01 November 2023
Dr Muntuwenkosi Chili, the Executive Director: Centre of Academic Development (CAD) and Dr Fathima Essop Mahomed, a Senior Lecturer within the Department of Human Resource Management (HRM) at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) are the latest from the University to be awarded recognition as the Teaching Advancements at Universities (TAU) Fellows.
The two completed the recent cycle (cohort 4) of the TAU Fellowship Programme which is a twelve (eighteen)-month intensive programme that seeks to build a cadre of teaching fellows in a wide range of disciplines.
Funded through the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and endorsed by the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA), the Programme is targeted at experienced academic and professional staff who wish to extend their knowledge of teaching and learning within a supportive and collegial environment. With participants drawn from all South African universities, the Programme is a nationwide intervention which seeks to advance teaching quality and the professionalisation of teaching and learning in the public higher education sphere. It also aims to maximise participant engagement in the workspace and to promote collaboration across universities and disciplines. The TAU Fellowship Programme involves block week contact sessions, individual projects in own teaching and learning settings, group projects and reflective reports.
Dr Chili has described the accolade as one of the prestige recognitions in the sector, which signifies a high level of achievement and expertise in a particular field or area of study. He also emphasized that such recognition serves as a form of professional validation, adding that it can boost the recipient’s credibility and reputation among their peers and colleagues. “As TAU Fellows we are expected to contribute significantly to research and innovation leading to advancements in our field, which can have broader implications for society and the university’s standing. The recognition as a TAU Fellow reflects positively on the university as a whole and a clear demonstration that the institution attracts and nurtures top talent and is committed to academic excellence,” Dr Chili said.
On what this means for VUT, Dr Chili said as TAU Fellows they will have opportunities to collaborate with other distinguished individuals in their field – both within and outside the University, which he says can lead to fruitful partnerships and the exchange of ideas. “Over time we expect to have more VUT colleagues participating in the programme, a university with a significant number of TAU Fellows can enhance its global reputation, attracting international students, staff, and researchers.
According to Dr Mahomed getting the TAU Fellow Certificate is a significant testament to the art and science of teaching, not only a recognition of one’s instructional skills. She says this esteemed credential epitomises these qualities with its creative teaching approaches, intense commitment to pedagogical excellence, and unwavering focus on creating a welcoming and stimulating learning environment. “I am recognised as a trailblazer in higher education. As a holder of the TAU Fellow Certificate, I exhibit extraordinary abilities in classroom management, student evaluation, and curriculum creation. She concluded by saying that beyond the material reward, the certificate represents a teacher’s unrelenting commitment to influencing the future, providing information to pupils, and raising the next wave of leaders, thinkers, and change-makers. “It is evidence of the teacher’s never-ending quest to improve the quality of their instruction for holistic success.”
Congratulations to the two colleagues.