The Academic Development Unit, under Centre for Higher Education Teaching and Learning (CHETL) held a successful training programme for the MenTuts (Mentors and Tutors) from 20 to 24 January 2022. The training workshop was virtually attended by 155 MenTuts from four faculties (Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture, Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law, Faculty of Health Sciences, and Faculty of HSS and Education) across various departments. The programme covered various topics to equip MenTuts in carrying out their duties and contributing towards the student success within the University of Venda (UNIVEN. This is in line with the University 2021-2025 Strategic Plan.
Prof Jan Crafford, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning welcomed MenTuts and indicated that he is pleased to see how the programme for MENTUTS is arranged and the contents therein. He acknowledged that the MenTuts are being trained under extreme pressure due to the waves of the Covid-19 that has been on our shores for the past two years. Furthermore, Prof Crafford stated that, MenTuts must take their jobs and responsibilities of being MenTuts serious. “You are the peers of our students, and you have a lot to contribute to the development of your younger comrades (brothers and sisters) in their endeavour to graduate successfully from the University of Venda”.
Dr Fhatuwani Ravhuhali, the Acting Head of Academic Development welcomed MenTuts and emphasised on the role that they play within students’ success, especially for First entering students. Dr Ravhuhali further emphasised that MenTuts are one of those role key players in terms of ensuring that UNIVEN’s first entering students are able to do well and succeed academically. He further indicated that the main purpose of the training is to engage, discuss, interact and to bring to light that MenTuts could play to advance and enhance academic success of first entering and undergraduate students in general. Dr Ravhuhali encouraged the MenTuts to make sure that they contribute towards the success of the University and even go an extra mile.
The training workshop covered different topics such as ‘the roles and responsibilities of a MenTut’. In so doing, Mr Azwitamisi Gadisi from the Disability Unit provided his intense yet eye opening presentation on the inclusion of students living with disabilities within the classroom space. He encouraged MenTuts to not discriminate against students living with disability. Mr Gadisi further indicated that disability is not contagious, “if you help someone with disability it doesn’t mean you will also be disabled but one needs to be compassionate.”
One of the students who has served as a tutor in 2021, shared with the new tutors and mentors about the challenges they were faced with when conducting online classes, he indicated that there is a huge lack of attendance from the students and use of technology in conducting their classes. These sentiments were shared by many mentors and tutors who had to devise strategies on encouraging students to attend classes. In helping MenTuts on how they can keep students engaged in lecture rooms, a presentation by Mrs Mboweni-Pataka on ‘Teaching, tutoring and mentoring strategies’ was helpful for many mentors and tutors. Dr Ravhuhali closed the session by thanking all MenTuts for sacrificing their time and showing commitment to the trainings and being actively engaged in the whole time (for three days) training.
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University of Venda
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Date: 12 February 2022