Message from the Director
In 2015 we look back on a year characterised by intensive revision of module content and delivery modes, as well as by significant progress in research.
A major recurriculation initiative was instituted by Janus van As in the academic and scientific literacy module for students of the Natural and Agricultural Sciences, LST 110. First, narrower foci were negotiated with the management of the Faculty, to make provision for the reading and writing requirements of five disciplinary clusters, viz. mathematical sciences, physical sciences, earth sciences, consumer sciences, and biological sciences. Janus also obtained seed funds from the University’s Department for Education Innovation to develop an online adaptive learning program, powered and supported by SmartSparrow. All lecturers on the LST teaching team are involved in intensive materials development in 2015. Since this year the UAL offers a separate intervention to students of new programmes in Sport Sciences. Ms Melissa Adendorff has taken the responsibility for co-ordination, curriculation and a blended learning approach.
Under the able leadership of Dr Avasha Rambiritch the Humanities Writing Centre grew from a fledgling into a fully-fledged facility offering training workshops to content tutors within the Faculty; providing writing guidance to individuals and groups in various formats. Judged by the successes of 2015, the HWC should go from strength to strength in 2016. We are extremely excited about a pilot postgraduate writing laboratory that is in the process of being established in the UAL. Thanks to a Teaching Development Grant obtained through the Director of the Department of Education Innovation, Prof. Wendy Kilfoil, we hope to assist a select group of Natural and Agricultural Sciences students, as well as a group of Economics and Business Science students to become better research writers. Brenda Vivian has been appointed as the co-ordinator of the experimental lab during 2015.
I am proud to announce that the UAL has now firmly established itself as a research-active entity. Between the three permanent lecturing staff members four research grants were secured in 2014: Prof. Carstens, in collaboration with Prof. Elsabe Taljard from the Department of African Languages and Prof. Mbulungeni Madiba from UCT, obtained a substantive grant from the DHET to establish a Multilingual Open Education Resource Term Bank; Dr Naomi Boakye was awarded both an NRF and an RDP grant for her research on Socio-affective approaches to teaching academic reading, while Dr Avasha Rambiritch obtained an RDP grant for research on the effectiveness of a tutorial intervention as well as converting this intervention into a writing centre. Judged by the number of accredited articles and book chapters produced by UAL staff in 2014, 2015 will be a boom year.
Two international scholars will be visiting the Unit in 2015 as research collaborators: Prof. Angela McRae from the Catholic University of America (hosted by Dr Boakye), and Nicole Bailey from Indiana University (hosted by Dr Rambiritch). We look forward to their visits as well as the impact of their collaboration on research in the UAL.
May 2016 be both a productive and a fun year for all UAL staff and students!
Prof. Adelia Carstens