Exchange around community engagement fruitful

Social inclusivity was at the centre of the 2017 International Summer Academy on Student Leadership in Community Engagement hosted in China at the Guizhou University of Finance and Economics (GUFE).

This gathering, the third of its kind, came about as a result of a triad partnership between CPUT, GUFE and the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences in Germany.

CPUT students and staffers Na-eem Thebus (Education), Nawaal Carelse (Education), Mfundo Mbali (Management and Project Management), Ziyanda Tobani (Civic Engagement) and Theresa Burns (Service Learning) participated in the academy, while Jacqui Scheepers (Manager: Service Learning and Civic Engagement) and Nicholas Pinfold (Lecturer : Town and Regional Planning) facilitated workshops and co-taught with their international counterparts.

Dr John Volmink (former Acting Vice-Chancellor) visited the academy to confirm CPUT’s commitment to a long-term community engagement partnership with the two other universities.

This year’s academy provided a forum for participants to share interests and problem-solving strategies and encouraged a sense of caring, sustainable development, social entrepreneurship, voluntary activity and the development of citizenship.

“Our [former] Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dr Volmink, spoke warmly of Ubuntu and how community engagement can significantly enhance our existing teaching and research practice, as well as providing tangible benefits to communities. The 2017 Summer Academy has provided our students and staff with an opportunity to look outward in our quest for social inclusiveness,” says Pinfold.

The three universities have agreed that the lessons learnt during the three-year academy will now lead to the implementation of a tri-national, multi-platform summit on leadership in community engagement.

The partnership has over the last couple of years had far-reaching benefits for students and lecturers culturally, academically and socially. The academy provides support and guidelines for the development of collaborative community engagement projects for implementation in the three different countries.

The project themes are the development of an application for matchmaking community needs to student volunteers, two education projects to provide learner and teacher support in schools, and an environmental educational awareness project.


 Business and Management students jetting off to Europe

In line with its commitment to internationalisation, CPUT has for many years been running a successful international exchange programme for staff and students.

During this term the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences will send 10 deserving students to CPUT partner universities in Europe.

The students hail from the Retail Business Management, Operations Management, Management and Project Management, Event Management and Entrepreneurship departments.

Each department selected two students who will be placed in the following universities:

  • Carinthia University of Applied Sciences in Austria,
  • Muenster University of Applied Sciences in Germany,
  • Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Netherlands,
  • Ravensburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany and,
  • Osnabrueck University of Applied Sciences in Germany

The faculty receives approximately 50 exchange students per year who study towards an undergraduate qualification for a semester in some its various departments.

“In return we send between eight to 12 students and two to four staff members per year to our partner universities,” says Nizaam Peck, Co-ordinator of the faculty’s Exchange Programme.

The CPUT students participate in three-month and six-month academic exchange programmes that count towards their current studies, while the staff members guest lecture for two weeks and focus on collaboration with the partner universities.

Two deserving students are selected by their respective departments in order to participate in the programme.

Successful students are notified early of their acceptance into the programme and are encouraged to raise extra funds and save for possible sight-seeing in Europe during their stay.

The faculty sponsors the students’ flights, arranges for their accommodation and provides a basic subsistence allowance for the duration of the exchange.

“The students are handpicked to be CPUT brand ambassadors on an academic programme that has great opportunities to see and network with the world,” says Peck.

“Once the students return to CPUT it is amazing to see how their outlook on life has changed and how switched on they are for opportunities out there.”

While at the host universities, many students use the opportunity to cultivate the ground for further studies and future jobs.