Transformation and social responsiveness are cross-cutting responsibilities. The term 'social responsiveness' is used as an umbrella term to refer to all forms of engagement with external non-academic constituencies. The term embraces engaged scholarship involving academic staff, civic engagement involving students’ community service, and professional engagement involving PASS staff using their professional expertise.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) aims to contribute to addressing South Africa's development challenges. The aim is to share knowledge that will benefit society. By fostering civic literacy in students, and providing them with knowledge and skills, UCT aims to build a more just, equitable and unified South African society.

To achieve this goal, innovative partnerships have been formed between UCT academics and a variety of other social structures, including government, local communities, social movements, and various international and local organisations.

Social responsiveness takes various forms, including:

  • research activities
  • engagement with policy development
  • public commentary on development issues and strategies
  • social outreach activities by students
  • programmes to empower external constituencies
  • the improvement of the relevance of the curriculum
  • providing opportunities for lifelong learning.

Social Responsiveness Report

UCT produces an annual Social Responsiveness Report that highlights how the university tackles social, economic, cultural and political needs. The report reflects on what has been achieved, as well as identifying what still needs to be done.

Conceptual Framework for Social Responsiveness

UCT has developed a Conceptual Framework for Social Responsiveness which covers different kinds of activities and provides examples of the type of scholarly outputs that result from them.

These social-responsive activities include:

  • producing and sharing knowledge for the public good
  • engaging with non-academic external groups
  • public conversations about development challenges
  • volunteer activities amongst students
  • community-based education or service learning
  • compulsory and non-compulsory community service.

Examples of scholarly activities include:

  • strategic research
  • monitoring, evaluation or project reports
  • policy document preparation and review
  • teaching in continuing-education courses
  • models and monographs
  • sharing knowledge through articles in popular journals, booklets, or learning materials
  • public dialogue, eg, through newspaper articles
  • submissions to government
  • discussion papers
  • maps and plans
  • consultancies or contract research for public benefit.

Read more about Social Responsiveness at UCT.