The organising committee is pleased to introduce the HELTASA 2020 keynote speakers.
Professor Elelwani Ramugondo is Deputy Dean for Postgraduate Education at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town (UCT). She obtained both her undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications from UCT. As a newly qualified occupational therapist, she established the first Occupational Therapy Department at Tshilidzini Special School, Limpopo Province, South Africa. She returned to UCT as an academic in 1998, having served as an occupational therapist in rural South Africa and the United States of America.
Professor Ramugondo’s work at UCT over the past twenty-one years has focused on leading with integrity, recognising this to be pivotal in advancing transformation and excellence as interdependent and interlinked concepts. As Head of Division for Occupational Therapy, she led a division which became the most diverse occupational therapy program both nationally and internationally in terms of its staff and students. During this time, she also spearheaded curriculum transformation of the Occupational Therapy Undergraduate Programme. This process aimed for a graduate profile that is responsive to the local context while globally competitive.
She has convened courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and introduced critical decolonial pedagogical practices in teaching and research. Her approach to teaching and convening postgraduate courses has received international recognition, leading to numerous invitations to lead symposia for postgraduate students and faculty in the United Kingdom and South America. Here at home, she is often invited to give keynote addresses on transforming higher education or decolonising the academy. She has supervised to completion 17 honours-equivalent research projects, 12 Masters dissertations and six PhD theses.
She was appointed Special Advisor on Transformation to the Vice Chancellor in 2015, and later became a member of the Strategic Executive Task Team (SETT), during one of the most tumultuous times in the university’s history. In these roles she participated in complex, highly charged, faculty-based and institution-wide initiatives. Her ability to engage with very diverse constituencies around issues that are strongly contested within the university led to Professor Ramugondo’s nomination to be part of the university-wide Curriculum Change Working Group (CCWG) in 2016, and later to serve as co-chair. As co-chair of the CCWG, she was instrumental in crafting the UCT Curriculum Change Framework (CCF) which was released to the public in June 2018. Professor Ramugondo is the current Chair of the Academic Freedom Committee, which has hosted four successful TB Davie lectures, and managed to bring back esteemed public intellectual Professor Mahmood Mamdani to give a lecture at UCT.