Thirteen academics from the North-West University (NWU) received recognition for their excellence in community engagement.
They were honoured during the NWU’s Excellence in Community Engagement (CE) Awards Ceremony that took place on 31 March.
The vice-chancellor, Prof Dan Kgwadi, conveyed his congratulations to all the recipients and said he wished they would encourage others to also become community-engaged researchers and innovators, engaged teaching and learning implementers, and corporate citizens – not only sharing their expertise with grassroots communities, but also with industry partners and other universities.
Prof Marilyn Setlalentoa, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Community Engagement and Campus Operations: Mahikeng Campus, said during the virtual event that community engagement at the NWU was growing, and as a leading university the NWU had to ensure that the world of knowledge it generated was harnessed to the benefit of the communities it served.
“As much as the NWU’s academic pursuits can and will benefit its communities and societies at large, we firmly believe that neither knowledge generating nor knowledge sharing should be a one-sided affair.
“We have embraced the notion of integrating CE into the core business of the university, measuring CE into scholarship of engagement, and the NWU becoming an engaged university.
“Outreach remains one of the aspects that is given attention under the banner of sharing expertise. The engagement process is a scholarly agenda that incorporates community issues that can be within or integrated across teaching, research or outreach.”
She wished the recipients all the best for their future and the great impact they all hoped to make together in the spirit of ubuntu.
The contributions that were recognised in the different categories during 2020 were:
Scholarship of Engagement:
• Prof Juaneé Cilliers, previously from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, for the Small Towns Makeover Project, science communication.
• Prof Leenta Grobler and Dr Henri Marais from the Faculty of Engineering for the TjopTjop Covid-19 screening app.
Engaged Teaching and Learning:
• Prof Carisma Nel and Dr Elma Marais from the Faculty of Education for the Teaching and Learning Development Capacity Improvement Programme: Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Works.
• Dr Corné van der Vyver from the Faculty of Education for strengthening community identity through storytelling as a teaching strategy.
Engaged Teaching and Learning and Outreach:
• Ms Lorraine Erica Derbyshire from the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences for various School of Accounting Sciences community engagement activities.
Engaged Research and Sharing of Expertise:
• Prof Josef de Beer from the Faculty of Education for Teachers Without Borders: Establishing indigenous knowledge science labs in rural schools.
• Dr Marinda Neethling from the Faculty of Education for a community engagement project to support in-service teachers in the Umzinyathi District.
Sharing of Expertise:
• Prof Riaan de Jongh from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences for his lifelong community engagement contribution to the South African financial services industry.
• Ms Kgomotso Mopalami from the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences for the development of the SABPP HR Practitioner Checklist.
Sharing of Expertise and Outreach:
• Dr Kezell Klinck from the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences for Community Engagement at Heart.
• Prof Mulunda Mwanza from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences for the Animal Health Outreach Programme to the community.