This section of the report showcases the various teaching and learning activities that the College of Law and Management Studies (CLMS) has undertaken. While most of the activities were supported through a University Capacity Development Project grant, a number of activities were initiated by academics and were either funded by the Schools, or through their own grants.
Perhaps the main highlight for the CLMS in 2019/2020 was the recognition of teaching excellence, which saw two academics being recognised both internally (within UKZN) as well as nationally. Academics were also involved in a range of community engagement activities targeting high school learners from schools in the Department of Education’s quintiles 1-3. The focus was on providing support in Mathematics and Accounting, as well as improving attitudes towards these subjects.
Three academics were recognised for teaching excellence. Professor David McQuoid-Mason of the School of Law received a special award for his clinical legal education work in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and elsewhere in the world at the 10th nation-wide Conference of Russian Law Clinics hosted by the Law Faculty of Lomonosov, Moscow State University (MSU), the Russian Centre for the Development of Law Clinics and Indiana State University, at MSU. Professor Msizi Mkhize received the Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award at the 2019 Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) conference held at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. Professor Fayth Ruffin earned a 2019 CHE Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award. Professors Mkhize and Ruffin were also both recipients of the UKZN Distinguished Teacher Award, 2019.
Top: Professor David McQuoid-Mason (centre) at the Conference of Russian Law Clinics. Above left: Professor Msizi Mkhize. Above right: Professor Fayth Ruffin.
The School of Accounting, Economics and Finance (SAEF) also hosted an event to recognise professional and academic staff for their hard work, dedication and positive impact. Top academics in teaching and learning (per cluster) were Dr Kerry-Ann McCullough (Finance), Dr Jessica Schroenn Goebel (Economics) and Mr Alastair Marais (Accounting).
Transforming UKZN’s Academic Sector
As part of its quest to be the Premier University of African Scholarship, UKZN developed the Accelerated Academic Development Programme (AADP). The Programme, which aims to transform the academic sector through the accelerated development and promotion of emerging academics, has seen a total of 63 lecturers and senior lecturers credentialed since it was approved in 2013. The University’s Director of Human Resource Development Mrs Busisiwe Ramabodu said that in 2020, eight members of staff were successfully credentialed from the programme after completing their PhD studies.
Above – from left: Dr Siphiwe Mqadi, Mr Jabulani C Nyawo, and Mr Siyanda Kheswa.
In 2020, two staff members from the CLMS were successfully credentialed from the programme after completing their PhD studies. Dr Siphiwe Mqadi, a lecturer in Auditing, participated in the AADP programme, completed his PhD in Accounting and graduated on 28 May 2021. Mr Jabulani C Nyawo, is a lecturer within the Discipline of Public Governance and Mr Siyanda Kheswa, a lecturer in the School of Social Sciences inPietermaritzburg, also took part in the AADP programme.
Academic Monitoring and Support Initiatives
The CLMS’ First-year Experience Programme was first piloted in 2019 in line with the UKZN AMS policy and the University Capacity Development Plan’s Objectives one and eight. The programme mainly consists of the mentorship programme.
Above: Student mentors.
Mentors are selected from second-, third- or fourth-year students who are in good academic standing. They work with first-year students from orientation, and serve as a peer resource that new students can approach with any questions related to their studies throughout the year. Each mentor leads a group of approximately 25 first-year students and holds regular meetings with their mentees through a blended online and face-to-face approach, providing ongoing academic and social support. Skills workshops are held once a week, with facilitators selected from key academic and student support staff. A total of 1 252 first-year students were enrolled in the CLMS in 2020. Although all the students were invited to participate, 1 055 signed up for the programme.
The CLMS Teaching & Learning Unit, in collaboration with the CLMS Public Relations Office and the Dean: Teaching & Learning’s Office, launched a book drive in 2018 where the university community was called upon to donate books. More than 200 books have been donated to date, and a library which was set up in the WP has been operational since 2019. The aim is to encourage a culture of reading and promote academic literacy in the College. The WP was also renovated to ensure that it is a neat, welcoming and relaxed reading sanctuary.
Table 12. Writing Place Consultations 2019-2020
The current pandemic has affected the way consultations are conducted in the WP. Since tutors could not meet face-to-face with students, the WP reverted to ‘online consultations’. Students and lecturers were emailed to create awareness that it had done so. Lecturers posted the WP advert on Moodle to inform students. Adverts were also placed on the Notice System for greater reach to the entire University community. A generic email was created where students could send their drafts and request detailed feedback. Zoom and WhatsApp sessions were used to offer students an engaging online writing environment. Despite the lockdown, 1 748 consultations were held, comparable to previous years when there was no lockdown.
Curriculum Transformation Workshops
In order to improve academic writing support initiatives and to embed academic literacy more fully within the disciplines in the College, the WP received the Curriculum Transformation Grant to run a first-year academic literacy workshop series. As no modules are currently taught at first-year level in the CLMS that focus solely on students’ development of academic literacy, the WP embarked on a series of workshops in the second semester of 2019 to promote the acquisition of academic literacy and to prepare students for the written assessments they would encounter during the semester and indeed throughout their University experience.
Instead of following a generic model, these workshops were embedded into the facilitation of the selected modules, and aimed to assist students with the written assessments they had to complete in order to pass the modules. While embedding literacy interventions within subject papers required in disciplines is time-consuming and often logistically challenging (McWilliams & Allan, 2014), a body of literature has emerged on the benefits of doing so at tertiary level.
One benefit is that there is a student-centred or autonomous-learner focus in embedded literacy. This can be considered to be in line with UKZN’s goal towards curriculum transformation in terms of breaking down traditional hierarchies, shifting from teacher-centred curricula and encouraging active learning. Through its facilitation of the first-year academic literacy workshop series, the WP is fulfilling UKZN’s goal of fostering a student-centred ethos through the provision of curricula designed around their needs and producing well-educated, competent, sought-after graduates.
Academic Development Officers
ADOs provided support even before the resumption of lectures. They held Zoom meetings with students and also provided online academic counselling. Collectively, the ADOs assisted more than 2 500 students in individual or group consultations as well as supplemental instruction.
Table 13. ADO Online Support Template - 2020
At-risk students made up approximately 30% of the consulting students. ADOs had to adapt by moving consultations and tutorial sessions online. The table below presents a template for online academic support.
A total of 115 tutors from the CLMS completed the UTLO tutor training development course, resulting in the College having the highest number of trained tutors in the University. Of these, 71 were from the SAES, 29 from the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, and 21 from the School of Law.
Mentor Training workshop
A mentorship training programme was developed in 2019, initially for the FYE programme. In 2020, it extended to the INSETA and the M+3 and M+4 mentorship programmes. Three workshops were run for both the Schools of Accounting, Economics and Finance, and Management, IT and Governance, while training is an on-going process for the FYE programme.
Writing Place workshops
Online Learning Manual
The Teaching & Learning Unit developed an online learning manual which was made available to all students at the beginning of May 2020. It was designed to support students as they made the transition to online learning, and several students indicated that it was helpful.
Several community engagement projects were conducted by staff in the CLMS.
The Teaching & Learning Unit offered free tutorials to quintile 1-3 schools, and to learners at KwaNxusa High School on two occasions to assist Grade 12s with Mathematics, Accounting and Physical Science. These school visits, that began in 2014 also serve as a recruitment drive for the BCom Foundation programme at UKZN, promoting the programme and raising awareness of career options and study streams available to learners at UKZN through the CLMS.
Career development seminar: Ohlange Community Library (Inanda)
The Teaching & Learning Unit was invited by an NGO called Ink Excellence to a career development seminar. The aim of the seminar was to create awareness of different careers and programmes offered at UKZN.
Mandela Day Charity Drive
The FYE team at Natal Settlers Home.
The FYE programme launched the Mandela Day charity drive in May 2019 and partnered with ABASA (a student society that promotes academic excellence) to promote the University’s REACH-T values and encourage first-year students in the CLMS to give back to the surrounding communities. Natal Settlers Home for children and the elderly living with disabilities was identified as the charity of choice. Donations were collected from students, lecturers, and other University employees who gave willingly and gracefully. They included food donations, clothing, blankets and money. All the funds collected were used to purchase blankets and hoodies to keep the children warm during winter.
Mathematics and Accounting Support
SAEF academic Professor Msizi Mkhize and his son, Commerce Master’s student, Mr Siphesihle Mkhize used Facebook to share their Mathematics study material and solutions with the country’s Grade 12 pupils during the COVID-19 national lockdown.
More than 700 Grade 12 pupils from KwaZulu-Natal high schools benefitted from an Accounting examination workshop run by the SAEF as part of its mission to produce more African chartered accountants. This programme was initiated by Professor Mkhize in 2015 and offers a free Accounting workshop to matric learners preparing for their final examinations. Facilitated by UKZN Accounting lecturers assisted by members of the ABASA UKZN Student Chapter, the workshop covered a range of topics.
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