anna Viljoen” of the School of Music, and the “School Shoe Donation” initiative of the School of Philosophy, embody this spirit. These acts of kindness do more than provide immediate help – they bring hope and resilience to communities, empowering them to overcome challenges.

“The dedication to social change at the FHUM goes beyond acts of service. Academic professionals here use their expertise to advocate justice, both within the university and beyond. Through initiatives such as the NWU Forum and media appearances, the FHUM scholars engage the public, share knowledge, and inspire action. Staff also serve as external moderators and examiners for various institutions and editors/co-editors and reviewers for highly acclaimed academic publications, enriching education locally and globally,” says Prof Kotzé.

“At the FHUM, the mission is clear: to infuse teaching, research, and community engagement with a passion for making a lasting, positive impact. In this community, learning is intertwined with love, and every act of service, every research project and every lesson taught is a step towards a brighter, more compassionate world.”


The school shoes donated in March this year to the Tshidilamolomo, Matloding, Masamane, Mathateng, Dingateng, Mabule, and Makgori primary schools, arrived just in time for the chilly winter. This timely donation is crucial, as it ensures that the kids have appropriate footwear for school, which is essential for their comfort, safety, and ability to focus on their studies during the colder months.

This project is part of the partnership between the School of Philosophy and the Tswelelopele Empowerment Foundation.

Submitted on Wed, 07/10/2024 - 14:30