Teaching & Learning Fellowship Indaba gets underway at UFH

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The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Sakhela Buhlungu officially opened the Teaching & Learning Fellowship Indaba this morning.

Under the theme: “Advancement and Enhancement of Teaching and Learning Through Fellowship”, the two-day gathering seeks to establish the role of fellowships in improving, enhancing and advancing teaching and learning in Higher Education and to reflect on how participants who undergo these programmes contribute to realising UFH’s strategic goal of advancing excellence and innovation in research, teaching and learning.

“The idea is to plan and strategize on how best to work with all the fellows in an integrated and coordinated manner to benefit teaching and learning, institutionally,” explained Dr Vuyisile Nkonki, Director of the UFH Teaching and Learning Centre.

Currently, the University is supporting academics who are fellows at two schemes, which are the Teaching Advancement at University (TAU) and the Advance Higher Education Academy (HEA) fellowship programmes.

The TAU scheme funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training aims to enhance the status and stature of teaching and popularise the understanding of teaching excellence in varied institutional and disciplinary settings.

It also seeks to develop capabilities to engage in and insert participants as change agents, individually and collectively, in building a socially just education. Lastly, it aims to contribute towards the enhancement of teaching and learning in higher education in South Africa by supporting the development of a cadre of academics across institutions and disciplines as scholars, leaders and mentors in their fields.

The University currently has six TAU Fellows and three academics undergoing the programme.

In total 15 staff members have obtained different categories of fellowship ranging from Associate Fellow, Fellow and Senior Fellow with HEA - a professional membership scheme that promotes excellence in Higher Education. The HEA advocates for evidence-based teaching methods awards fellowships as professional recognition for university teachers and employs the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) for HE Practitioners

According to Dr Patricia Muhuro from UFH’s TLC, the indaba will use multifaceted activities such as insights from guest speakers who are actively involved with the fellowships - both nationally and internationally.

Key speakers include Prof Barbara Dexter – HEA Fellows based in the United Kingdom; Emirates Associate Prof Jeff Jawitz – TAU Fellow (University of Cape Town); Dr Karin Cartell-Holden – TAU Fellow at Stellenbosch University and; Dr Hellen Agumba – TAU Fellowship Programme coordinator.

 “This Indaba directly ties with the University’s strategic goal of pursuing high-quality and innovative teaching and learning. Insights from the indaba will show how capacitation of staff through the fellowship schemes contributes to curriculum renewal, innovations, teaching and learning. It is envisaged that the strengthening of such will enhance students learning experience.”

“The above institutional objectives also tie up with the TLC’s strategic goal which is to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning, as well as scholarly teaching practice,” explained Dr Muhuru.