S. Rajkaran

Walter Sisulu University (SOUTH AFRICA)
Research, teaching and community service are some of the major functions of higher education institutions (HEIs). Research is a significant performance indicator as it forms a fundmental component of the higher education system (Jinabhai 2003). The advancement of knowledge through research has long been recognised as one of the major goals of universities (Mamdani 1995; Mwamwenda 1997). A study by Rajkaran & Mammen (2012) indicated that academics in a Comprehensive University must undertake at least one research project per year in a 2-3 year cycle for all academics. On the other hand, internationally there is a strong belief that HEIs exist to serve and strengthen the society of which they form part. Through the learning, values and commitment of faculty, staff and students, institutions create social capital, preparing students to contribute positively to local, national and global communities. The Conference on Civic Engagement (Taillores Declaration 2005) resulted in the adoption of the Taillores Declaration which spells out the civic roles and responsibilities of higher education (Nduna 2006; Walker and McLean 2010). A study by Rajkaran & Mammen (2012) revaled that academics in a Comprehensive Univesity must undertake at least one community project in a 2-3 year cycle. Further, the vision and mission of one Comprehensive University emphasizes Research and Community Engagement projects and these are emphasised in the Faculty of Business, Management Sciences and Law's (FBMSL) Strategic Plan. Is it possible for academics to undertake both research and community projects? It is never easy, but with a little planning and intuition, using both staff and students it is possible. This paper will report a case study in one academic department at a Comprehensive University. Being challenged to teach two third year modules, due to a shortage of staff led to an opportunity of not only undertaking research (in one module), but also to reinforce some research principles in the community engagement project (in the second module). The results have led not only to publications in conference proceedings and involving students in international conferences; but there is a strong possibility of publications in journals.