Colloquium highlights university's civic responsibilities

16 May 2008 | Story by Helen Théron

Prof Leslie LondonSense of community: Prof Leslie London (School of Public Health) presents a case study at the social responsiveness colloquium.

Six flagship studies were presented at the Social Responsiveness Colloquium, an annual event to highlight "good and innovative practices" between UCT and the community.

The colloquium followed the launch of the Social Responsiveness Report and was chaired by Graduate School of Business director Professor Frank Horwitz.

Professor Leslie London (School of Public Health) used Steve Biko's death in 1978 - and the medical profession's complicity in the event - to underpin the link between health and human rights.

"The faculty began its own transformation process in 1998 and recognising the outward trajectory they started the Train the Trainer programme, which had an impact on the broader health sector."

Since then 200 health workers have been trained.

Assoc Prof Theresa Lorenzo

Associate Professor Theresa Lorenzo (School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences) said that for many communities disability had been aligned with the apartheid struggle. It had since moved from the realm of illness to become a human rights issue in the new democracy. This focus had been instrumental in the launch of the MPhil in Disability Studies in 2003.

After the presentation participants were invited to comment on the draft Social Responsiveness Framework. Professor Ron Knutsen (Centre for Materials Engineering) of the Cape Initiative in Materials and Manufacturing said each year there were scores of engineering students looking for "real world problems" they could tackle as research projects.

The colloquium also presented an opportunity to discuss the draft social responsiveness policy.

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