MUT Community Engagement leaders get empowered with Science Communication

Professor Busisiwe Nkonki-Mandleni

Although the University’s CEAD is renowned for its promotion of Community Engagement, this is not enough for its Director, Professor Busisiwe Nkonki-Mandleni. Inviting staff to attend a workshop on Science Communication that was held on 21 February 2024 in the North Campus, Professor Nkonki-Mandleni said “It is time now that we take Community engagement a step further”.

Science Communication encompasses a wide range of activities that connect science and society. Its common goals are informing non-experts about scientific findings, and raising public awareness of, and interest in science. This form of communication also aims to influence people’s attitudes and behaviours informing public policy and engaging with diverse communities to address societal problems.

Giving the reasons for the workshop, Professor Nkonki-Mandleni said, “Community engagement offers the universities numerous opportunities to interact meaningfully with surrounding communities. However, there remains a gap in understanding the necessary skills and knowledge to fully leverage these interactions. Science Communication serves as a vital tool in facilitating engagement between researchers, scholars, students, and academics with the society”.

Professor Nkonki-Mandleni said the workshop explored the historical origins of Science Communication; the significance of Science Communication in higher education, opportunities and challenges associated with it.   “There is no better time than now for the University scholars to communicate science to communities in a language that they will understand and apply, not only to influence policy but also for ordinary citizens to understand how to respond. The workshop is expected to benefit the project leaders who are the MUT academics to showcase their Community Engagement projects on the annual Community Engagement Day.”  said Prof Nkonki-Mandleni.