In Line with the University of Venda Policy on On-Boarding, Orientation and Induction Programmes (Draft Policy), the Centre for Higher Education Teaching and Learning (CHETL), Academic Development Unit (ADU) facilitated a three-day new academic staff-induction programme called ‘New Academic Preparation Programme’ from 07 – 09 February 2022. Nine (9) new academics were inducted on a three (3) day programme which focused on teaching and learning, assessment, and curriculum related matters. The New Academic Preparation Programme adopted a Needs-Based Induction Model conceptualised by the Academic Development Unit (ADU) in accordance to the New Academics Transitioning in Higher Education Programme (NATHEP) since the University of Venda is one of the ten (10) universities that are part of the programme. The NATHEP programme is aligned with the UCDP goal, 4.1. The UCDG goal 4.1 aims to provide a development resource to address transformation imperatives in the university system through the provision of quality research development and teaching development opportunities for all academics from recruitment to retirement. 

Other presentations’ screenshots from the induction made by the Academic Development Unit (ADU) during some of the engagements with NAs.

A draft Policy regarding On-Boarding, Orientation and Induction Programmes stipulates that the New or returning employees, in this case, academics/lecturers/university teachers, must attend the academic induction sub-programme within the first three (3) months of joining the university (p.12). Drawing from the policy, the Academic Development Unit under CHETL conceptualise a NBI model in which induction and orientation of new academic staff members should be understood and undertaken as a ‘process and not as an event’. Accordingly, the CHETL-ADU has undertaken to induct and engage New Academics (NAs) as soon as they are employed and have become part of the university teaching staff, irrespective of the number of such academic staff. This is in line with Fullan (2001) cited in Wong (2004) who argues that induction is not about having just one special event, meeting, or activity; rather, its success lies on understanding and sustaining that it is a process which entails a journey of recursive decisions and actions. 

The DVC Teaching and Learning, Prof.Jan Crafford addressing New Academics during the induction programme

On the first day of the induction programme, Prof Jan Crafford in his capacity as the UNIVEN’s DVC Teaching and Learning welcomed the new academics and everyone who was part of the induction. Prof. Crafford assured all the new academic staff that they have not taken a wrong decision by joining the University of Venda. He also elaborated on CHETL and its mandate in driving and advancing quality teaching and learning in the University of Venda. Prof.Crafford encouraged the new academics and everyone to familiarise themselves with the University of Venda’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan and to understand the overall role played by CHETL and its four (4) units, ADU, SCCDU, DU and E-Learning in driving such a strategic direction of the University. He further noted the significant role played by CHETL in driving the strategic thrust such as student centredness and engaged scholarship. He encouraged the new academics to work towards achieving student success to ensure graduate throughput and graduation rate at the University of Venda. 

There were other presentations from the representatives of the four CHETL units. One presentation was on ‘Understanding Academic Development Unit’, its sub-units and services. It was presented by Dr Ravhuhali. This was followed by a presentation on ‘Understanding Student Counselling & Career Development Unit’ and its services (SCCDU), presented by Dr R. Pila-Nemutandani. Dr T. R Mbuvha presented on ‘Understanding Disability Unit’ and its services. While Mr. W. Xazela presented on ‘Understanding e- Learning’ and its services. Further, Mr. Phathutshedzo Rathogwa representing students’ components, especially the DU students, highlighted his experiences of teaching and learning, assessment, and expectations from new academics. Furthermore, Mr. A. Gadisi presented on ‘Teaching Students Living with Disabilities’ and he highlighted challenges that students faced when they are taught by academics who are not aware of the variety of challenges that disabled students endure. 

Presentations made by some of the CHETL units during the induction programme

Mr. A Mulaudzi presented on ‘Auxillary Services and Examinations’ processes at UNIVEN while Dr. M Mabika presented on ‘Working with MenTuts to Enhance Students Learning’. Other presentations that formed part of the three (3) Day induction for new academics included amongst others, Understanding university students in the late adolescence and imaging adult; Being and becoming an academic at UNIVEN (Reflections on the Self and practice); UNIVEN Context (histories, present and future; Promoting student centeredness through diverse teaching and Learning strategies; Large Class Pedagogy (managing large classes); Re-Thinking curriculum transformation; Diversity in (and) knowledge: Whose knowledge matters the most?; Assessing learning in Higher Education; Using students’ evaluation of teaching as reflective tool. On behalf of the DVC Teaching and Learning, Prof.Crafford, Dr Ravhuhali thanked all the new academics for making time to participate and engage in their induction to learn ways of teaching and learning as well as organizational culture in relation to the University of Venda. 

Issued by: Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication 

University of Venda 

Tel: (015) 962 8525 / 8710 

Date: 12 February 2022 

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