UJ comes to visit

On 31 August 2017, the ECP Unit at Fundani hosted colleagues from the Access Programmes of the Academic Development Centre at the University of Johannesburg. A special dialogue session was facilitated to enable colleagues to firstly, describe and explain how extended and foundational programmes are operationalised at both institutions and then, engage in more collaborative group discussions about the central themes involved in supporting ECPs.

Short Clip of the visit

The delegation from UJ was headed by Maxine Shandler, who is the Head of Access Programmes and she provided an interesting account of how the university operates both a centralised and decentralised or faculty-based model of extended provision across their institution. While the university has adopted a rather complex approach to managing their extended programmes the work of the Access Programme is strongly informed by the theoretical inputs derived from of Invitational Education, First Year Experience and Academic development. Their programmes have enjoyed much success across the university and have been able to counter the stigmatisation often experienced by ECP students. James Garraway, Head of the ECP Unit at CPUT started off the institutional presentation by sketching some of the successes achieved as a result of extended provisions, but also pointed out the continuing fracture points that challenge the ECP project both at CPUT and nationally. Individual faculty and departmental presentations were then made by select ECP co-ordinators and these highlighted the work of ECP across CPUT.

Most of the joint session was however, taken up by group dialogue discussions. During these round-table groups colleagues from both institutions were able to discuss and seek understanding about some of the core areas associated with ECP and foundational provisions at universities; namely, Classroom Practices, Administration and Policy, Students Development and Staff Development. These discussions yielded some insightful commentary on each of these themes, highlighted ongoing tensions and challenges and also identified good practices at both institutions. Some suggestion made regarding how to solidify inter-institutional collaboration and dialogue include; exchange programmes for extended curriculum staff at both institutions – to encourage better understanding of how ECPs are managed and opportunities for staff to teach in a different institutional context and longer institutional visits.

Regional ECP Symposium a huge success

On Wednesday 30 August the ECP Unit at CPUT hosted the annual Regional ECP Symposium. The event was attended by over 80 delegates and more than 20 papers were presented. Colleagues from 10 institutions nationally converged at the Saretec Building on the Bellville Campus to discuss and debate all matters ECP.

Delegates were welcomed to CPUT and the event opened by Prof Anthony Staak, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic. Prof Staak reminded the audience that the ECP project receives the most DHET funding and is therefore clearly positioned to address issues of both access and success. The keynote presenters were Associate Professor Rochelle Kapp and Dr Bongi Bangeni from UCT. Their presentation entitled ‘Negotiating Learning and Identity: a longitudinal perspective on student transitions’ considered the multiple transitions students experienced during their time at university and stressed the significance of contextual realities in the students’ university and home environment in shaping the nature of these transitions. They suggested that it is crucial for all university lecturers to recognise that ‘negotiating meaningful access to learning is inextricably connected to negotiating an intersection of race, class, linguistic, gendered and religious subject positions in relation to home, school and university’.

PRESENTATION SLIDES: Bangeni and Kapp_KeynoteAddress_ CPUT 31 August_2017

Feedback from delegates has been very positive, with many finding the symposium interesting and stimulating and offering a good balance between theoretical/research-based and practice-focused topics. Many indicated that they were keen to return to the symposium in 2018.

More photos of the event can be found on HERE