Social Responsiveness Award – call for nominations

07 October 2020 | DVC Prof Loretta Feris

Dear colleagues

Social responsiveness is seen as core to the work of the University of Cape Town (UCT) as an engaged institution, but it is often misunderstood and seen as the third pillar of core business alongside teaching and research. It is, however, important that it is realised through – and not outside – the core work of teaching, research and service to society. Thus, it is appropriate that social responsiveness receives institutional support and recognition to encourage staff to play an active development role in our cultural, economic, political, scientific and social environment.

UCT’s distinguished Social Responsiveness Award provides a clear institutional signal to members of the university that social responsiveness is an important core institutional activity.

The award, with a value of R35 000, is open to individual staff and formal or informal groupings within the university. Staff must be employed either on a permanent basis or under a limited term contract of at least two years and must have been employed for a period of not less than 12 months prior to the date of nomination.

The recipient(s) of the award will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • activities that have resulted in demonstrable mutual benefit to the academic enterprise and an external non-academic constituency
  • evidence of shared planning and decision-making practices
  • evidence of the way in which the initiative has enhanced teaching/learning or research processes
  • evidence of knowledge co-production, dissemination, integration and/or application privileging/including non-academic partners
  • evidence of the applicant/s’ commitment to social justice and transformation.

Depending on the nature of the activity (research, teaching, service and innovation) the following criteria may be considered:

  • contribution to brokering and facilitating relationships which have enhanced the university’s engagement with local, regional, national or continental development challenges
  • contribution to new notions of professional practice designed to meet the needs of the South African context
  • evidence of sustainability of the initiative.

Nomination procedures

The nominations/applications should include the following and be submitted as a single PDF:

  • a narrative (no more than 1000 words) describing how the nominee/applicant fulfil(s) the stated criteria. The narrative should include a brief outline of the history, aims, scope and outcomes of the social responsive initiative, its methodology and the nature of partnerships involved.
  • a letter of commendation/reference from an external constituency commenting on the nature of the social responsive activity in which the candidate(s) has/have excelled, the developmental and reciprocal nature of the initiative, the nature of partnership, and the impact of the activities.
  • a letter of commendation from a university referee commenting on the way in which the initiative has enhanced knowledge production, the curriculum/pedagogy, knowledge dissemination or knowledge application.
  • For socially responsive teaching, comment will be invited on their structure according to sound educational principles in order to supplement and complement the theoretical components of the curriculum; demonstration of adequate supervision of participants; their thorough training/preparation for the project or programme and the regular and adequate assessment of the initiative.

The University Social Responsiveness Committee (USRC) may invite any unsuccessful candidate(s) whom it considers to be at the appropriate level to remain on the list for two years after the year of nomination. Any nominee whom the USRC considers as being at the appropriate level will receive feedback related to areas to be reworked for an updated application.

The award can be made posthumously.

A selection committee will consider nominations and make recommendations to the USRC in relation to granting the award. The recipient will be announced in December 2020 and awarded at a university graduation ceremony in 2021.

The award may be used to further social responsiveness or for any legitimate project expenses, including equipment, running expenses, travel or a combination of these.

Nominations and applications for the award should be submitted to Sonwabo Ngcelwane no later than 30 October 2020.


Professor Loretta Feris
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Transformation

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