“I am humbled by this unexpected nomination to serve on one of the key committees of the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and look forward to being of service to the South African higher education sector as a whole,” said an elated Professor Thengani Ngwenya.
Professor Ngwenya is an Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), he has just been appointed to the National Standards and Reviews Committee (NSRC) of the Council on Higher Education.
The CHE is an independent statutory body established by the Higher Education Act, no. 101 of 1997. As the Quality Council for Higher Education it advises the Minister of Higher Education and Training on all higher education issues and is responsible for quality assurance and promotion through the Higher Education Quality Committee. Prof Ngwenya’s association with the CHE dates back to 2005 when he started doing programme reviews for the Committee.
He stressed that he is looking forward to making a meaningful contribution to contemporary debates about academic standards and the academic integrity and value of South African higher education qualifications. “It is my hope that my involvement in the work of the CHE will afford me the opportunity to contribute to the enhancement of academic quality in all DUT academic offerings,” he said.
Prof Ngwenya has been appointed to the position to fulfil a governance role in a body that has delegated authority from the Council on Higher Education, and not as a member or representative of any organisation or sector. His contributions will be critical to the institutionalisation of quality assurance within higher education.
The Chairperson of CHE, Prof N Themba Mosia added that he has no doubt that Prof Ngwenya will make valuable contributions to the work of the NSRC given his vast experience and knowledge. His appointment is effective for three years from 2019 to 2022.
Prof Ngwenya has been involved in higher education as a lecturer, researcher and manager for over thirty years. His first appointment was as a Junior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Natal (Durban Campus) in 1989. He subsequently taught English Literature at Vista University (Soweto Campus) and at the Durban-Westville University. He is an established literary scholar and, in addition to journal publications, has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Life Writing: Autobiographical and Biographical Forms (2001); the Encyclopedia of African Literature (2003) and the Cambridge History of South African Literature (2012). Ngwenya’s most recent publication is a case study of academic development at DUT published in a book titled Transformation of Higher Education Institutions in Post-Apartheid South Africa (2019).
Ngwenya’s management career began in 2005 when he was appointed Deputy Dean responsible for Continuing Professional Development in the Faculty of Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). It was during his tenure as a Deputy Dean that he began reviewing programmes for the Council on Higher Education (CHE). He chaired some of the panels that reviewed teacher training qualifications in various South African universities. For his Master of Education dissertation Ngwenya researched quality assurance and enhancement in the South African higher education sector. Prof Ngwenya is one of the few academics who can claim that their understanding of and involvement in education ranges from Early Childhood Development (ECD) to Doctoral Studies.
Pictured: Professor Thengani Ngwenya