Tyes of Community Interaction (CI)

Criteria for Community Interaction

In order to distinguish CI activities from teaching and learning and research, such activities should adhere to the following criteria:

1. The activity should be interactively linked to an identifiable group in a community outside the institution.*

2. Interaction should be actively linked to identifiable needs of both the University and the community. There should be a clearly identified benefit for the community and for the university.

3. The interaction should be a sustained activity within a mutually defined relationship/partnership.

4. Exclusive teaching and research activities that do not include a community component** cannot be part of CI.

*For the purposes of this document, institution means students enrolled at the University in formal programs and staff employed by the university.

** Part of the learning activities of students in a particular module should be community based and research should include activities with and in the community to qualify as CI.

Types of Community Interaction

The University is committed through its Strategic Framework to the implementation of an integrative approach to research, teaching & learning and CI, thereby expressing a commitment to the scholarship of engagement. The diagram below represents the integration of CI with the other two core functions. This framework allows the University to give expression to different forms of social responsiveness at an institutional level.  The four levels of integration signify the CI typology which may be used for the classification of CI activities at the University.


Type 1: Integration of Teaching and learning, Research & CI. In some rare occasions, this is achieved where projects integrate aspects of all three core functions.

Type 2: Integration of Teaching and learning and CI. Examples of this type of CI are service-learning*** and short courses****.

Type 3: Integration of Research and CI. Examples of this type of CI are contract research, community-based research and science for society initiatives.

Type 4: Volunteerism and public service. Examples of this type of CI are student volunteerism, public service by faculty, community outreach and partnerships.

***Service-Learning is a form of community-based experiential learning and a curriculum-based, credit-bearing and carefully structured educational experience in which students:
Participate in an organised community interaction activity that meets identified and agreed upon community goals, and
Reflect on the service activity in order to gain a deeper understanding of module content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of social responsibility towards society as a whole (adapted from Bringle and Hatcher, 2007).

**** Short courses is associated with continuing professional development involving “just in time” and “just enough” learning to meet a specific need in the workplace.