Despite the disruptions caused by student protest action towards the end of October, which then resulted in the premature closure of most academic activities at CPUT in November, staff working on the different ECP offerings had a rather productive end-of-year period.
In October the ECP Unit at Fundani initiated a process to engage all ECP co-ordinators and representatives working at Faculty and Departmental level regarding the work they do. Our initial workshop in October emphasised the need for continued consultation and discussion about the foundational principles which guide and shape our work at CPUT. We decided to bring on-board organisational development practitioner, Desiree Paulsen, from CDRA, to help facilitate this strategic, but pivotal, consultative dialogue. On 12 November we embarked on our second ‘Roles and Responsibilities’ workshop at Saretec in Bellville. At this session Desiree introduced us to the Complexities of Organisations and Systems Thinking frameworks which allowed us to conceptualise our daily work as part of a more complex organisational system.
By using this framework we were asked to pay attention not only to procedural and administrative processes associated with our daily work, but also understand how our own sense of our values and identity impacts on and interacts with the internal (Faculty, Departmental) and external (Institutional, National) contexts of our work. After the stimulating discussions and honest reflections during this workshop it is clear that this strategic exercise will have to be undertaken over a longer period than initially envisage. Desiree will continue to work with us over the first semester of the 2016 academic year and help us to refashion a stronger, more dynamic vision statement, able to encapsulate the broader principles that will guide our attempts to support our students in all that we do.
ECP Promotional Video
The final push to complete the documentary-style promotional video about ECP provisions at CPUT went into overdrive in November. Work on this educational resource has been on-going since TERM 2 and involved the willing participation of many ECP lecturers, co-ordinators and students in various interviews and site visits. Some of the interviews conducted with ECP students were shared at the ECP Classroom Fika sessions held on both Cape Town and Bellville campuses in August. The video will be ready for use at the start of the 2016 academic year. ECP staff will be strongly encouraged to use the video as a teaching resource as part of their induction and orientation activities with new ECP students.
Representation at HELTASA 2015, University of the North West, Potchefstroom
ECP staff shone brightly at the yearly HELTASA academic staff development conference in mid-November.
CPUT was represented by
- Bernie Miller (An interactive workshop: Dealing with threshold concepts to enable epistemological access – Pre-conference workshop)
- Mark Jacobs (Diagnostic testing of first year engineering students at a UoT: Intervention strategies for success)
- James Garraway (Investigating ECP students’ access to knowledge through a participatory parity and activity lens)
- Lynn Coleman & Dylan Cromhout (Becoming reflective practitioners using action research: A pilot study with first year Information Technology lecturers)
Our delegation was also successfully proposed that the convenorship of the ECP Special Interest Group (SIG) be managed as an institutional entity. CPUT will now be the convenor of the HELTASA ECP SIG for at least one year. This is a major achievement for our unit and institution. It will give us the opportunity to make a major impact on how the SIG functions, hopefully strengthening and enhancing our linkages with ECP colleagues nationally. It will also help to raise our profile institutionally. The co-opted representatives who will serve as joint CPUT convenors are Bernie Miller, Dylan Cromhout, Mark Jacobs and Lynn Coleman.