Teaching responsibility

22 September 2008

The purpose of any university is research and to teach, but Fullbright Scholar Dr Seth Pollack (below) adds another task to the list: public service.

He believes it is also a university's responsibility to become involved in its surrounding community and in its teaching, to develop students into socially responsible adults.

Pollack, a full professor and director of the Service Learning Institute at the California State University in Monterey Bay (CSUMB), US, is in Cape Town to help develop various curricula at UCT with the Centre for Higher Education and Development (CHED) and the University of the Western Cape (UWC) through service learning programmes.

It's an innovative approach that links a university's academic curricula to the concerns of the surrounding communities.

Students can also become involved in tutoring in specialised subjects, such as computer literacy, in economically disadvantaged areas, explained Pollack.

"Service learning programmes give students the experience that enables them to understand their privileges and develop as socially responsible professionals."

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