Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My work, my passion

My work is my passion and gives me great pleasure. Being Dean: Academic Development, puts me in a position where I can contribute in a meaningful way to the academic and professional development of staff and students.

I oversee the centres for teaching and learning, curriculum development, e-learning, quality improvement, distance education and the library and information centre. This multi-disciplinary team work closely together and promotes the synergism between different activities and interventions.

One of the biggest challenges for me is how best we can be responsive to students’ cultural and language needs within the lecture venue, the curriculum and to research the impact of diversity on the teaching behaviour of lecturers.

On postgraduate level the development of students’ academic writing skills and the conceptualisation of research ideas are close to my heart.

I believe that within the South African “rainbow” higher education environment, lecturers are not sensitive enough towards students’ cultural and language needs and do not deal in a creative way with these challenges, neither have we conducted rigorous research on this matter. Furthermore, South African academics too easy utilise modules from the USA, UK and Australia without contextualising it for the SA context. They perceive these models to be “perfect”. That is why we often, after a huge waste of resources, have to go back to the drawing board and found that it had not suite the intended purpose.

I would like to interact with peers that have the same interest and to learn from their experiences and practices in this regard.

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