Taking its cue from the recently approved Strategic Plan (2015-2019) of the Durban University of Technology (DUT), the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) has chosen to adopt a holistic approach to academic development (AD). In line with the strategic directions of the university, CELT strives to be both student centred and critically engaged in all university programmes and operations aimed at enhancing student success. The Centre has chosen to adopt a collaborative approach to the enhancement of student success by forging links with other support units and administrative divisions of the university. Our goal is to make direct contribution to the creation of a learning environment that is both intellectually rewarding and truly formative for our students.
The Centre is actively involved in various university projects including the Curriculum Renewal Project, Quality Enhancement Project and the First-year Student Experience. Through its e-Learning and Multimedia Units, the Centre leverages technology to facilitate easy access of resources to students and staff.
For our purposes academic development is seen as wide-ranging and multi-pronged but primarily comprising student, curriculum, staff and institutional development. The primary goal of the Centre is to contribute to the enhancement of the quality of learning, teaching and assessment across all academic programmes offered by the DUT. It is our hope that this will have a direct and measurable impact on the throughput and progression rates in all programmes and qualifications.
The Centre subscribes to the HEQC’s conception of Academic Development (AD), which is defined as:
A field of research and practice that aims to enhance the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning in higher education, and to enable institutions and the higher education system to meet key educational goals, particularly in relation to equity of access and outcomes. Academic development encompasses four interlinked areas of work: student development (particularly foundational and skills – oriented provision), staff development, curriculum development and institutional development. (HEQC Institutional Audits Manual. Pretoria: Council on Higher Education, p.74)
In order to achieve the strategic objectives of the university CELT will work closely with Faculty management at all levels from the office of the Executive Dean to the lecturers in charge of a particular programmes/modules. CELT commits itself to an open, inclusive and collaborative style of managing AD initiatives. All CELT projects and interventions will be designed in such a way that they will have an integral mechanism for assessing their impact on learning and teaching and, by extension on Student Success.