Sunday, January 30, 2011

You gotta love it when a plan comes together...

This is the beginning of my 4th calendar year at CPUT.  I arrived in July 2007, so although I've only been here for three and a half years, it is technically the beginning of year four.
And it is so good to see how a couple of things are beginning to fall in place.
From the outset there was just one aim - increasing research output.  There were two constraints - knowledge of how to do research, and time in which to do it.
We starded with increasing the knowledge about doing research.  The first initiative was a Faculty research day in 2007. On this followed the creation of the Postgraduate Research Programme (PRP) which started its life as an evening programme, and now lives on as a hybrid of evening programmes and block sessions. A number of supervisors have started seeing their students on a Monday or Thursday evening every week to engage in community-building and peer-support activities. The STING group, staff working on post-graduate studies,  which has been going strong for a some years now has a sister in DRAW - the Design Research Action Workshop, run by  Alettia and Mugendi. Then there's also Muthoni's group in Grahpic Design.
But the most ambitious project is the Design, Development and Research conference planned for 23 - 27 September. Check out
In terms of teaching and learning Graphic Design led the way by harmonising the offering on both campuses, while IT led the country in developing a suite of programmes aligned to the new HEQF. Next steps will be re-designing the whole faculty offerings.  Work on this started last year with wide consultation in the Faculty. Now industry consultation will follow.  On 17 February there will be a Faculty training day dedicated to Curriculum Design, and on 7 and 8 March there will be a two-day curriculum design workshop for selected delegates.  The highlight of the teaching and learning project in the Faculty was undoubtedly the WTF Media conference run by PR.  This was an excellent example of breaking the barriers between academic and industry and of allowing actual practitioners to share with students some of their experiences of real life...
Of course, one cannot talk about streamlining teaching and learning without considering workplace learning and here again great strides have been made with IT running a pre-incubator in Roeland Street, and various community engagement, work-integrated learning co-operative learning and service learning projects.  The highlight of the Faculty's community engagement is undoubtedly the East City Design Intitiative, a partnership between the Faculty and the City, through the Cape Town Partnership and Creative Capetown.  The first phase is now complete with the naming of the area as "The Fringe: Cape Town's Innovation District"
With the Cape Craft and Design Institute, the Bandwidth Barn and the Fashion Council already in the Fringe the Faculty's presence is being consolidated.  This must lead to amazing synergies in future.
Watch this space...