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Current Strategic Development & Transformation Priorities

Before considering the details of transformation initiatives, our general orientation to transformation should be noted. The Faculty aims for broad-based transformation that goes deeper than and beyond assimilation. Assimilation means inducting newcomers into the established ways of doing things and into entrenched institutional cultures. Transformation, on the other hand, calls for a willingness on all sides to work together in forging new ways of being and doing that are based on respect, human dignity and the betterment of all concerned. It includes our increasingly diverse student and staff body, who find themselves educating in and needing to contribute meaningfully to transforming societies in a local, national, African and global context.


In addition to striving for diversity in appointments and promotions (see Equity above), we need to consider diversity in role allocations at all levels. To develop a new institutional culture, we acknowledge that we also need new approaches to mentoring and succession planning (see below). Opportunities for newcomers to grow, contribute and bring their own strengths and insights, should be actively sought and created. Staff at all levels should be adequately supported when they take on challenging roles, for example through structured induction.


As critically reflective scholars we are willing to engage new ways of looking at knowledge production and curriculum development, and the framings of our teaching and research reflect consideration and appreciation of a range of scholarly traditions. We will also strive to meet the diverse needs, including language needs, of the communities of the Eastern Cape in particular.


At the Strategic Planning and Transformation workshop on 5 August 2019, the following were identified as priorities for the next three years. Each entity in the Faculty should consider how these priorities affect them, and where relevant, how to address them. Some initiatives will require ongoing strategic conversations across the Faculty. Avenues for tracking our progress include: Quarterly Reports to the University Council, enrollment planning and monitoring according to the University enrolment targets, Faculty Board minutes, curriculum reviews, Annual Reports of institutes and centres, and Departmental and HR reports.


Strategic Development Priorities
  • Working within a Community of Practice on the Masters including Research Design courses
  • Answering the question: “What is needed to achieve mastery?”
  • Establishing teams of three+ staff members as experts in generic education topics, at M.Ed. level, including curriculum and research; learning theory and research; educational quality and research; research methodology (bigger team). They teach these topics for all. In addition, teams of applied specialisms, also comprising at least three staff each: ELT, ELM, EE/ESD, ICT, Science & Mathematics Education; these may potentially run focussed research programmes, and they support each other with shared supervision.
  • Piloting a model consisting of two compulsory group contact sessions + research design course, interspersed with online sessions during year one, towards finalisation of the proposal. Contact sessions consist of the four generic areas plus applied specialism. Research with online and group supervision meetings in year 2.
  • Fully utilise the post-graduate support from CHERTL, PGSC, Library and IT divisions.
  • Use the VC’s project as a local focus for engaged research.
  • Optimise the benefits which should be to co-create resources; build collegiality; support new supervisors and revitalize established supervisors; build shared intellectual capital; provide exposure so we are not isolated in our various programmes; reduce workloads; increase publications (increasing opportunities to co-author) and strengthening the quality of teaching.
  • Further developing the proposal for a Professional Master’s degree, taking the above into account.


  1. Implement the re-curriculated and accredited teacher education qualifications, along with
  2. Teaching out of non-aligned MRTEQ qualifications.
  3. Introduce regular formal programme evaluations (as with the externally evaluated B.Ed.(FP) Pilot programme in 2019).
  4. Implement new qualifications including the Advanced Certificate in Education (FP Literacy)
  5. Embed ECDE including the Rhodes Day Care Centre into the Faculty, and develop a proposal for a Foundation Phase or Combined Foundation Phase / ECDE (0-9) Research Chair.
  6. Consider the introduction of Afrikaans for FP teaching given the high number of Afrikaans learners from disadvantaged backgrounds in the Eastern Cape, and expand the languages that are taught and spoken in the Faculty.
  7. Strengthen and expand engaged research particularly in the local Makhanda context
  8. Review and revitalise the Master’s programme including the development of a Professional Master’s qualification (see also Revitalize research teaching, under Transformation); this could include:


  • A new model and mode for the full-thesis Masters (see above) including a support structure for supervisors and induction into EHDC practices.
  • A seminal research paper series.
  • Continued engagement with RUESC and the DVC towards streamlined ethics clearance that supports educational research, including generative research and professional practice-based research.
  • Giving shared attention to the revised funding model of the NRF, which will jeopardize social science students and mature students in particular.
  • Consider the role of the EHDC and whether another structure is necessary to support the above; besides the research and transformation portfolios currently assigned to the Deputy Dean.


  1. Revitalize research teaching: This includes the following
  1. Pilot New Leadership Models  - following a focus on distributed leadership introduced by the previous HoD and Deputy Dean, the Education Department has chosen to appoint a leadership team consisting of an HOD and two Deputy HoDs. This spreads the load but also the learning and improves the chances of having experienced leaders and managers available to lead the Department in the future. This therefore links to new models of succession planning (next).
  2. Explore new succession planning/leadership development approaches – These processes should be approached systemically and with the deeper orientation to transformation outlined above, in mind. Capacity development for leadership can enhance not only individual academic careers but also contribute to leadership development for the higher education /education sector more broadly. It is useful to think about this approach as one in which capacity to contribute to various roles is distributed widely in units and across the Faculty. Succession planning should be responsive to the intellectual trajectories of individuals and their units and should create opportunities for individual and group capacity building. It would be important to establish what each one sees as their “next” and to plan development activities accordingly.

Areas in which individuals or groups require skills development should be established and opportunities “in context” should be provided, i.e. enabling learning through doing in context. Processes and opportunities for skills development should be formalized and resources made available for this purpose. This should be reviewed regularly. We need to share opportunities for capacity development broadly so that the Faculty becomes an incubator for leadership development for all the members who wish to be considered for various positions. Where appropriate, tasks associated with specific roles could be rotated to provide opportunities for development for as many members of the Faculty as possible. It would make sense for units in the Faculty to take the same approach to succession planning/leadership development. The roles and responsibilities of HODs, Directors, the Dean and Deputy Dean should be shared for capacity development of prospective incumbents and transparency purposes as should the criteria for succession and pathways towards becoming a chair, HOD, Dean, Deputy Dean, Director.

  1. New mentoring models – the one-to-one, older-to-younger model of mentoring has a place but also has several limitations; for example, it may not encourage new (transformed practices) as it tends to focus on induction into established practices which may be experienced as patronising as the junior member of Faculty may have more knowledge in several relevant areas. We are therefore moving to extended mentoring models in which peers learn from each other, and anyone with an area of expertise is encouraged to share with others, including more senior colleagues. We recognise that “we are learners and mentors” and that much learning comes from sharing with others.  The Faculty could pursue the principle of mutuality in relation to mentorship. Mentors could be self-selected on the basis of individual or group needs. Other structures that could be experimented with include a buddy system and establishing particular communities of practice to fulfil established and emergent needs. It is necessary to share more broadly, what the primary drivers are for academic success, including what it takes to establish a research career, successfully supervise student research, manage a research programme, or pursue an NRF rating. A web-based opportunities board could facilitate capabilities development. The board could be used to publish forthcoming opportunities to the Faculty and to publicise areas in which one could act as a mentor or buddy for a colleague. Finally, learning with and from peers outside the Faculty is also to be encouraged.
  2. Formalise induction – We have concluded not to leave induction to chance. The Dean will motivate for formal induction for HoD’s into university processes including financial and human resource (HR) management. In addition, supervisors and reviewers on the Education Higher Degrees Committee also need induction programmes. The Deputy Dean will include this in her focus on supporting both Research and Transformation.

Last Modified: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 16:57:47 SAST