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Global Connections, Local
Impact and University Social
Responsiveness
Prof Cheryl de la Rey
Vice-Chancellor and Principal: University of
Pretoria
4 May 2018
“…the peoples of the world are
more tightly coupled in the sense
that impacts from one country
spread wider, faster and stronger
than at any time before in human
history…”
World Social Science Report 2010
2
“ A confluence of crises, that is
contemporary crises that mutually
reinforce one another”
World Social Science Report 2010
3
The Sustainable Development Goals
are …
➤ A set of 17 goals for the world’s future, through
2030
➤ Backed up by a set of 169 detailed Targets
➤ Negotiated over a two-year period at the United
Nations
➤ Agreed to by nearly all the world’s nations, on 25
World Social Science Report 2016
• Unchecked inequality could jeopardize the sustainability
of economies, societies and communities
• 7 dimensions of inequality: economic, political, social,
cultural, environmental, spatial and knowledge-based
5
6
Implications for Universities?
7
8
“…universities can be of huge benefit to society if
students learn the right stuff.” (The Economist, 2015)
What is the right stuff?
The Race for World-Class Status:
“ The Right Stuff”?
• International reputation
• Professors are world leaders
• Highly ranked
• Ground-breaking research
• Attracts best students and staff
• Attracts high proportion of international students
• High levels of research funding
9
“ a fault-line between local/national and
global/international” Marginson 2018
10
Binaries/dualisms
“..the critical element in the structure
and dynamics of the university system
is their ability to combine and make
compatible seemingly contradictory
functions”
Manuel Castells 2017
11
• About 250 university members
• Expand higher education civic engagement programs through
teaching, research, and public service
• Foster partnerships between institutions of higher education
and communities to empower groups and individuals to tackle
societal issues and shape the future of higher education
• Facilitate the creation of regional networks of universities
dedicated to civic engagement
12
13
14
Based on the belief that universities have an
obligation to work together to address the economic,
social, cultural and environmental challenges in the
world and to find solutions so as to make our world
more just, inclusive, peaceful and sustainable.
University of Pretoria Approach
Universities are micro-economies: centres of employment,
destinations for students, purchasers of goods and services,
centres of research, curators and generators of arts and culture,
and owners of real estate, with a key focus on graduates and
research.
They are also situated within communities: residential and
commercial neighborhoods
They are also hubs of connection via collaboration and
partnerships, connecting local and global
15
16
Engineers
without
Borders (UP)
Curricular Community Engagement
17
UP and Rutgers: Community participation
impact assessment study on EDC centres
Beyond the classroom lies the learning of practice
and social engagement
18
I – SET Robotics Hub
International connections, local impact,
 Networks of universities (the global) can work in
alignment with the local
 Integrate community engagement into teaching and
research and the operational business of the
University
• Enhanced graduate outcomes – empathy,
communication, critical thinking, innovation
• Universities can be agents of change
19
Redefining World Class….
20
USRN Social Impact Metrics
Workshop, Dec 2017 Hong
Kong
Thank you

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Professor Cheryl de la Rey

  • 1. Global Connections, Local Impact and University Social Responsiveness Prof Cheryl de la Rey Vice-Chancellor and Principal: University of Pretoria 4 May 2018
  • 2. “…the peoples of the world are more tightly coupled in the sense that impacts from one country spread wider, faster and stronger than at any time before in human history…” World Social Science Report 2010 2
  • 3. “ A confluence of crises, that is contemporary crises that mutually reinforce one another” World Social Science Report 2010 3
  • 4. The Sustainable Development Goals are … ➤ A set of 17 goals for the world’s future, through 2030 ➤ Backed up by a set of 169 detailed Targets ➤ Negotiated over a two-year period at the United Nations ➤ Agreed to by nearly all the world’s nations, on 25
  • 5. World Social Science Report 2016 • Unchecked inequality could jeopardize the sustainability of economies, societies and communities • 7 dimensions of inequality: economic, political, social, cultural, environmental, spatial and knowledge-based 5
  • 6. 6
  • 8. 8 “…universities can be of huge benefit to society if students learn the right stuff.” (The Economist, 2015) What is the right stuff?
  • 9. The Race for World-Class Status: “ The Right Stuff”? • International reputation • Professors are world leaders • Highly ranked • Ground-breaking research • Attracts best students and staff • Attracts high proportion of international students • High levels of research funding 9
  • 10. “ a fault-line between local/national and global/international” Marginson 2018 10
  • 11. Binaries/dualisms “..the critical element in the structure and dynamics of the university system is their ability to combine and make compatible seemingly contradictory functions” Manuel Castells 2017 11
  • 12. • About 250 university members • Expand higher education civic engagement programs through teaching, research, and public service • Foster partnerships between institutions of higher education and communities to empower groups and individuals to tackle societal issues and shape the future of higher education • Facilitate the creation of regional networks of universities dedicated to civic engagement 12
  • 13. 13
  • 14. 14 Based on the belief that universities have an obligation to work together to address the economic, social, cultural and environmental challenges in the world and to find solutions so as to make our world more just, inclusive, peaceful and sustainable.
  • 15. University of Pretoria Approach Universities are micro-economies: centres of employment, destinations for students, purchasers of goods and services, centres of research, curators and generators of arts and culture, and owners of real estate, with a key focus on graduates and research. They are also situated within communities: residential and commercial neighborhoods They are also hubs of connection via collaboration and partnerships, connecting local and global 15
  • 17. 17 UP and Rutgers: Community participation impact assessment study on EDC centres
  • 18. Beyond the classroom lies the learning of practice and social engagement 18 I – SET Robotics Hub
  • 19. International connections, local impact,  Networks of universities (the global) can work in alignment with the local  Integrate community engagement into teaching and research and the operational business of the University • Enhanced graduate outcomes – empathy, communication, critical thinking, innovation • Universities can be agents of change 19
  • 20. Redefining World Class…. 20 USRN Social Impact Metrics Workshop, Dec 2017 Hong Kong