Dylan Cromhout, ECP lecturer in Marketing and member of the Foundation SIG steering committee at CPUT, enthusiastically reflects on his recent participation at the HELTASA convernors’ meeting. He also shares the steering committee’s strategic plan to strengthen and sustain the work and reach of the Foundation SIG.
On the 26th of May 2016 I attended a Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) Special Interest Group (SIG) convenors’ meeting at the Southern Sun Hotel in Johannesburg. Those that attended the meeting included three members of the HELTASA executive, Amanda Hlengwa (Chair) Rhodes University; Karin Wolff (Secretary) CPUT; Masebala Tjabane (SIG Coordinator) VUT, and the convenors of six of the eight SIGs.
Special Interest Groups (SIG) are part of the HELTASA organisational structure and were created as a platform where academic developers and academics with a particular research or professional interests could get together and share information about best practices. The SIGs cover a range of topics including; First Year Experience, Professional (Academic) Development, Tutoring and Mentoring, Writing Centers, Technology Enhanced Learning, Reflective Practice (Action Research), Foundation (Extended) Programmes, and The Southern Africa Universities Learning and Teaching (SAULT) Forum.
It was great to meet up with the Executive of HELTASA in such an intimate setting. I felt like I was able to get to know them better and was thus able to see that they are just normal people that care about education in South Africa. I found out that none of them get paid to be a part of the HELTASA Executive and that all of them have day jobs at various educational institutions in the country. Mostly I was encouraged to be there amongst other people who, just like me, are truly passionate about education in South Africa.
A core theme from the report backs from the SIG convenors highlighted that it was clear that each SIG desired to encourage the sharing of best practice and that each SIG had experienced challenges as far as, their sustainability. It was a good day that involved a range of elements that blended together into what I think was a successful experience. Although there is still much work to do, I am confident that we as a SIG leadership team in conjunction with the other SIG leaders and the HELTASA Executive Committee will see real growth in the area of best practicing sharing in teaching and learning in Higher Education in South Africa in the upcoming years. And I am excited to be a part of the Foundation SIG and look forward to working with the rest of our team at CPUT to see our plans realized in order to ultimately increase the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning in Foundation classrooms in South Africa.
Here’s to the next two years… so watch this space!
The key strategic goal for the Foundation SIG under the convenorship of CPUT is to develop sustainable mechanism to encourage and promote the sharing of teaching and learning practices among South African institutions. CPUT will act as the pioneering institution implementing our proposed sharing model at institutional, regional and national levels.
- Institutional Level
- Classroom Fika’s
- Sharing Circles for disciplines
- Teaching & Learning Seminars
- Regional Level
- Yearly Regional Symposia
- Article Presentations
- Sharing Circles
- National & International Level
- Article presentations at HELTASA
- Foundation/ ECP pre-conference workshop at HELTASA
- Sharing Circles during SIG slot at HELTASA conference