The early period of academics' lives at university are often difficult. They start teaching for the first time, are unfamiliar with the administrative routines of the institution and struggle to fit research activities into their busy days. Various staff development induction initiatives attempt to limit the instability experienced by the lecturers. In this article, I describe a model which places this staff development within the department in which the new lecturer works. To give life to the model I report on a study which investigated the
early socialisation of a first-year lecturer. The behavioural patterns he exhibited as an academic during this period form the basis of the model I propose.
The use of teams or quality circles is a relatively new approach to quality improvement in higher education in South Africa. This article describes some of the advantages in using the approach and some of the pitfalls that need to be considered. The debate of the "quality circle life cycle'', which culminates in the demise of the tool is addressed. While quality circles in the traditional production environment are likely to self destruct in the long term, by modifying their nature, function and form in an academic environment they can still make a valuable contribution not only to quality improvement, but also staff moral and job satisfaction.
In this article the challenge of developing teachers able to equip themselves and their learners with knowledge, skills and, especially, values and attitudes is considered. The need for a reconceptualisation of teacher education is emphasised and an authentic learning approach employing educational drama strategies is proposed. The scenarios of two learning tasks are
described and analysed in detail to indicate the strategies, techniques and tools used. The authentic learning which ensues is discussed and the cross-curricular, integrative and holistic nature of this approach is shown. Suggestions for an education programme for teachers who would facilitate this approach to learning are shortly discussed and diagrammatically presented. The competencies pursued in this programme issue from the integrated development of knowledge, skills, the self and the imagination of the facilitators.
This article proposes eight broad criteria for assessing learning material for distance education institutions such as the University of South Africa (Unisa) where learning material in print format is the main teaching method. To this end, the article analyses and evaluates the major trends in the international and national fields of learning and appraises the main elements of a typical learner profile. The criteria have implications for, inter alia, the accessibility and relevancy of learning material, the language of tuition, the
intended outcomes of the learning process, the responsiveness of learning material to societal interests and needs, the quality of learning, race and gender issues, and assessment strategies.