Engagement is the process of transferring, applying and shaping the university's knowledge and resources with those of the broader community (both internal and external) to
The definition provided above distinguishes four elements that are common to engagement at the NMMU:
1. It should be informed by scholarly activity. An academic/scholarship based model of engagement involves both the act of engaging (bringing the university and community together as partners) and the product of engagement (the spread of disciplines generated, evidence-based practices and communities).
2. It should be integrated and embedded into the core functions of the university.
3. It is reciprocal and mutually beneficial. It involves a two-way flow of knowledge and there is a high potential for joint learning.
4. There is mutual planning, implementation and assessment among partners which includes external stakeholders, students and university staff.
NMMU’s definition of Engagement is as follows:
“Engagement is a reciprocal process of mutual sharing of knowledge, skills and resources between the NMMU and the broader community to enrich scholarship, research; enhance teaching and learning and creative activity; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; contribute to public good and transformation and to enhance social, economic and ecological sustainability”
Vision 2020, Strategic Priority 4 is as follows:
“To position NMMU as an engaged institution that contributes to a sustainable future through critical scholarship”:
“By 2020, NMMU is widely recognised for its responsiveness to societal needs through collaborative and mutually beneficial partnerships at local, regional, national and international levels.
Scholarship is invigorated and enhanced through engagement activities that enable learning beyond the classroom walls.
Engagement is integrated into the core activities of the institution and cuts across the mission of teaching, research and service in a manner that develops responsible and compassionate citizens; strengthens democratic values and contributes to the public good; and enhances social, economic and ecological sustainability”
The NMMU’s engagement activities and projects fall within four broad categories:
Engagement through Community Interaction, Service and Outreach
Engagement through Professional/Discipline-based Service Provision
Engagement through Teaching and Learning
Engagement through Research and Scholarship
The engagement activities of academics fall along a continuum and they often straddle categories. The engagement activities falling within the four categories are often interdependent and integrated.
The NMMU Engagement Conceptual Framework and Typology
The Engagement Continuum
Levels of Community Engagement in Engaged Research
This is a term that captures scholarship in the areas of service provision, teaching and learning and research.
It involves academics in mutually beneficial partnerships with communities and has the following characteristics: clear goals, adequate preparation, appropriate methods, significant results, effective presentation, reflective critique, rigour and peer review.
It engages academics in academically relevant work that simultaneously meets university mission and goals and the needs of the external communities.
In essence, it is a scholarly agenda that integrates community issues into disciplinary work of academics.
It can be transdisciplinary and often integrates some combination of multiple forms of scholarship.
Common misconceptions about the scholarship of engagement:
That engaged scholarship is just another term for ‘applied research’;
That the standards for engaged scholarship are less rigorous than the standards for traditional scholarship;
That engaged scholarship is for social scientists;
That all community engaged-work can be scholarly.
Enabling structures for the scholarship of engagement at NMMU:
The engagement portfolio should demonstrate:
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