Reflections from implementing a faculty strategy for academic professional learning during a global pandemic

Krull, Greig
De Klerk, Danie
MacAlister, Fiona
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HELTASA (Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa)
Joining a new institution is challenging; doing so eight weeks before the advent of a pandemic was extremely challenging. Two new online learning specialists, together with the support of their manager, in a faculty’s Teaching and Learning Centre at a South African university, reflect upon personal experiences that highlight the challenges and accordance of supporting professional learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. The two online learning specialists had to establish personal relationships with each other, their manager and the broader institutional community, in addition to building networks with the academics they needed to support. The faculty team had to work with the central support unit, as well as with faculty teams in other faculties to support academics in their transition to remote teaching and learning. Adopting an ethic of care philosophy, the team conceptualised and implemented various professional learning interventions for academics, while they themselves grew accustomed to the faculty and institution. In a short space of time, many academics in the faculty and institution looked at the team for advice, guidance and reassurance. Fortuitously, the period enabled the team to form/join support networks and communities of practice, both within the faculty and the institution. These experiences laid the foundation for a faculty support strategy for the future, and the design of short courses to further support the professional learning of academics and their capacity to develop and implement pedagogically sound blended and online offerings.
Krull, G., de Klerk, D., & MacAlister, F. (2022). Reflections from implementing a faculty strategy for academic professional learning during a global pandemic. In R. Govender & A. H. M. Jacobs (Eds.) Critical Reflections on Professional Learning During Covid-19: Context, Practice and Change. HELTASA. 78-92.