Thursday, November 22, 2007

Exhibition time

It is now coming close to the end of my first semester here.
The really exciting thing is that I have been able to visit the year-end exhibitions of a number of departments, and also the year-end seminar of Informatics B-Tech.
Of course not all exhibitions have been without the nerves and emotions, but I believe that we are beginning to grow together as one Faculty, and that may well result in some growing pains.
The year is also seeing some retirements and some people leaving for promotions - which is always good. Particularly pleasing to me is that Babalwa Sepete, our Admin Assistant for IT, has got a promotion post within the institution. So thus the institution is not losing her bright personality and her expertise. WELL DONE BABALWA.
Some departments have been requesting to meet with me to discuss their position, and that has been exciting. I wish I could do more of that and less putting out of fires. But with Jameson Cona having joined us as fire-prevention officer (read Faculty Administrator) I hope that things will settle down to a simmer.
Maurice has been conducting a writing workshop for staff who want to start publishing, and that is exciting.
Johann van Niekerk has suggested that he invite his students to Facebook. I really hope this leads to something. Meanwhile Chris de Beer from DUT is also interested in this sort of stuff.
On the down side, staff are tired. It is the end of the year. Students are nervous.
But the days are getting longer, and winter is almost over

Friday, September 14, 2007

Middle of September

So, a month has past since my introductory talk to the Faculty.
Everyone has been remarkably quiet.
Interesting how, however, messages seem to get lost in the re-telling.
People are worried about the re-structuring of the faculty - worried specifically about their jobs and their careers. Point is, maybe restructuring is too strong a word.
My main idea is that people who have things in common, should work closer together.
In my discussions with staff I keep on hearing of overlaps. I keep on hearing that some people have shortages in certain skills, while other people tell me that they teach those. So, if I can get those groups to work closer together, then we may be able to eliminate much of the duplication and get a lot more work done.
Four "houses" if you read Harry Potter, have already seemed to emerge. What I want to do, is to see how this grows. The creating of new structures is not a priority with me. My priority is getting research to happen, and streamlining teaching and learning to enable that. If in the process of such streamlining some groups work more closely together, then I have achieved my aim.
Today I had lunch with the Department of Fashion (I knew it was fashion because most of them wore black). And what fun we had!!! It was really great to discuss what it is to be and Academic - rather than a lecturer.
There's a whole lot of strategy and skill.
What people need to remember is that the currency that I work with, is people's careers. And I pledge myself to help every one who wants to work with me, to develop their careers - whether it be at CPUT, or outside.
Now, back to the budget proposals.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

After the Party - 17 August

So, this morning we had the long anticipated "Dean meets faculty" meeting.
It was TREMENDOUSly encouraging to have to many people attend.
It supports my initial gut-feel that the Faculty Staff are HIGHLY MOTIVATED and DEDICATED people. I also know that they are curious. (Unless some were just there for the food - which was good - even including Sushi!!!)
What was great was the response afterwards. Once again, there are three distinct reactions.
a. The cynics, who say, well, he'll soon learn that it just doesn't work that way here.
b. The silent majority who say, ok, so let's see what happens.
c. The enthusiasts who say - this is just the sort of push we need.
Ok, so the encouraging thing was that the cynics qualified their cynicism by adding - "but at least he is going to give it a try.
And, the silent majority is definitely positive about it.
Then, of course, I love the enthusiasts. They are good for the ego. BUT it was Matti Tedre who pointed out to me that there is NO relationship between enthusiasm and effort. Some enthusiasts use their enthusiasm to get the job done. Other enthusiasts feel terribly envigorated dream up huge schemes, and then get scared by the size of their own thoughts and do nothing.
So, my reaction to all this - I am sticking to my guns. I am continuing with a phased approach. I will think big - but I will start small.
It was such a good morning.

The department of Film and Video made a recording of the whole thing, and we'll put that on a DVD so that you can hold me to my promises (ha ha ha - unless I edit out the promises)

I was going to upload the PowerPoint here, but, alas I don't seem to be able to get Blogger to do that. So, here is a bulleted list version of the whole thing.

Informatics and Design: Towards an integrated future…
By Prof Johannes Cronjé

The Brief
•Your views pertaining to the challenges affecting or likely to affect the future operations of the Faculty
•Your plans for the Faculty
•Approach to maintaining and improving the teaching and research effort of the Faculty, and
•Approach to academic and administrative leadership and management
The Execution
•Use the ADDIE model that most designers know, and
•Combine it with Kaplan & Norton’s “Balanced Scorecard”
•Consider my own potential contribution
•Suggest a way forward

The ADDIE model of design and development
The balanced scorecard
•A tool for decision-making

The balanced scorecard
The design scorecard
Vision and Mission
•To be at the heart of Technology Education and Innovation in Africa
•Our mission is to develop and sustain an empowering environment where, through teaching, learning, research and scholarship our students and staff, in partnership with the community and industry, are able to create and apply knowledge that contributes to development.

Financial perspective
•To succeed financially how should we appear to our shareholders?
•Question: Who are our shareholders?
Answer: Those who pay us
•Government subsidy on enrolments
•Student fees
•Government subsidy on research outputs
•Funds generated by continuing education
•Grants and donations
The design scorecard
Analysis (SWOT)
•Strength: Unique combination of art and science
•Weakness: Uneasy fit of different backgrounds, multiple campuses
•Opportunities: The rise of the creative class
•Threats: Michaelis, Stellenbosch, Independent colleges, e.g. Hugenot, Intec; Potential loss of focus through institutional drift
The design scorecard
Internal perspective
•To satisfy our shareholders and customers, what processes must we excel at?

Internal business processes
•Customer need identified
•Innovation process
•Operations process
•Post-sale service process
•Customer need satisfied
Identify customer need
•Short-term needs: Short courses, internally adjustable curricula, conferences, syllabi
•Long term needs: Sustainability, Masters’ and Doctoral studies, long-term development research
•Combining resources
•New ways of teaching and learning
•Integrating research, teaching and supervision (the cascade system)
•Design and development research as a way of integrating art and science
Operations (teaching, research and community service)
•Constructionist teaching makes students researchers
•Web-based teaching and learning to integrate art and technology
•Emphasis on local relevance and international application
•International guest lecturers and researchers
•Development research as integrative factor between community needs and academic activity
The design scorecard
•Remove the unnecessary
•Emphasize the unique
•Iterative design – do what we are already doing but do it better
•Collaborative design – do things together to get different perspectives
•Participant design – share roles and responsibilities
•Community involvement in design projects
Learning and growth
•Employee capabilites
•Information system capabilities
•Motivation, empowerment & alignment
•Organisational learning
•Designing effective teams
Employee capabilities
•Training staff to operate in an improved model for teaching and learning in a technology-rich environment, with more emphasis on students learning by doing
•Capacitating staff to do independent research, in teams and to write research grant proposals
•Concentrating on reducing individualist behaviour that comes with the pressure of a radical change in the workplace
Information system capabilities
•“Grow your own corn” by designing IT systems to enable cooperation and management
•Optimise use of existing University infrastructure for better teaching, learning and communication
•Use free social software to enable international cooperation

Motivation, Empowerment and Alignment
•Performance management systems easily turn into de-motivators (extrinsic, anticipated, tangible, delayed)
•Need to find intrinsic motivators (Challenge, curiosity, control, fantasy)
•Empowerment of staff by increased use of committees – particularly composed of junior staff and senior students
•Aligning individual and organisational goals. E.g. staff who research and publish more, are more promotable – thus organisation and individual benefit
Organisational learning
•Kurz and Snowden
Designing effective teams
•Mutual goal
•Individual accountability
•Positive interdependence
The design scorecard
Development and implementation
•Phased approach rather than turnkey
•Done together with a continuous analysis
•Creating a positive corporate culture
•Encourage ownership (“We” rather than “You”)
•Finding and keeping enthusiasm
•Steering committee
•Consultants: Internal and External
•Deal with critics early before they poison the system
•Look for angels in the executive office
•Honesty is the best policy

Customer perspective
Who are our customers?
•University management
Customer perspective
•Market share
•Customer acquisition
•Customer retention
•Customer satisfaction
•Customer profitability
•Institutional Audit
•Departmental evaluation
•Employee performance assessment
•Evaluation of learning
Institutional audit
•Huge additional workload on all staff
•Requires meticulous slave driver to lead
•Committee to ensure deep penetration
•Every scrap of paper counts
•Internal audit before external audit
•Close support and monitoring
•A huge learning experience
Departmental evaluation
•Primarily a learning experience
•Encourage brutal honesty
•Use as a networking and marketing opportunity
•Way for the Dean to get to know the faculty
Employee performance assessment
•Huge dilemma in terms of fairness, remuneration and motivation
•Really de-motivational for those who are almost good enough
•Faulty assumption: The level of utilisation of a worker is determined by his own potential. Reason: Dependency (Goldratt)
•Correct attitude: to ensure you are used where you fit best
•Result: the 4 T’s Tolerate, Train, Transfer, Terminate
Evaluation of learning
•More than just counting the passes
–Organisational impact
–Return on investment ... That will bring us back to…
The design scorecard
So what do I offer?
•Community service
Teaching – wide range of:
•Experience: high school, first-year “Technikon”, undergraduate, masters (100+), doctoral (30+)
•Subjects: language, writing, public speaking, business communication, organisational behaviour, computers in education, instructional design, practical teaching, visual design, end-user computing, multimedia production
•Methods: Face-to-face, daily, evenings, blocks; Web-based, Video, Broadcast
Teaching: Visiting professor
•University of Bergen, Norway: Educational Management
•University of Joensuu, Finland: Computer Science
•Addis Ababa University: Education
•Sudan University of Science and Technology: Education
Teaching – Awards & Achievements
•Winner of first UP award for Education Innovation
•Winner of University of Pretoria chancellors’s Medal in the category Teaching & Learning for 2004
•Four of my alumni are professors
•One alumna is the Head of UNISA library

•26 publications in accredited journals
•3 Chapters in books
•Partner in jointly funded projects with
•University of Bergen
•University of Joensuu

Community service
•Director: Cornwall Hill College
•Reviewer: 4 International, 3 National journals
•Founder member SANTEC network
•Continuing Education @ UP – short courses. Turnover in 2006 half a million
•Co-ordinator M.Ed (CIE)
•Founding co-ordinator M.IT
•Co-ordinator – Doctoral programme in Computers in Education (PhEdUP)
•De facto Head of section for Computer-integrated Education
•Head of Residence: Kiaat
•Chair: UP Residence Council
•Alumni, current or provisional students at just about every university in South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and Botswana
•International links with
–Addis Ababa University
–Sudan University of Science and Technology
–University of Bergen, Norway
–University of Joensuu, Finland
–University of Georgia, USA
–Florida State University, USA

Consulting – Clients include
•De Beers
•Standard Bank
•BHP Billiton

Way forward: Theory of Constraints
The Goal – is “to make money” (Goldratt)
•Identify the constraint
•Decide how to exploit the constraint
•Subordinate all other processes to the above decision
•Elevate the constraint
•If the constraint moves as a result, go to step 1
•Don’t let inertia become the constraint

The Deliverable
•Your views pertaining to the challenges affecting or likely to affect the future operations of the Faculty – Balanced Scorecard
•Your plans for the Faculty – ADDIE
•Approach to maintaining and improving the teaching and research effort of the Faculty – TOC
•Approach to academic and administrative leadership and management – What I offer
So, let the future begin…
By Prof Johannes Cronje

Professorial English 101
•Always do X. Never NEVER, ever do Y EVER in your life ever…
•It might just be a good idea to…

•Spread across two campuses
•Lack of research confidence & experience
•Perceived “Cinderella” faculty

•Co-operation with industry – THRIPP
•International research cooperation: Finland, Holland, Sweden, Germany
•Co-ordinated Masters’ and Doctoral programmes
•Establishment of a community of scholars
•Cherry-picking by private providers
•Industry don’t know what we do
•Industry don’t know what we are worth
•The goal is “To grow research capacity”
•Constraints identified:
–Time (Too many contact hours)
–Space (Not enough room for larger classes and other “batch processing”)
How to exploit the constraint
•Community service
•Advance planning
•Streamlined processes
•Class captains
•Faculty manager
•Lecturers are responsible for student learning.
•Students are responsible for making the most of the opportunities provided by the lecturers.
(Diana Laurillard – Rethinking University Teaching)
Teaching by improved…
Improved strategies
•Set the exam first and then ensure that students are equipped to pass it.
•At the end of the year, reflect upon what worked and what didn’t.
•Consider: Batch processing, Team teaching, Subject integration, Internships
Improved techniques
•Peer tutoring
•Ask three then ask me
•Big group, small group
•Rotated workstations (hot desks)
Improved technology
–Testing to teach
–Record keeping
–Student tracking
•Web 2.0 – Mxit, Facebook, Linked-in, Del.ici.ous, Blogger
•Teaching and learning committee
•Cascading supervision
•A community of scholars
•Graduate committee (Subset of research committee)
•Core function of a university.
•Yes, but…
–I was hired to teach…
–My field is not a research field…
–Nobody knows what research should be done at a university of technology – nobody knows what a university of technology is…
•Homo sapiens non urinat in ventum.
Technology research – A taxonomy
•How do we teach this technique?
•How do we improve this technique?
•What are the philosophies that underpin this technique?
Research philosophy
•Socially responsible research
•Pasteur’s quadrant
•Actor network theory
Research methodology
•Design research
Oberholzer’s Design Research Study
Oberholzer continued
Research strategy
•Establishment of a research development unit
•One-stop research stop
•Research professor
•Research editor
•Research teams
•Research networks
Community service
•In support of mainstream academic processes
•Use excess capacity
•Integrated with research
•Not charity:
–Opportunity for external sponsorship
–Recruitment tool
•Winter school
Putting it all together
•Plans for the Faculty, plans for you
•Save time by reducing overlaps
•Four special interest groups:
–ICT design
–Environmental design
–Media design
–Artifact design
Develop a strong central core
•Central theme: Design
•Commonalities – not a common first year, but common modules throughout
•Think “Farm School”
Your job
•Find a research question
•Develop a research passion
•Form creative partnerships
•Develop a career of scholarship
•Live your CV – Register it on NRF online
•Streamline your teaching and admin
Making time for research
•All courses on WebCT
•Schedule a research day
•Use your recess:
–Lie in the sun and tan
–Do private consulting
–Research and publish
My job
•To create an environment in which you can do your job.
•Thus, I work for you.
What I hope to do
•Create stronger HOD positions to bring decision-making power closer to you.
•Develop admin processes and policies in association with the new Faculty Manager.
•Create a winter school to allow you to make your own research money.
•Stimulate industry partnerships.
•Develop international partnerships and invite international visiting scholars and adjunct professors.
•Create opportunities for you to be trained – if you don’t train them, you can’t blame them.
•Develop an incentive system – tangible and intangible.
•Increase transparency.
•Focus our energy to create a community of scholars.
And finally
•Have enormous fun!

Friday, August 3, 2007

The beginning of the second month

On 1 August I signed an offer to purchase an old, rambling house in Newlands. So now we are committed. The kids can cycle to school, and it is ON the highway to work. Of course it is still a whole adaptation to realise that I cant just stroll over to the office if I forget something. Now, once you hit the highway, you must persevere.
I had a number of interesting meetings. Firstly there was a Dean's meeting. I find it a really nice, reassuring place. Once again, I am new, but still, I feel welcomed, and accepted. Then there was the Executive Committee of the Senate. Here's where the BIG GUNS are represented. I felt more than a little out of my depth, but the Vice Chancellor was very kind, and even explained to me the things that I was supposed to explain to the meeting. My instructions from Colin were to "Just sit there and act stupid". I promise you I did not have to act at all. I came over quite stupid enough. THEN, the exciting one was the Faculty executive. The energy is astounding. We did not get through half the agenda, even though Colin, who took the Chair, tried his level best to keep the thing brief and to the point. We will have to consider how we make that meeting more meaningful, though.
Last night there was the launch of the Environmental Resource Centre. It was highly exciting, and I can see that the departments of Multimedia, Film & Video, Photography and Journalism could have an absolute field day working in that centre. I took lots of business cards, and will soon be getting some stuff off the ground.
More importantly is that, there, I met just about the whole of the research section, and discovered that the University already had in place many of the things that I wanted to create. THUS, all we have to do is harness them. I have asked Juana to schedule a meeting to get the research initiative up to speed.
The really nice thing is that we are all very much looking forward.

Friday, July 27, 2007

End of week three

So this is me in my office. The Department of Interior Design has done an EXCELLENT job of hanging my paintings and generally making the place look good.
I HATE my I-Mate phone and its camera. In fact I hate EVERY PART of my I-Mate K-Jam phone. I am putting it here on my blog so that the whole world will know NEVER to buy one.
The camera is dreadful, the phone is unreliable.

Now that that is out of the way, back to the week. On Thursday we had a writing session to work on our papers for the Conference on Interactive Design to be held during the Design Indaba next year.
It was a really good opportunity for me to meet with some of the staff, and to engage in critical disucssion. Although, I did make at least one person very angry.
Now, now, CATTS and others who know me - you're not supposed to say "Gosh, did it take so long?"
Anyway, we made peace. And I am very glad that the person was brave enough to confront me and set the record straight immediately. I really hate it to learn days, months or even years later that I had offended someone, when, if I had known immediately, I could have made reparations!
Nevertheless, what I learnt from the occasion, is that we, as a faculty, need to learn the elements of academic debate. If we are going to get onto the international stage, we must learn to give and take sharp criticism - and also leant to do so without giving or taking offence.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday afternoon

Today we had a writing workshop. I met a number of lecturing staff who are not on the executive committee. That was good. I made one person angry. But I apologised. Now, now, CATTS and other people who know me - I can already hear you say - gosh, did it take that long. But, seriously, I was insensitive, and I am just glad that the 'victim' was brave enough to confront me. I really hate it when I upset someone and they don't let me know - and then I learn about it 10 years later, when things could have been cleared up immediately.
Anyway, we managed to do a bit of discussing about what would constitute a good article, and a number of people are on their way to a good beginning.
Tomorrow is the first REAL Faculty executive meeting and I am looking forward to it.
It will be TWO HOURS long, but I have asked Colin to chair it, because if I were to chair it, we would be there all week.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A week and a half later

So last week I spent in Mafikeng and Pretoria tying up loose ends - and using some time reflecting.
I did not take my "blue" book with me, so unfortunately much of the reflection is gone.
Monday 23rd was my first "Real" workday since the academic semester had started.
I began with taking William to school on my way. Imagine my shock when I discovered that I would end up driving to work IN THE DARK!
I thought I would be at the office hours before the rest, but ended up being there last. This is the dedication that the people around me have.
I had two meetings on the Bellville campus - a luncheon meeting with the Vice Chancellor, DVC, donors and the other Deans. Funny thing that - sort of felt like a fly on the wall watching all these people that I don't really know at all, but knowing that actually I was one of them!!
Second was a focus group about educational media. Had to work very hard not to take over the meeting. Did use it to recruit a number of potential students for an M.Tech in Educational Technology!
Then on the way home from Bellville I got lost and spent an hour battling rush hour traffic trying to fight my way home.

TUESDAY I was introduced officially to the Faculty Executive.
I came away from that meeting with a song in my heart. This is absolutely amazing. There are people there all ready, willing and able.
I know I am still starry eyed and maybe a little naive, but I really BELIEVE in this place.
After the introductions three members of the Department of Interior Design came along to hang my paintings and re-arrange my office. I thought it would be a good idea to consult the in-house experts - and it was. Watch this space for pictures!!!

WEDNESDAY I spent in Bellville again, and met some people. I am beginning to get regular feedback about this blog. Some about the content - and some just because they hate the colour from a design perspective.
So, clearly I need to consult again.
So, let me do it here.

PLEASE post suggestions abou improved colour combinations for this blog.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday 13th. The end of the second week

Once again, when I drove to work this morning I thought how lucky I was.
I spent the first 15 minutes of the morning with my new doctor, getting feedback on my medical (I'm over 45, you know) and he says EVERYTHING is cool.
Then the sun basked the mountain in crisp kitch chocolate box light as I drove straight towards it to joint the highway, and then there was no traffic on the N2 and I could coast all the way into the office.
This week I met two new people - David Boonzaier and John Hill - essentially from different ends of the Faculty, but with all the same things in common.
I sort of get the feeling that Mel and the rest put together this excellent Ferrari, parked it at the starting blocks, and said to me: "Now you drive it!" How lucky can one be. Yes, maybe I am naive, maybe I am rushing in where angels fear to tread - but I can't think of a nicer job at the moment.
Our move arrived on Tuesday, and we spent Tuesday and Wednesday in continuous unpacking mode. NOTING was broken. Amazing. The only thing that broke, was a glass that we broke ourselves while unpacking it.
HOWEVER, what set me thinking was how much STUFF we have. And that after everything that we threw away! And a lot of that stuff that we threw away (either in Pretoria or Cape Town) was stuff that we thought we could actually not live without. It reminded me of a research project done by two of my M.Ed students some years ago in which they discovered that in one week a family in Sandton threw away more in kilogrames, than a family in Diepkloof brought in.
Which then becomes a common denominator in my discussions with both John and David.
How much are we as a faculty spending, that we do not have to spend. What sort of duplication are we doing, what sort of unnecessary things are we doing - either just becuase we've always done it, or because we have not thought how to do it better.
There are video cameras lying around only slightly used, by at least four departments. There are subjects taught in various courses that, with a little thinking, can be replaced by one generic course.
I can think of nothing more exciting than to do a major audit of all our stuff, and all our intellectual property, and to see how we can align all that better.
Next week I will be in the greater Tshwane area all week. More time to reflect upon the stuff that awaits.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Friday - One week already!

This morning when I drove in to work I was just amazed at the scenery the crispness, the mountain, the sea.
How privileged I am to get such a nice job in such a city with such scenery.
My first appointment was a deputation from the Faculty secretariat wanting to know when I was going to introduce myself to the whole Faculty staff. The answer is that we will decide upon that date at the HOD meeting on 24 July.
The venue (I hope) will be the Hotel School in Granger bay.
I will spend about an hour doing the presentation that I did to the interview committee who appointed me. I believe that that is the promise I made to the University.
Then I will spend another 30 mins explaining how we will go about fulfilling that promise.
Then we will party.
Of course, all that is subject to what is decided at the HOD meeting.
The morning I spent battling with technology to set up the new computer, and the afternoon we went to Ganger bay for lunch at the Hotel School AND saw the new boat AND saw the rescue pool etc.
This University is going to be a tremendous place to work for.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Day three and four

People are on holiday, so there's very little that I can do about getting to know my new job.
So I am using the time getting to know the way here, and shifting furniture.
I have moved the desk through 90 deg. so that I don't sit with my back to the wall.
It's one of those funny things about a new office, you have to shift the furniture - you simply cannot live the way the previous person had it. No matter even if it is the best possible configuration. It must change. So, now mine is changed.
I am reading through two documents Mel left me - one about the future of the faculty, and the other about its structure. I am excited about that. I am tired of hearing about the history of the faculty - the future is much more exciting.
On Wednesday Mari Lecanides-Arnot came and had lunch with me - pizza from a box in the office - and we disucssed the future of the foundation programme (or extended programme). There are two different programmes running on the Cape Town and Bellville campuses respectively. So, there I have had my first post-merger discussion. Once everyone is back from holidays we will have to settle this one.
On Thursday I had lunch with Pieter van Brakel and we picked up on old friendships, and discussed various aspects of future cooperation. I am very excited about what we can achieve together.
On a personal note, Elaine has painted the house. She also accompanied me on a clothes shopping spree - which turned out to be a good idea, since I have just learnt that our move does not arrive till TUESDAY. Which means an empty house. So now I am booking us into a timeshare for the week!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Reflection on day two

This is why one has to have a blog. SO many things happen so quickly that unless you write it down you forget.
So, on Tuesday I found a new way to get to work - and other queues in the traffic.
THEN I drove over to the Bellville Campus for a meeting with Colin Daniels.
THe qualitative researcher in me is enjoying this. Talk about crystalisation. I am hearing the same stuff, but from a different angle. New facets every time. Some of the data is saturating already. I think that much of what is being written in my big black book (oh yes, I must actually change its cover to a more friendly colour) will make for really interesting research).
From Colin I learnt a whole lot about the processes that are already in place, and the processes that still need to be followed.
Then I had visits from HR and Health and Safety. So I know that I am now human and safe.
I have also had another look at the whole entrance and back office thing, and all those of us in the office had a major discussion about it ...
Turns out we would do well to re-look at the whole layout, and possibly get in some interior designers (we have them in the Faculty, after all) to look at the whole thing. Point is I want the entrance to have a friendly face.
My daughter Elaine came to visit and look at my office, which she pronounced to be cool. And then it was off to Cavendish square for some serious clothes shopping.
Driving home there was this strange feeling that came over me. For the first time ever I was a guy in a car driving home after work in peak traffic. For the first time ever I am an office worker, made out of tickytacky ... And what a funny feeling that was. When I worked at the Technikon in the eighties I drove to work and back sometimes when I did not use the bicycle, but that was to class, not to the office, and never in peak hours. My classes always started before or after peak times. And of course for the past six years I have been working from home on Campus. Now I am a regular commuter and it's quite strange. Only difference is that I should have been driving an Audi, BMW or Merc, not a little red cabriolet with the roof down...
Poor Franci had a TERRIBLE day yesterday. Picfords could not get all the stuff out of the house, and although they promised an extra vehicle, it only took one load and then they went home. We ended up phoning all over to try and get the renovators to move into the apartment a day later, but to no avail. So, Wednesday is going to be a day of chaos for her.
Cavendish has NICE clothes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Reflection on day one

Monday 2 July was my first day as Dean of Informatics and Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology ( Like Jan van Riebeeck I am also keeping a diary of my voyage to the Cape of Good Hope. The purpose of this blog is to keep a record of what is happening in the first few days. Also there may be some of my friends, past students and colleagues who might want to know what is happening. Then of course it is for those who will be working with me now - to give them an idea of what is happening so that they can plan, and comment, and generally engage in discussion about the future of the Faculty.

So, the first day is over, and what an exciting experience it was.

It started with an SMS from Juan pointing out to me that there was an amazing sunrise, and a full moon. They had even arranged a break in the wet Cape winter for the Pretorian.

Juan and I greeted with a hug - considering that we had already been corresponding for two weeks, and she had had to do a huge amount of phoning and organising.

She had already put me into contact with Retha, Johann, CV and Colin.

The view from my office is amazing!

Then I got a hug from Mel. She was just happy to see me and couldn't believe I could start so quickly. Both vice rectors came to call! Mandla Tshabalala and Anthony Staak came to welcome me, and it was good to hear of student affairs, and also to get an initial briefing of how things work.

Then we got to do real work, with a long meeting with CV Botha.

The good news is that the Faculty is running well. There are still some post-merger blues to deal with, but they are less, rather than more, and they are administrative rather than "political".

The most encouraging aspect of the day was to learn that the staff are ready for, and looking forward to, embarking on the challenge of developing a research tradition in the faculty. There's none of this "I was appointed to teach, why should I do research" stuff.

Then there's the question that everybody's asking: "What are you going to do with the Faculty?"

So, here is my end of day one reply:

1. I am going to work very hard to establish a culture of research.

2. I am going to re-examine the work loads of lecturers, particularly in terms of teaching and admin, to free up research time for them. The workload will be reduced if we re-think our teaching practices and make it more efficient. We need to think DVD, iPod, SMS, Web. The admin will be reduced if we can automate systems, and make use of more assistants. And the money for the assistants will come form ... subsidies generated from research outputs!

On a more personal note. I am sleeping stoksielalleen in the little 3 bedroomed cottage, with a duvet and a pillow, and my sleeping bag as only cover. And it gets so cold that the cold actually sticks to your skin. But when the move arrives the heater will arrive with it and then I will be able to thaw.

The car arrived late on Monday evening, so now I can drive with the top down when the sun shines, and enjoy the luxury of the ever-present Cape scenery.
And that is the story of Day One. Tomorrow: The great entrance lobby debate...