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TAU Fellowship Programme 2021-2022
Author: Dr Karin Cattell-Holden
Published: 03/03/2021

​​TAU Fellowship Programme 2021-2022

The TAU (Teaching Advancement at University) Fellowship Programme is a nation-wide intervention that was initiated in 2015. It aims at advancing teaching quality and the professionalisation of teaching and learning in the public higher education sphere.

The TAU Programme involves the professional development of a cohort of mid- to senior level academic staff from varying disciplines at all South African public universities, by means of a combined residential and distance learning approach. Participants, who are disciplinary specialists, are familiarised with developments relating to teaching and learning in higher education, introduced to Scholarship of Teaching and Learning research, and positioned as change agents. Over the year-long period of the TAU programme they work on an educational project situated in their own environment as well as on a group project, and build partnerships with colleagues from other institutions. On conclusion of the programme, they are equipped to lead change processes relating to teaching and learning at their home institution.

On the first TAU programme (2015-2016) Stellenbosch University was represented by Prof. Elmarie Costandius and Prof. Geo Quinot. The SU academics on TAU Two (2018-2019) were Prof. Ian Nell and Dr Berna Gerber.

For TAU Three (2021-2022) SU is privileged to have three SU academics on the programme: Prof. Faadiel Essop, Prof. Ashraf Kagee and Dr Marianne McKay.

Prof. Faadiel Essop is currently a professor in the Department of Physiological Sciences and the Director of the recently established Centre for Cardio-metabolic Research Centre in Africa (CARMA) at SU. He is an NRF-rated internationally acclaimed researcher, former chairperson of the Department of Physiological Sciences, a former President of the Physiology Society of Southern Africa (two terms), the current Vice-President of the African Association of Physiological Sciences and a board member of the General Assembly of the International Union of Physiological Sciences. He also served as a member of the International Committee of the American Physiological Society and is an elected Fellow of the American Physiological Society.

Prof. Essop recently completed the one-year part-time course Scholarship of Educational Leadership (SOEL) at SU. During 2018 he received a Stellenbosch University Teaching Excellence Award (Developing Teacher). His TAU fellowship project will focus on the notion that scientists/engineers often view their discipline as ''neutral'' and therefore devoid of any socio-political and historical contexts. This 'scientific elitism' can therefore seemingly absolve scientists from such contexts, e.g. past injustices committed during apartheid and also contemporary, pressing issues such as equity redress, decolonization and inclusivity. The aim would be to develop a philosophical framework for the introduction of broader humanities and arts concepts into the biomedical, science and engineering curricula.

Prof. Ashraf Kagee is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at SU, co-Director of the Alan Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health, and a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. With over 200 academic publications, he is rated as an internationally acclaimed researcher with the National Research Foundation. He received the Rector's Awards for Excellence in Research in 2006, in Teaching in 2007, and in Community Interaction in 2009. In 2018 he received the Chancellor's Award for Sustained Excellent Career Performance.

Prof. Kagee's research has focused on common mental disorders among persons living with HIV, psychological and structural factors influencing adherence to antiretroviral therapy, and common mental disorders in various populations. He teaches cognitive psychotherapy and research methods in the Department of Psychology. He chairs the Board of Trustees of the Trauma Centre for Survivors of Violence and Torture in Cape Town and does capacity-building work at the Gaza Community Mental Health Centre in Gaza, Palestine.

As the recipient of several SOTL grants, Prof. Kagee has also conducted research on teaching research methods in psychology, an area where he focuses on critical thinking, scepticism, and empirical-mindedness. He intends to use the TAU fellowship to develop the areas of blended learning and e-assessment as well as the scientific writing skills among students in his research methods classes.

Dr Marianne McKay is a senior lecturer in the Department of Viticulture and Oenology. She was the first woman to graduate with MSc (Agric) in South Africa, and holds a PhD in Oenology. Dr McKay is recognised for her contributions to both oenology and teaching and learning. She received the national South African Council for Higher Education / HELTASA Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015 for her efforts in decoloniality in teaching and her research in teaching and learning. She also received an SU Teaching Excellence Award (Distinguished Teacher) in 2017. She held a Teaching Fellowship at SU from 2017 to 2020 and has been nominated for the SU Scholarship of Academic Leadership programme for 2021.

Dr McKay has extensive experience in teaching students in partner colleges in wine science, forming sustainable and successful training collaborations in local communities with measurable social impact. Her TAU fellowship objectives tie in with a number of goals in SU's Transformation Plan (Vision 2040) as well as important programme renewal initiatives around increasing diversity, accessibility and a transformative student experience. She aims at enhancing transformative and innovative student learning experiences in her modules. She also hopes to support colleagues interested in integrating their disciplinary research with research on teaching and learning.

The CTL proudly congratulates these colleagues and thanks them for their contributions to teaching and learning at SU. We wish them all the best for their TAU Fellowships.

More information about the TAU Fellowships is available from Dr Karin Cattell-Holden, kcattell@sun.ac.za.

On the photograph from left to right:  Prof. Faadiel Essop, Prof. Ashraf Kagee and Dr Marianne McKay