James Garraway, HoD ECP Unit, Fundani, offers his insights on the Reflective Review process undertaken last week with colleagues from the University of Johannesburg.
The ECP Unit welcomed two colleagues from UJ, Kibbie Naidoo and Vanessa Merkel to our unit for the week of 5 – 9 February. Lynn Coleman had originally contacted them to help us to re-imagine ECP within the Fundani Unit. How, for example, could we think of doing things differently or better in the future. The initiative to contact them was inspired by our discussions with ECP colleagues from UJ and WSU (during institutional visits to CPUT in 2017), who have different operating modes from us. We were unsure what to call the visit but it panned out as being a Reflective Review rather than an evaluation of ECP. Vanessa and Kibbie spent a tough week interviewing ECP staff, HoDs, Senior Administrators including Deans, the DVC(Academic) Prof Staak, colleagues in Fundani, and the HEMIS Director. On Friday we all met at Granger Bay to discuss some of the key issues raised during their interview discussions. During this session we reviewed and responded to the main findings of the interviews and charted possible ways forward. Of great interest to us were ideas about how we could operate more closely with our Fundani colleagues, drawing on their expertise where necessary. It was also useful to get a sense of how we could operate more closely with ECP staff on their own academic development, as well as promote ECP as a core university teaching initiative. For myself, I found this to be a wonderful, often troublesome (as we confronted our own weaknesses) but stimulating week and I would recommend such reflective reviews for other CPUT units. In a sense, it cuts to the core of being academic, or being a ‘reflective practitioner’.
Once we receive their written report Lynn and myself will engage in discussion with the ECP coordinators and other interested parties.