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Community Engagement Definitions for SMU

Community engagement is a process of integrating inter-professional education and practice with mutual benefit to both the institution and receiving community.

The communities for SMU

  • Internal community – The staff and students formally affiliated with the institution comprises the SMU internal community.
  • External community – Civic organisations, schools, townships, the government departments relevant to the function of the university as a higher education institution, professional bodies, industries, local government and the people in general constitute the external SMU community for social responsiveness purpose.
  • SMU Partners for community engagement – The regional, national and international community engagement partners are as follows:
  1. Regional – Service providers, clinics, health care facilities/hospitals, industries, universities and schools, nursing colleges, municipalities and non-governmental organizations.
  2. National – Funding agencies, statutory bodies, research institutions, alumni, professional associations, state-owned enterprises and sport organisations.
  3. International – Funding agencies, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and universities within the SADC as well as other continents.

Community Engagement Activities

Community engagement activities range from informal and relatively unstructured activities to formal and structured academic programmes involving teaching, learning and research activities performed by academics as well as students that address particular community needs. Involvement of communities and their active participation in activities to identify and resolve their needs will be the point of departure for informal unstructured

programmes. Formal structured programmes will be planned and circulated within formal academic programmes in an integrated manner of the academic project.

A variety of activities embracing social responsiveness may include but not limited to:

  • Teaching and Learning:
  • Research:
  • Professional / Discipline based Services
  • Student service learning
  • Community service
  • Distance education
  • Curriculum based community engagement
  • Community engagement/action research
  • Partnership health drives
  • Volunteer programmes/social development and empowerment