Teaching & Learning Academic Capacity Enhancement

University Education Induction Programme (UEIP)

In recognition of the need for capacity building and continuous development of academic staff, the University of KwaZulu-Natal introduced the University Education Induction Programme (UEIP) in 2012. Aligned to UKZN’s strategic goals and forming part of the Integrated Talent Management Policy and Guidelines approved by Senate, the UEIP programme is compulsory for all new academics and academics at lecturer level and below.

The UEIP programme comprises four 20-hour modules which are designed to improve and expand professional knowledge, develop skills and cultivate academics’ potential as teachers and supervisors. The programme consists of the following officially accredited courses:

  1. Designing and evaluating curricula in higher education
  2. Teaching & Learning in higher education
  3. Assessing teaching & learning in higher education
  4. Research supervision in higher education

The UEIP employs a practical approach, which promotes professional development where each academic is engaged in curriculum design and programme development using relevant institutional and national policies in higher education. Programme evaluations (by academic staff) indicate that the UEIP empowered them to be effective in curriculum design, development and implementation. Table 2 below reflects the number of academics per College that have attended the UEIP modules from 2012 to 2016.

It was planned that 600 academic staff would attend each of the four modules comprising the UEIP over five years, commencing in July 2012 through to June 2017. To successfully complete the programme, all four modules had to be attended and portfolios of evidence (PoE) assessed for certification of competency. This represented a total of 3 000 delegate registrations. UKZN/UTLO continued the programme in 2018 and 2019. To date, more than 750 academic staff delegates have attended each of four modules over the past seven years.

...Table 2. Key Indicators at 28 May 2019

Mentorship Development Programme

The Staffing South Africa’s Universities Framework (SSAUF) is a “multi-pronged, nationally coordinated” initiative which “aims to provide effective induction of academics, both established and early career, into the academy by providing support in all aspects of academic work: teaching, research, social engagement, academic leadership and management.” In response to this imperative, UTLO together with a group of academics designed and developed a mentorship model to expose academics (who are willing to be trained as mentors) to a set of generic and specific mentorship skills — through a compendium of possibilities using a tool designed for this purpose.

Although mentorship has long been regarded as an essential component in nurturing and developing early-career academics to grow into confident, competent, scholarly teachers, currently only a fraction of academics enjoy the benefits of mentoring at UKZN. To enable a cohort of potential mentors to explore the dynamics of mentoring, the programme runs over six half-day workshops from March to November, including a two-day retreat. The sessions also provide a valuable opportunity for sharing and networking.


Mentoring entails conscious reflection on the choice of strategies for professional self-development, usually engaged as a voluntary social collaboration between two consenting individuals. The act of mentorship involves a co-establishing of the goals for growth. Mentoring is not based on hierarchical imposition of targets, but on an agenda co-constructed through collaborative, negotiated reflection arising of out of specific contexts of the mentor and mentee. Mentorship relies strongly on the knowledge, commitment and experiences of both the mentor and mentee. It is a relationship of trust to set and review manageable and feasible goals to assist the mentee to achieve their prospective plans toward personal and professional growth.


The UKZN mentorship approach differs from “induction models”, which are characterised by pre-defined targets, goals and behaviours expected usually by the contracting employer. Successful mentors intervene appropriately to respond to the selected goals and strategies of the individual mentee related to their specific context, their situation/level/rank in the organisation, their network of available peers, their selection of responsiveness to the work and broader social context. Together mentor and mentee tailor-make unique pathways for the mentee’s development, provide several opportunities for monitoring the achievement of these goals and/or even redirecting strategies based on the mentees’ engagement. The process is driven not by the mentor’s expectations, but by the mentees’ choices to determine their own development through personal action. The mentorship journey does have set timeframes but is typically a continuing journey as new goals are developed, sometimes necessitating different selections of mentors by the mentee in their lifelong journey of professional development.

Promoting the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning

The Continuous Loop of Institutional and Professional Development Model (CLIP) is based on systems thinking, and acknowledges the need to provide extensive support for new and established academics. The model uses the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SOTL) as the theoretical basis to enhance teaching and research capacity. To provide for SOTL conversations, UTLO regularly hosts seminars, symposia and workshops throughout the year.

The average attendance varied, depending on the nature of the subject matter. While larger numbers were targeted, it was found that smaller groups engendered deeper engagement and cultivation of networks, providing the stimulus for further research.

2018 UTLO Hosted Activities to Promote SOTL
Blended & Flipped Learning ApproachesWorkshop
Mentorship - IntroductionWorkshop
Mentorship – Teaching & LearningWorkshop
Reimagining Teaching and Assessment in Higher EducationSeminar
Mentorship – ResearchWorkshop
Illusion of Solid and Separate ThingsSeminar
A Roadmap for the Implementation of Technology-Enhanced Learning at the University of KwaZulu-NatalSeminar
Mentorship – Career DevelopmentWorkshop
Reimagining Teaching and Assessment in Higher EducationSeminar
Mentorship – Community EngagementWorkshop
Enhancing Quality in Doctoral EducationSeminar
Exploring the Value of Adopting Moodle Quiz, Assignment and Forum activities 1Workshop
Exploring the value of adopting Moodle Quiz, Assignment and Forum activities 2Workshop
Tutor Workshop ( 4 Quarterly Tutor Workshop )Workshop
2019 UTLO Hosted Activities to Promote SOTL
Doctoral WritingWorkshop
Mentorship Workshop - Conceptualising MentorshipWorkshop
Blended Learning CourseTraining
Mentorship Workshop – Teaching & LearningWorkshop
Creating Pathways for Transformative Holistic Engagement in Teaching & LearningSeminar
Reflective Learning Models and PracticesWorkshop
Moodle WorkshopWorkshop

Contact UTLO:
2nd Floor, Francis Stock Building
Howard College Campus
University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 4041, South Africa.
Tel: +27 (0)31 260-3002
Email: UTLO