Cuzette du Plessis

Cuzette du Plessis
Cuzette du Plessis
Cuzette du Plessis

Cuzette du Plessis is currently the Academic Manager Community engagement at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa. She is responsible for the scholarly integration of community engagement into the academic activities of teaching, learning and research. Within this university-community symbioses she facilitates reciprocal processes of “learning-serving-reflecting-understanding”, integrating the community voice within the academic landscape. To this extend she fosters close relationships with traditional leaders and their communities, trains-academics and students for collaboration with communities and is actively involved in various trans-disciplinary research projects. She has also developed a trans-disciplinary community engaged research module.

This appointment was preceded by five years of teaching participatory community development and qualitative research in the field of Social work at the University of South Africa. During this time she also acted as Student Manager at the Sunnyside Bright Site Service-learning Centre and was part of the team which was internationally awarded a second place in the McJannet prize for global citizenship.

Prior to her work as academic she worked as Social Worker in the UK preceded by twelve years as Social Worker in the South African rural and urban landscape with the focus on child and family care, community development, initiation of service delivery transformation, organisational management and statutory work. Her social work career was preceded by recruitment and media analysis in the South African Defence Force.

In 2011 she received a Masters of Arts in Social Science titled; “Fourth-Year Student Social Workers’ Experiences Relating to their Social Work Practical Work Training at a Service-Learning Centre of an Open and Distance Learning University”. She co-authored two chapters in a book on Service Learning in South Africa and did various presentations at national and international conferences, focussing on mutually beneficial university-community relationships.