Stellenbosch University
Welcome to Stellenbosch University
Auxin: Challenges of Transforming Curricula: Reflections by an interdisciplinary community of practice
Author: Simbongile Ntwasa
Published: 15/05/2024

You are invited to attend the fourth TLA (Teaching-Learning-Assessment) Auxin seminar of 2024, offered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning:

Topic: Challenges of Transforming Curricula: Reflections by an interdisciplinary community of practice

Speakers: Dr. Ruenda Loots, Dr. Jerome Joorst, Dr. Jennifer Feldman, Dr. Gerda Dullart, Dr. Anthea Jacobs, Dr. Jean Farmer, Mr Simbongile Ntwasa

Date: 21 May 2024

Time: 13:00 - 14:00

Place: online via MS Teams Click here to join the meeting

Summary of Auxin

Institutional transformation and inclusion have slowly become more prominent in the strategies of historically white institutions in South Africa. Despite these efforts, progress towards these goals has been limited. In this article, we reflect on our conversations about transforming our curricula and teaching practices as an interdisciplinary Community of Practice. Our conversations grappled with the lack of curricular transformation at Stellenbosch University, despite its aspirational transformation plan. We argue that difficult interdisciplinary conversations are key to interrupting our teaching practices and are crucial in the decolonising process. These conversations must be ongoing and enduring, because through sharing our stories we support agents of curriculum transformation in our different contexts. Our conceptual conversations explored various theories about decoloniality, and here we employ ubuntu pedagogy, as well as the concepts of redistribution, recognition and representation from social justice theory. We harness the collaborative energy of an interdisciplinary Community of Practice, with its associated storytelling, reading, writing and reflecting to harness the diversity of personal and disciplinary perspectives. We include some reflective vignettes to illustrate our process. The relevance of this study, beyond our contexts, arises from a gap in the decolonising process, from its theory to its practice. We argue that even a good institutional transformation plan will not guarantee the decoloniality of curricula. More is needed. Systemic change is needed, and difficult interdisciplinary conversations are part of this process. There must be recognition and representation of marginalised voices and specific context-related redistribution of curricula, so that transformation plans and theories can take effect.

Biography of speakers

  1. Dr. Gerda Dullart is a Manager in Learning & Teaching at the Faculty of Medicine Health & Sciences.
  2. Dr. Jean L. Farmer is a Programme Manager at the Transformation Office.
  3. Dr. Jennifer Feldman is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Education: Education Policy Studies.
  4. Dr. Anthea Jacobs is a Senior Advisor at the Centre for Teaching & Learning.
  5. Dr. Jerome Joorst is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Education: Education Policy Studies
  6. Dr. Ruenda Loots is a Lecturer & Head of the Diploma in Sustainable Development: School of Public Leadership
  7. Mr. Simbongile Ntwasa is an Advisor at the Centre for Teaching & Learning