Towards a social sustainability in higher education: enhancing students’ solidarity and togetherness through collaborative projects in racially diverse learning environments
One key goal in the mission and vision statement of the University of the Free State is to recruit the best and most diverse students who work in solidarity and togetherness across social and historical divides. This goal is further echoed in the academic divisions’ own mission and vision statements which endeavour to ensure that the broader institutional goals are met. The Faculty of Education in this institution for instance, in accordance with the institution’s vision, has included in their vision statement issues of diversity and social transformation which foreground the Faculty’s commitment to produce teachers who show solidarity in their dealings with others. A question that is worth considering though is how these mission and vision statements can be implemented in practice by lecturers in their classes. In this paper I report on an action research project towards the realisation of the vision of togetherness and solidarity of the University of the Free State and the Faculty of Education, in which spaces are created for collaborative work for Honours classes. The results from this classroom practice indicate that students’ solidarity and togetherness in racially diverse learning environments can be enhanced through collaborative students’ work designed by lecturers.