In 2020, HELTASA saw many universities and its members contending with the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. This prompted us to rethink our organisation’s purpose and actions. The time for change is upon us and we have embraced it with open arms, integrity and respect. Through its activities in 2020, as well as its involvement with stakeholder activities with the Department of Higher Education and Training and the NCC, HELTASA has endeavoured to be responsive to challenges, as well as resilient and relevant in times of crisis, especially when teaching and learning is concerned.
With preparations underway for our annual conference, the new project teams have been hard at work preparing. These teams are part of HELTASA’s commitment to stay Relevant, Responsive and Resilient. The R, R and R process has reconceptualised the roles and responsibilities of HELTASA’s executive functions to maximise each one’s potential.
What does this mean for the organisation?
Relevance requires teams and champions who are well-read, well-versed and who understand the context well, to be able to offer thoughts, ideas, programmes and interventions that speak to members’ needs in the sector. While Higher Education remains disparate and uneven, as a result of its legacy, HELTASA can establish itself as an entity that understands the local, continental and global context but is not defined by the challenges. The restructuring process has seen the steering body of the organisation expand to increase its capacity and capability to lead and support the transformation and strengthening of the sector.
To be responsive, the organisation needed to strengthen its capacity to respond timeously and promptly to events and occurrences as they unfold. This is especially critical in times of crisis, but also as part of ongoing contributions to extending the scope and register of teaching and learning in the global South.
To achieve responsiveness, specific roles need to be identified to serve specific needs of our members and organisation, and each of these roles must attract and recruit practitioners with commensurate experience.
To be resilient, the organisation needs to have clear leadership and direction, as well as a solid infrastructure that allows it to deliver on its mandate. This includes financial, administrative, research, and practitioner-based interventions.
To get there, each part of the whole must understand the vision and mission of the organisation, what it aims to achieve in the sector and what its responsibilities are to its members.
The project teams
To ensure that each member of the organisation has the capacity to adequately undertake the responsibilities of their sector within the new structure, the organisation consists of these two sets of teams:
- The Strategic Project Team
- The Scholarly Project Team
Project Teams consist of a Programme Manager who will co-ordinate and manage the team’s discussions, decisions and actions to ensure the best possible outcomes. The Project Manager will represent the team on the Co-ordinating Council.
The Project Team will also consist of a strategist, scholarly practitioner and scholarly researcher who will rotate these roles to build capacity amongst all leading members.
The Strategic Project Team
This team consists of three projects teams that will focus on:
- Recruitment and Membership
- Media and Communication
- Conference and Events
This will ensure that these sectors of HELTASA receive the strategic attention they deserve and enable the smooth operation of the Scholarly Project Teams.
The Scholarly Project Team
This team consist of seven Project Teams:
- PhD Programme
- Professional Learning
- Student Learning
- Programme Development
- National Teaching Awards
- AD directors Special Interest Group (SIG)
- National Interest Group (NIG) that will focus on Decolonisation.
These teams will engage with membership on matters that will contribute to teaching and learning scholarship within Higher Education. The Professional Learning, Student Learning and Programme Development project teams will consist of the relevant collaborative learning communities (CLCs).