TUT Staff, the Tshwane University of Technology’s (TUT) Directorate of Quality Promotion (DQP) boasts four new qualifications among three of its staff members – all aimed at ensuring improvement of teaching and learning through effective academic development and quality initiatives.
Emily Mabote, Deputy Director, and Zama Simamane, Quality Advisor, both obtained Postgraduate Diplomas in Higher Education (Academic Developers) cum laude from the Rhodes University.
Simamane and Ziyanda Ngxabazi, also a Quality Advisor, were part of the first group to complete the Teachers Vocational Programme offered by the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Finland.
The PGDip HE (Academic Developers), only offered by Rhodes, is registered on the higher education qualifications sub-framework (HEQSF) at honours level. The PGDip is work-based and enables the participants to use the theoretical and conceptual basis to evaluate and improve practice. The purpose of the qualification is to advance academic developers’ knowledge of higher education as a field of study, and to enable them to conceptualise, design, implement and evaluate formal and informal academic development initiatives appropriate to our specific contexts. In addition, the PGDip is also targeted at growing the next generation of academic developers.
The PGDip comprises of six modules offered over two years and includes six, week-long contact sessions. The modules include: The higher education context; Teaching and learning in higher education; Curriculum development; Assessment of student learning; Development, enhancement and assurance of quality teaching and learning; and Conceptualising and designing contextually appropriate academic development initiatives.
Both Mabote and Simamane are full of praise for the course and encourage academic support practitioners to enrol. “It provided me with knowledge to improve my practice as a Quality practitioner,” says Simamane. Mabote agrees, saying that it also broadened her knowledge of the higher education context. “It is appropriate in addressing the knowledge and competencies required for a person working in higher education, especially in academic support and quality assurance,” Mabote adds.
Mabote and Simamane completed the qualification with the assistance of the Teaching Development Grant (TDG) funding they received from Rhodes University.
The Vocational Teacher’s Programme that Zama and Ziyanda completed consists of six modules presented over a year, with six contact sessions presented in South Africa.
The programme combines a strong theoretical foundation with an investigative and developmental approach to teaching and the student-teacher experience. It has a special emphasis on the integration of theory and practice, as well as on encouraging students to participate in developmental efforts in their own institutions. It fosters an investigative and development-oriented approach to teaching. The course is designed to improve teaching styles at higher education level.
Ngxabazi says that although she and Simamane are not lecturers, the programme will assist them in their interaction with lecturers who they liaise with as part of their daily work.
She adds that it was extremely interesting to get an international perspective on teaching and learning, and that the evaluations of lecturers who completed the course showed marked improvement.