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The work of CHERTL involves the development of academic staff as professional educators, the promotion and assurance of quality in teaching and learning, and the development of student learning in conjunction with academic departments, the latter more directly through the work of the Extended Studies Unit (ESU). In addition CHERTL also functions as an academic department of Rhodes University focused on Higher Education as a field of study and the development of teaching and learning in higher education.

The Centre conducts research on teaching and learning in higher education and offers formal programmes in Higher Education Studies contributing to the development of quality teaching and learning. The Centre is also responsible for promoting service-learning within the institution, for the administration and development of the New Generation of Academics (nGAP), for enhancing the quality of short courses and supporting tutor coordinators.

The scope of CHERTL’s work moves beyond the institution, playing an active role at national and international levels. CHERTL contributes significantly to the national higher education landscape, both through the offering of formal qualifications at other institutions as well as through representation on national bodies such as the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) and the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC).

Missions and values

The values and beliefs that inform our work in the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning are influenced by our understanding of the roles and purposes of higher education globally but also specifically in the context of a transforming South Africa where issues of social justice, equity, and redress are crucial. We are committed to interrogating the effects of the historical legacies of apartheid and colonialism on teaching and learning. Our aim, through working with academics, is to contribute to enabling both epistemological and ontological access and success for a diverse student body. In our teaching we hope to shape academics who are critically reflective practitioners who are responsive to changing contexts and able to take on the identities of scholarly university teachers alongside their disciplinary/professional identities. In doing so we disrupt common sense notions of teaching and learning; we advocate for an understanding of teaching as a scholarly activity, underpinned by powerful theoretical ideas about knowledge, curriculum, teaching and assessment.