What We Do

The pandemic certainly shifted the HoC into high gear, making it impossible to follow an informed course of action. The CCW has evolved significantly since its conceptualization, catalyzing a plethora of lessons about university and community partnerships. Moreover, the sense-making space driven by the
Research Team through its community of practice, as well as the ongoing dialogue with the Research Project itself, have proven vital to this process. 
Conceptually, the CCW has repositioned the various transdisciplinary projects into thematic hubs. One could understand these hubs as spaces in which the HoC, along with other ETP Units (such as CIPSET, the Transformation Office, the HIV-AIDS Unit, and CANRAD) have been co-constructing programmes in collaboration with communities, centres and faculties across the University, as well as stakeholders across civil society at large. The CCW has played a key role in assisting these projects to secure funding, develop proposals, deepening conceptual design, connecting to other organizations, organizing and facilitating meetings and workshops and reporting to the COVID-19 Coordinating Committee (CCC).
The Research Project, titled “The University, Community Engagement and COVID19”, is informed by the work of the CCW and aims to explore how the University’s mandate of community engagement is taken forward in response to COVID-19. The value of our research is supported by an increasing need for understanding community engagement outside of elitist notions of university interventions. 

Our Objectives

Objective 1

1(a) To position the Hubs of Convergence within the Engagement and Transformation Portfolio as a physical and intellectual space of exploration to support the core purpose and outcome of Vision 2030.
1(b) To critically support the interface of the four strategic focus areas to enable the University’s positioning/re-positioning around its engagement and transformation agenda in service of society.

Objective 2

To expand our understanding and clarification of knowledge co-construction through engagement and research by actively engaging with university faculties, centres, and units, as well as ‘community’ groupings about the implications of research for supporting the development of university and ‘community’ programmes and actions that respond meaningfully to the historical and contextual challenges of our time.

Objective 3

To facilitate the integration of teaching and learning and engagement into university and ‘community’ programmes and actions, producing innovative, socially useful knowledge that introduces local knowledge systems and solutions to the global conversation.

Objective 4

To develop the conceptualisation, methodology and activities that facilitate the co-construction of knowledge through engagement to support, enhance, and demonstrate the attributes of a transformative, responsive university.


Methodological Approach

A critical participatory action learning and action research approach is being followed to conceptualise the HoC. This approach lends itself to the exploration of the phenomena of engagement and its modalities while at the same time being responsive to present-day challenges.
It is through a critical evaluation of the many forms of engagement and their useful applications that we will be able to produce ‘cutting edge knowledge,’ which will inform our engagement praxis in the metro, province, country, continent and globally.
The process of the HoC conceptualisation is iterative, non-linear, messy, contested, and human and material resource-intensive. But it is through these processes, that knowledge is generated, which will help us better understand how to be responsive to the societal challenges of the 21st century.  A key part of this understanding is ensuring that all voices are heard, honoured, recognised, and validated and that an opportunity is presented for their critical examination and use.

The Beehive Model

Through the work of the CCW, a Beehive Model has emerged as an expression of the HoC’s transdisciplinary collaboration and multi-stakeholder environment. This Beehive Model encapsulates the convergence of the University with the community through the HoC’s thematic hubs.
The structure represents the project work of the HoC together with its related institutional nodes as a closely packed group of hexagonal cells as a modality of university-community engagement.
The Beehive Model demonstrates the unique and elaborate disposition of the HoC as an apparatus of translating ways in which the University can become responsive to societal challenges. Like a beehive, the HoC provides an architecture for co-creation, participatory action and a philosophy of relationality.