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Areas of work

Academic Development

Academic Development is a large academic department in the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED). We number 48 academics and 12 administrative staff members. Our academics come from a wide variety of academic disciplines and most of them are based in six units that function from within the faculties. There are also two units that work across the faculties, providing language and numerical support, and a Central ADP unit that coordinates the department’s activities across campus in line with institutional teaching and learning strategies and national Department of Higher Education policy. Our main aim is to support students to become academically successful and to feel socially supported at University, and we do this by working in a number of areas. Please note that the Law Faculty runs its own unit and that ADP relates to it through collaboration and advice.

While the section below provides an overview of our work, details of unit-specific activities can be found on the ADP units’ individual websites or faculty websites.

Links to the Faculty units: Humanities EDU, Commerce EDU, Science EDP, Health Sciences EDU, Law ECP and Aspect 

While the section below provides an overview of our work, details of unit-specific activities can be found on the ADP units’ individual websites or faculty websites.

Links to the Faculty units: Language Development Group, Numeracy CentreHumanities EDU, Commerce EDU, Science ADP, Health Sciences EDU, Law ECP and Aspect 

Our main areas of work are:

1. Undergraduate teaching

2. Postgraduate teaching and support

3. The Upper Campus Writing Centre and the Faculty of Health Sciences Writing Lab

4. Contributing to mentorship programmes

5. Collaborating with other CHED departments and UCT educational initiatives beyond CHED

6. Working in Teaching and Learning partnerships with academics in other faculties

7. Higher Education policy development and implementation

 

1. Undergraduate teaching

Alternative routes through the curriculum

Our most widely used and successful strategy for fostering access and success is a curriculum model which offers students an alternative route to their qualification. The alternative curriculum usually takes between six months and a year longer than the standard route and is therefore often referred to as the ‘extended curriculum’. It is important to note that the degree (the end qualification) remains the same, whether a student follows an extended or standard route through the curriculum. The alternative routes merge with standard curriculum routes during later years of study.

The extended curriculum offers a more supported path than the standard curriculum, especially by offering extra academic and psychosocial support in the first two years of study while students are still getting used to studying at university. Our courses offer students extra materials, more time in class, smaller classes, more time to practise new or difficult materials or skills and more contact outside the classroom.

The extended curriculum varies from faculty to faculty. First year students may be selected, advised, or may choose to go on to an extended curriculum depending on the faculty. There are different admissions criteria and the point in time when students can enter the extended curriculum also differs from faculty to faculty. In some faculties students can register on an extended curriculum from the beginning, while in other faculties they only start at a later stage during the first year of study. [link to pamphlet; pamphlet download]

  • Credit-bearing courses, modules and stand-alone workshops

Several of our courses can also be taken on their own outside the extended curriculum. Many students on a standard curriculum opt to take individual courses from the extended curriculum because they realise that these courses will help them grasp essential content or skills (enquire from the relevant ADP unit offering the course if it can be taken independently). We also offer modules that are integrated in the curriculum and stand-alone workshops.

  • Academic language and quantitative literacy

Our two units that work across the faculties, the Language Development Group and the Numeracy Centre, offer a number of credit-bearing courses, modules within other courses, or stand-alone workshops that develop students’ ability to use academic language, numbers and numerical concepts appropriately in their studies.

  • Tutor training programmes

Most ADP units run tutor training programmes for first time as well as experienced tutors who work closely with undergraduate students in ADP courses and extended curricula.  

[Click on the brochure to access its contents]

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2. Postgraduate teaching and support

 

Supporting students into postgraduate studies

  • Supporting students into postgraduate studies

Several ADP staff members teach at senior undergraduate levels or in Honours courses, supporting students to make their way into postgraduate studies.

A specific intervention with strong involvement from Science EDP is the winter school of the National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme and South African Astronomical Observatory (NASSP-SAAO). It recruits third year physical sciences students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds or historically black universities into an honours bridging programme. The programme, which is reaping much success, offers access to postgraduate studies for students with a passion for Astronomy or Space sciences who wish to pursue a career in Astronomy.  Click here to read more: http://www.star.ac.za/WinterSchoolhttp://www.star.ac.za/about-nassp  

 

 

Building postgraduate capacity through short courses

The Language Development Group offers three popular short courses for postgraduates in collaboration with other CHED departments (the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning and the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies) and the Office of the Director of Postgraduate studies. Some of these courses are fully online, others are blended. The courses are:

  • Navigating Research Writing
  • Journeys in Research Writing
  • Write Science
  • Contribution to Higher Education Studies

The Language Development Group offers an academic literacies module in the Higher Education Studies Postgraduate Diploma and Masters programme convened by CILT.

  • Postgraduate supervision

Several ADP academics supervise postgraduate students in their home disciplines or in educational research.

  • Tutor training programmes

Apart from supporting undergraduate programmes, tutor training programmes go hand in hand with the vision to build capacity among postgraduate students and groom possible future academics.

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3. The Upper Campus Writing Centre and the Faculty of Health Sciences Writing Lab

The Language Development Group runs a Writing Centre on Upper Campus and a Writing Lab on the Health Sciences campus. At both these writing centres students and staff can book individual sessions to work with a consultant on their academic writing.

  • The Upper Campus Writing Centre provides a service to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as staff, through individual writing consultations and workshops on academic writing. Based on trends and patterns observed in consultations and workshops, curriculum needs are identified and referred back to the larger Language Development Group, frequently leading to further language development work based in disciplines and curricula.

The Writing Centre is located on Level 6 of the Steve Biko Building off North Lane at the top of Upper Campus.

Website: http://www.writingcentre.uct.ac.za/ 

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  • The Faculty of Health Sciences Writing Lab provides specialist writing support for Health Sciences staff and students. Their services include individual consultations, small group consultations, online consultations (distance-based learners only), customised workshops (by request only) and downloadable resources. All of their services are free to UCT staff and students.

The Faculty of Health Sciences Writing Lab is located in room 53-27 on E Floor in the Old Main Building at Groote Schuur.

You can find out more about the lab, how to make a booking or download resources at http://www.writingcentre.uct.ac.za/about/healthsciences.

 

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4. Contributing to mentorship programmes

Faculties offer different types of mentorship to cater for the psychosocial and academic needs of students.  Several ADP units collaborate with the faculties to offer these programmes. In some cases, first year students are given the opportunity to work with senior students as their mentors.  In other cases, final year students are offered academic mentorship to boost their marks so that they can meet the requirements to enrol for Honours.- See more at: http://dev.adp.uct.ac.za/educational-interventions

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5. Collaborating with other CHED departments and UCT educational initiatives beyond CHED

The Commerce EDU’s extended and augmented curricula include integrated career development modules developed in collaboration with CHED’s Careers Services. Similar workshops or modules are in the pipeline for extended curricula offered in the other faculties.

 

The Language Development Group was recently selected and awarded funding to develop a gateway MOOC on academic literacy in collaboration with CHED’s Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT).  The MOOC will run over four weeks and use the theme 'Identity and mobility in an ever-changing world' to promote ways of reading and writing in academia.  The course will be directed specifically at students in their gap year, first year students, mature students resuming their studies and the whole world. The MOOC goes hand in hand with broader transformation goals of widening access to higher education and social responsiveness.  It will enhance understanding of how digital literacies can be recruited to promote academic literacies under the banner of access to disciplinary knowledge. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Language Development Group and the Numeracy Centre have over the years contributed expertise in academic literacies for test development workshops run by CHED’s Centre for Educational Testing for Access and Placement (CETAP), which runs the National Benchmark Tests Project.

 

 

ADP is involved in 100UP which is an initiative of the School Improvement Initiative of the School Development Unit (SDU) and the Foschini Group (TFG).  100UP targets learners from schools in Khayelitsha and coaches them towards entering the university. The initiative aims to address the problem of under-representation of these learners at UCT. It is a holistic initiative that builds intellectual, social and cultural capital. ADP participates in the 100UP advisory group and ADP staff are also involved in offering mentorship and workshops. Once 100UP participants start their university studies, they are encouraged to register for an extended curriculum to maximise transitional support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADP is involved in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) programme which is a CHED project run from the Dean's office. The programme identifies and mentors students of promise from under-represented groups to help them become scholars of distinction.  The programme is designed to encourage fellows to enter PhD programmes that prepare them for professorial careers.

 

 

 

ADP works with the Dean's office on the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) programme which is a CHED project run from the Dean's office. The programme identifies and mentors students of promise from under-represented groups to help them become scholars of distinction.  The programme is designed to encourage fellows to enter PhD programs that prepare them for professorial careers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Language Development Group's short courses for postgraduates are offered in collaboration with the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CILT), the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies (EMS) in CHED and the Office of the Director of Postgraduate studies.

 

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6. Working in Teaching and Learning partnerships with academics in other faculties

ADP staff members from all units work closely with academics in the other faculties, assisting with course and curriculum design. They also participate in other educational collaborations such as team-teaching and joint research projects.

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7. Higher Education policy development and implementation

ADP’s Central unit liaises with the national Department of Higher Education and Training on policy development and implementation. The key area in which ADP participates is the formulation and implementation of Foundation provisioning policy which underpins the extended curricula.

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