The New Academics Programme (nGAP) lecturers recently participated (5 April 2018) in the New Academics’ Transitions into Higher Education Regional Colloquium hosted by the Western Cape Universities (Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, University of the Western Cape) at UCT.
The colloquium was a platform for early career academics from the Western Cape universities to share teaching and learning experiences and to learn from each other. The lecturers drew from their experiences of staff development courses offered in their home institutions, aimed at introducing them to key concerns and theories to consider as emerging lecturers in a South African Higher Education context.
They identified gaps and challenges and drew on what they learned to introduce interventions to address the challenges in their classrooms. The nine Rhodes University nGAP lecturers were honoured to be respondents. They actively participated as audience members in the parallel sessions. At the end of the day they were given an opportunity, as panellists, to present key lessons and pose challenging questions for consideration by early career academics (themselves included) as well as universities intent on being conducive spaces for learning.
This was a relaxed, yet informative and exciting platform where early career academics from diverse disciplines (engineering, journalism, theology, pharmacy etc) shared their passion and how they are tackling deep-rooted topics in our higher education system, such as decolonizing the curriculum, what it means to be a student/teacher, and the use of educational technologies. Even though the lecturers were from different teaching disciplines, the undeniable common trait was their desire to enhance the learning experience for their students.
“We learned a great deal from our peers and look forward to future colloquiums where we might host a similar event and contribute towards building and strengthening cross-institutional collaborative teaching and learning projects.”