Centre for Teaching and Learning
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​The name of the “Auxins" originates from Greek (auxano) and means “to grow". The CTL started the Auxins to accomplish their task of supporting SU academics in their teaching responsibilities. To read more about the Auxins, click here.

The Auxins therefore has as its aim to create the following growth opportunities for SU academics:

  • Windows for innovative teaching and assessment practices on campus
  • Opportunities for academics to examine and deepen their knowledge about topics of own interest in the arena of teaching and learning at SU
  • A Scholarship of teaching and learning route on the growth route of becoming reflective lecturers.
The  Auxin series of each year presents teaching and learning innovations in pedagogic practices at SU in the context of our increasingly diverse student body and the need for graduates who can contribute to a complex society​.  

Further support and resources for SU lecturers' innovative teaching and learning are explored in Auxins​, in alignment with the strategic SU vision for networked and collaborative learning; and our Tea​ching and Learning Policy​ providing for resources to support holistic student learning, such as libraries,  and learning technologies, and how they form an integral part of the learning offerings in all modules and programmes. 

​For resources of previous Auxins, click here.​​


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Die oorsprong van die naam “Auxin” is Grieks (auxano) en beteken om “te groei”. 

Die Sentrum vir Onderrig en Leer (SOL) het die Auxins begin in die uitvoering van hulle taak om US-akademici met hulle onderrigverantwoordelikhede by te staan. Om meer oor die Auxins te lees, kliek hier​

Die doelwit van die Auxins is om vir US-akademici die volgende groeigeleenthede te skep: 

  • Toonvensters vir​ innoverende onderrig- en assesseringspraktyke op kampus 
  • Geleenthede vir akademici om hulle kennis oor onderwerpe in die arena van onderrig en leer aan die US, waarin hulle self belangstel, te ondersoek en te verdiep.
  • 'n Padkaart vir akademieskap vir onderrig en leer as deel van die algehele groeiproses vir dosente om reflektiewe dosente te word.

Vir hulpbronne van vorige Auxins, kliek hier.​

Igama elithi “i-Okzini" lisuka kwigama lesiGrike elithi “auxano" nelithetha ukuthi “ukukhula".

IZiko lokuFundisa nokuFunda (IFF) laqala i-Okzini ukuze lifezekise umsebenzi walo wokuxhasa abahlohli nabafundi base-SU kumaxanduva abo okufundisa. Ukuze ufunde kabanzi ngee-Okzini, cofa apha

I-Okzini ke ngoko inezi zinto njengenjongo yayo yokudala la mathuba alandelayo ukulungiselela abahlohli nabafundi base-SU:

  • I-Windows ukulungiselela imisebenzi yokufundisa nokuhlola ekhampasini
  • Amathuba abahlohli nabafundi okuba bahlole ze benze nzulu nangakumbi ulwazi lwabo malunga nemixholo abanomdla kuyo kwimeko yokufundisa nokufunda e-SU
  • ISkolashiphu sendlela yokufundisa nokufunda malunga nendlela yokukhula ekubeni ngabahlohli abasebenza ngokubonakalisa. 

Ukuze ufumane imithombo yoncedo yee-Okzii zangaphambili, cofa apha​.

2023 Auxins​​

October 3, 2023
 Dr Chrischar Rock

Topic: “…but what is my mark…?”: developing pre-service teachers’ critical reflection practices

In their four-year journey of studying to become a teacher, pre-service teachers engage in a range of assessment processes and tasks across their modules of study to determine their progress in meeting module or programme outcomes. School-based practicum forms an integral part of that process with the intended purpose of developing pre-service teachers' understanding of assessment as learning and assessment for learning. To what extent are self-reflection practices encouraged so that pre-service teachers are able to develop their self-criticality? It will be argued that “although self-reflection is inward-focused, it is a habit practiced and developed interpersonally within meaningful relationships guided by intentional questions and a quest toward purposeful ends" (Costa & Garmston, 2016; Wetzel et al., 2017). With a focus on the school-based practicum, the presenter will share the impact of a reflective, and guided development conversation tool piloted with pre-service teachers and their school-based mentors. In doing so, emphasis will be placed on the role which this tool has and can play in the adaptive expertise (Hunskaar & Gudmundsdottir, 2023) of both pre-service teachers and their mentor teachers. Furthermore, the dialogue will be centered on the role and impact of guided development conversations as sustainable assessment to help pre-service teachers in their life-learning journeys of becoming a teacher. 

August 22, 2023
 Dr Hanelie Adendorff

Topic: Tools for understanding teaching

Have you ever delivered a fantastic learning experience, and still your students gape at you blankly? You are not alone. It happens to the best of lecturers. How can one make sense of why students are not making sense? In this Auxin, Dr Hanelie Adendorff will discuss legitimation code theory (LCT) as an analytical framework which gives academics entry into the discourse of scholarly teaching, learning and assessment.

July 25, 2023
 Dr Philip Southey

Topic: Modelling students’ minds – what cognitive science can teach us about teaching

“My students have finally grasped the concept!" What exactly has happened in the minds of your students? The first part of this talk will explore different cognitive models of “understanding" and how these align with different approaches to teaching, learning and assessment. In particular, I will examine the notions of “concept" and “context", “answer making" and “sensemaking", as well as the notion of “embodiment". The second part of the talk will consider the cognitive science of affective issues such as fear and uncertainty and how these might manifest in a classroom environment. For example, when asking a question of a single student in a large class, one might threaten their sense of status amongst their peers, leading to a fear response and depleted cognitive capacity to attend to the question. Given these two broad cognitive frameworks of “understanding" and “emotion", I hope to facilitate a discussion regarding how these models might relate to colleagues' experiences of best teaching practices.​

May 23, 2023
 Dr Albert Strever, Dalene Joubert

Topic: AI² x Auxin: AI-enabled learning

As AI continues to transform our world, higher education (HE) faces the challenge of redefining its purpose and equipping students with the skills necessary for an AI-enabled future. In this second AI² x Auxin session, we explore the possibilities of incorporating AI into our learning practices. 

Drawing on the perspectives of scholars such as Aoun (2017) and McKenna (2023), we consider which essential literacies and skills students need to acquire to be “robot-proof” and in service to society. With Dai, Lui & Lim’s (2023) description of ChatGPT as an ‘enabler’ in the HE environment, we propose it as a tool that can facilitate students’ self regulated learning and enhance the learning process. We follow an open yet cautious approach to the incorporation of AI in our learning context, emphasising the need to critically engage with and evaluate AI-enabled tools. 

Dr Albert Strever from the Department of AgriEconomics will demonstrate how he utilises ChatGPT for learning in his undergraduate modules. The webinar will conclude with a Q&A session, please come prepared with your questions.

April 12, 2023
 Ms Magriet de Villiers; Ms Dalene Joubert; Dr Philip Southey and Dr Hanelie Andendorff

Topic: Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education: ChatGPT and its implications for teaching, learning and assessment

We have witnessed significant advancements in AI tools over the past few weeks, including notable innovations from industry staples such as Google and Microsoft, with new AI functions soon to be incorporated into the Google Suite and Microsoft workspace. These new developments will have a profound impact on how we work, learn and live, raising important questions about the implications for HE teaching, learning, and assessment. 

In this session, we will delve deeper into the impact of AI on education. Our discussion will include:

  • A brief exploration of the history of AI and its current state of development
  • An examination of AI technologies that are currently in use, and how they have transformed the way we live, work, and interact with one another
  • A specific focus on ChatGPT, including a demonstration of its current capabilities and how we can leverage it in the SU TLA context.​

March 28, 2023
 Emeritus Professor Chrissie Boughey

Topic: Criticality and social justice

For many years now, student performance data published by the CHE in the form of the VitalStats series of cohort analyses have shown the same persistent pattern: regardless of the subjects they are studying, the qualifications for which they are enrolled and the university at which they are registered, black South Africans fare less well than their white peers in our universities. ‘Common sense’ claims that it is the quality of schooling that causes this simply do not make sense for a host of reasons. Rather, reasons to account for the learning experiences of black students in our universities have to be found, inter alia, in the ‘mismatch’ between forms of knowledge, and the practices which emerge from them, privileged inside and outside the university. The presentation makes a case for every academic teacher to think differently about the work they do if graduates are to be able to make a contribution to the social and economic development of our country.

February 21, 2023
 Dr Rhoda Malgas

Topic: The #dosomething campaign; how Conservation Ecology is fertile ground for a pedagogy of hope.

Urgent issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation rightfully and necessarily foreground the curriculum in Conservation Ecology, earning it the title of a “crisis” discipline. Inadvertently, students are consistently and frequently confronted with negative news about the state of our environment. Furthermore, facts about the problems do little to inspire hope that the very degrees they are pursuing will make any appreciable difference to global challenges in the Anthropocene. The #dosomething campaign disrupts the notion that “there is nothing we can do”. Students are tasked with addressing a pressing conservation issue they are passionate about, in their own personal capacity. Semester lecture themes and assessments are integrated with individual campaigns selected at the start of the semester through a series of learning activities. Iterative execution over five years has resulted in a teaching and learning process that has had three unexpected gains: a) students are able to connect global change at large time-scales to their own lived experiences, essentially enabling them to see themselves in the system; b) students get to know one another’s lived experiences, crossing social (racial and economic) barriers to see the perspectives of classmates they don’t otherwise socialize with, and c) while self-monitoring change over time, students learn that their individual actions can bring about change, and creative responses.

2022 Auxins​​

February 22, 2022
 Prof Dennis Francis (Sociology)

Topic: A Gay Agenda: Troubling Compulsory Heterosexuality in a South African University Classroom

SU Teaching & Learning Policy notes the social dimension of learning and points out that social context is more complex and nuanced, and potentially has a more profound effect on teaching and learning, than any individual characteristics of students or academics.  Prof Dennis's application of sociological theory and analysis illustrates how power, knowledge, and emotion feature in teaching and learning.

March 29, 2022
 Dr Carmen Brewis (Senior Interpreter, Language Centre)

Topic: Educational Interpreting as part of ‘pedagogically sound’ teaching and learning practices in a multilingual university lecture

What does the new SU Language Policy mean for your teaching? 

It provides for educational interpreting to support you in implementing its three core priorities: multilingualism, access and pedagogically sound teaching and learning.  The policy expressly recognizes that language practices are linked to how disciplines create knowledge, and that is different for each academic discipline. Within these varying contexts, lecturers must engage a multilingual mindset and work out 'what works' to optimally relate to students' language identities, and to get them to engage in the learning.

Carmen will share research on 'what works' to help lecturers and interpreters plan together to deliberately interpret the various discursive practices in their classrooms. 

April 12, 2022
 Dr Zelda Barends, Ms Agatha Lebethe (Faculty of Education) & Dr Anthea Jacobs (Advisor: Centre for Teaching & Learning)

Topic: Portfolios as a pedagogical choice for assessment as learning: insights from a teacher education programme

Much has been written about the theoretical bases of portfolios as an assessment tool. However, not much is known about the knowledge, attitudes and learnings resulting from the use of portfolios and reflection among pre-service teachers. This assessment strategyby which students learn,is also referred to as assessment as learning. We contribute to this knowledge gap by illustrating how a module in a teacher education programme used portfolios as a tool for assessment as learning and knowledge integration. In this presentation we draw on pre-service foundation phase teachers’ reflections about the value of portfolios as an assessment tool for learning to answer the following question:do portfolios promote learning through students’ engagement in reflection? 

In doing so, we aim to illustrate how we used portfolios that incorporated reflection as a tool to enhance the student’s process of thinking about learning. This deliberate choice for teaching and learning afforded us an opportunity to encourage students to think about their learning as opposed to just working for marks. We worked towards a mere disruption from the traditional view of a portfolio as a collection of artefacts to a learning portfolio where the process of learning was drawn on. Portfolios with an explicit focus on learning could bring about changes for students as they become more aware of their own learning. The construction of the learning portfolio is therefore an effective form of professional development. 

In the presentation, we will unpack the theoretical foundations related to portfolios and assessment and illustrate how this may be a link to sustainable assessment. We conclude that portfolios are indeed a useful pedagogical choice for assessment as learning.

May 24, 2022
 Dr Jean Farmer (Advisor: Centre for Teaching & Learning)

Topic: Developing theories for narratives in teaching and learning, based on an example of Black women's academic  experiences

Saying “welcome” is not enough. Being and belonging in academia is essential and exhausting for anyone in academia, even more so for those who are and feel marginalised. Higher Education Institutions should do so much more than only welcoming qualified staff, especially Black women, to academia. The “sluggish pace of change and transformation” and experiences of microaggressions in institutions is rooted in patriarchy and colonialism. The global phenomenon is that the marginalised in academia experience exhaustion not only due to workload but all the other battles they are fighting in academia. No institution would want to be guilty. There should thus be concerted efforts by institutional management to address these issues to ensure that the culture of the institution is transformed so that no-one feels marginalised or as outsiders. The change could be addressed by recognition of privilege.

July 26, 2022
 Mrs Elizabeth Moll-Willlard & Mr Jeremiah Pietersen

Topic: Creating information smart students – librarians and their hidden role in the teaching agenda at Stellenbosch University

Being able to navigate the world of information is a necessity at university level for students and staff alike – understanding how to do research, the resources that are available and being able to evaluate the resources in your own context is a skill that many need to master to be able to make it through their university degree. It is sometimes assumed that this skill is learnt as a by-product of assignments and results, but it should be highlighted that the university has a (hidden) treasure trove of expertise to teach these crucial skills: librarians. Librarians are involved at the request of lecturers to help improve students’ ability to find, understand and evaluate information, amongst other information literacy skills. These skills can equip students to excel in their studies from first year, if the faculty involve librarians. We would like to showcase how librarians have been involved in teaching within the university, and share some of the successes and skills that perhaps are not widely known to inspire more faculty to collaborate successfully with their librarians. We would also like to share these so that faculty realise they do not need to be experts in this field, and that they have support in teaching skills such as referencing, reading academic information, evaluating information and more. Through such partnerships, not only do the faculty and the library benefit from it, but the students feel more equipped to be able to navigate. To quote from the majority of students after their first session with a librarian: “Why wasn’t I taught this in first year?”

Ukukwazi ukuzula-zula kwihlabathi lolwazi kuyimfuneko kwinqanaba leyunivesithi kubafundi nabasebenzi ngokufanayo– ukuqonda indlela yokwenza uphando, izibonelelo ezifumanekayo nokukwazi ukuvavanya izibonelelo kumxholo wakho sisakhono ekufuneka abaninzi basazi ukuze bakwazi  ukuphumelela kwisidanga saseyunivesithi.  Maxa wambi kucingelwa ukuba obu buchule bufundwa njengemveliso evela kumsebenzi omiselweyo kunye neziphumo, kodwa kufuneka igxininiswe into yokuba iyunivesithi inobuncwane (obufihliweyo) bobuchule bokufundisa ezi zakhono zibalulekileyo: oonocwadi. Funda kaba​nzi apha...​

Click here to join the meeting at 12.45 on MSTeams.

August 23, 2022
 Ruth Andrews (Manager: Co-curriculum)

Topic: Flipping the Script in Teaching and Learning 

The SU Teaching & Learning Policy states that holistic development of students involves integrating the curriculum and co-curriculum. The co-curriculum fulfils a role in graduate attributes acquisition, linking graduate attributes to a competency framework for implementation through in and out-of-class learning experiences for non-degree purposes. Wide varieties of co-curricular activities are available for students’ holistic development. At SU, co-curricular learning is competency-based, to allow for the development and assessment of capabilities which articulate with the world of work, with society and social justice, and with disciplinary knowledges. This presentation covers the Co-curriculum Office’s journey from 2018 to present in developing a robust and well researched Competency Framework to further strengthen student capabilities in implementing in-and out-of-class learning experiences to facilitate the acquisition of the graduate attribute as defined by Stellenbosch University. The Co-curriculum Office received FINLO funding in 2020 towards exploring the development of competency assessment tools for use in the co-curriculum as well as the curriculum. Research (e.g. Dreyfus, Miller, Ten Cate, Van der Vleuten, McClelland, Prifti); a series of competency design workshops together with practical work has been over time to develop competency-based assessment skills and tools. This project is a South African first within an academic environment, that will achieve the full integration of curriculum & co-curriculum experiential learning with behavioural assessment rubrics in learning design.

Umgaqo-nkqubo wokuFunda nokuFundisa weYunivesithi yase-Stellenbosch (SU) uthi, uphuhliso olupheleleyo lwabafundi lubandakanya ukudibanisa ikharityhulam kunye nekharityhulam eyimfihlo. Ikharityhulam eyimfihlo izalisekisa indima ekufumaneni iimpawu zesidanga, esinxulumanisa iimpawu zesidanga kwisakhelo sobuchule sokuphunyezwa angaphakathi nangaphandle kwamava okufunda eklasini, ngeenjongo ezingezizo zesidanga. Iindidi ngeendidi zemisebenzi yekharityhulam eyimfihlo ziyafumaneka ukulungiselela uphuhliso olupheleleyo lwabafundi.  Funda kaba​nzi apha...​​​

October 4, 2022
 Viviane de Moraes Abrahão; Maria Vaquero-Diego

Topic: University Social Responsibility: The role of teachers

In recent years, the social dimension of higher education has emerged as a central concern at several institutions. The role of the university has developed beyond the production and dissemination of knowledge. Today, higher education institutions are increasingly expected to serve as an engine for social transformation and growth, meeting the individual and social needs of a world increasingly aware of its diversity (Pérez, 2009, p. 8). This change has resulted in, among others, the concept of university social responsibility (USR) – that the university, as an institution, has to contribute to the development and improvement of the community and constantly rethink its position and function in society. This is achieved by offering educational services based on the principles of ethics, social commitment and the promotion of sound values, ultimately being accountable to society. Given that the entire body of teaching staff, including university professors, are part of the engine of change, they must be aware of their role. This presentation aims to raise awareness among university teaching staff about their role as agents of social change. It discusses key aspects of USR in terms of integrating diversity both within and outside the university, and applying this to the curricula of all fields of study. 

UViviane unesidanga sedigri yeemastazi kwizifundo zoSetyenziso loLwimi lwesiNgesi noNxibelelwano lwakuMazwe ngaMazwe kwaye ufundela isidanga sobuGqirha (PhD) kwiZifundo zoKhubazeko neMfundo ePhakamileyo e-Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Eyona nto iphambili lugxile kuyo uphando lwakhe luquko lwabantu abaphila nokhubazeko ekuhlaleni, nendima yoluntu lulonke ekuqinisekiseni olo quko lunjalo. Ube ngumhlohli kwiYunivesithi yase-ESIC iminyaka eliqela kwaye uyinxalenye yeqela lophando olumalunga noquko lwabantu abaphila nokhubazeko kwiindawo zempangelo. Funda kaba​nzi apha...​​​



2021 Auxins​

February 23, 2021
 Prof Susan van Schalkwyk, Professor in Health Professions Education and Director of the Centre for Health Professions Education in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Topic: Scholarship, scholarly teaching and SoTL: implications for the ‘professoriate’.

March 23, 2021
 A/Prof Robbie Pott: Department of Process Engineering

Topic: Balancing SoTL & disciplinary research.​​

April 13, 2021
 Dr Nompilo Tshuma, Lecturer in the Department of Curriculum Studies & the Centre for Higher and Adult Education​

Topic: Towards humanising online postgraduate supervision: Reflecting on student experiences in lockdown​

May 25, 2021
 Dr Marenet Jordaan, BAHons Journalism convener, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Topic: Developing a knowledge skills module for first years.​​

July 20, 2021
 Dr Margaret Blackie, Senior Lecturer in Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science, current SU Teaching Fellow

Topic: Students' Developing Conceptions of Knowledge: Insights from a longitudinal study in Chemistry

August 24, 2021
 Dr Marianne Unger, Senior Lecturer, Division of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Topic: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts – exploration of the 4C-ID model for curriculum design

October 5, 2021
 Dr Marianne McKay, AgriSciences

Topic: Curriculum Renewal​


​​2020 Auxins​

September 22
 Prof Geo Quinot

Topic: Higher education in community – collaborative higher education, an ethic and pedagogy of care and Ubuntu.

August 25
 Salisha Maharaj and Dr Christina van der Merwe

Topic: Emergency migration to online teaching in the Covid-19 pandemic: Impact on the mental health and wellness of lecturers and other university staff.​​


28 July 2020
 Prof Karin Baatjes​

Topic: Teaching and learning in the Theory-Practice Nexus​

26 May​ 2020
 Prof Mbulungeni Madiba​

Topic: Implementing multilingualism in South African universities: dilemmas and innovations​


28 April 2020
 Dr Maricel Krügel​

Topic: Designing your teaching online

​ ​

Growth opportunities within the AUXINs

The growth opportunities includes the Auxin "Padkos"​-sessions which are held once a month (over the lunch hour) on Tuesdays. Padkos as food for the body will be provided together with “padkos” for the teaching journey.​​

During the padkos-session participants will also get the opportunity to indicate their interest in joining a focused interest group (FIG) to research a specific topic in more depth. The FIG participants can decide how and when they would like to meet and the meetings can include a variety of activities. Possible outputs of the FIG can be an action research project or the facilitation of a workshop.  A FIRLT application might flow from the interactions followed by a presentation at the annual Scholarship for Teaching and Learning Conference and publication of their findings in a academic journal. The participation in awriting retreat will further support lecturers to the point of publication and/or presentation at an external conference. Academics might also decide to take up studies in Higher Education.

See below for a graphic representation of the growth opportunities within the A​​uxins:

Final Poster.jpg 

Explanation of the metaphor

​The Num-Num tree, hardy and indigenous to the Western Cape, was chosen as metaphor for this project because we could see the links between certain of its unique characteristics and SU academics who decide they want to grow during their teaching journey. We interpret these characteristics as follows:

Evergreen: Academics who walks along the Scholarship of Teaching road, are constantly growing and is a sign of “life”.

Indigenous: Academics who focus on their teaching and the Scholarship of teaching, are not aliens. Teaching at SU is their terrain and it is where they flourish.

Hardy and adapts to a wide variety of (garden) conditions: The academic who focuses on his/her teaching role is not easily overpowered. They can make plans and can survive on strange places and under challenging circumstances.

Sweetly scented flowers: Academics that bloom in their teaching role, attract colleagues and students in the same way that sweetly scented flowers attract bees and butterflies.

Fruits are relished by humans: When the academic starts sharing his/her research on teaching at conferences and in publications, it is snatched up by colleagues.

Spines: Academics who focus on their teaching, can live up to anything or anybody.

Enduring wind, heat and salt spray: Although it might be difficult to keep yourself up against the “elements”, the SU academic who focuses on his/her teaching role keeps on growing despite a sometimes difficult path.

Will tolerate moderate drought but does better if watered regularly: Regular interaction with colleagues at CTL and other academics who share the same sentiments about their teaching, supply enough resources to survive droughts and to ensure a bumper crop in times of plenty.

Slow starter but grows quickly after the first season: It might sometimes feel as if no progress is made, but be encouraged, because after a slow start there is abundant growth!

Loves full sun: The Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL: Afr SOL) will be the sun on overcast days.

For best results plant it in composted soil and feed with a balanced organic garden fertiliser occasionally in summer: The Auxin–project aims to create these ideal circumstances for optimal growth with the Auxin-growth opportunities.​​​​



  • Auxins take place once a month during lunch time (12:45 – 13:45).
  • Venue: MSTeams, online.
    • You don't have to book or RSVP to attend.​ Just click on the MSTeams links to join us. MS Teams links will be circulated when sessions are advertised, alternatively contact Liezl Williams for the links.

  • Enquiries: 
  • Want to be sure not to miss an Auxin? Ask us to send you an invitation:
  •  williamsl@sun.ac.za
  •   021 808 3717

More about Auxin