UFH Lecturers bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application
Understanding that to keep up with today's ever-evolving educational environment, the integration of real-world experience into academia becomes an essential element of effective learning, University of Fort Hare (UFH) Lecturers have gone a step further to ensure that their students are kept abreast.
Ms Noluthando Mbangeleli and Ms Mari Ford who are Business Management Lecturers in the Faculty of Management and Commerce recently held a guest lecture for their Honours Students.
According to Mbangeleli and Ford, guest lecturing and work-integrated learning have emerged as dynamic strategies for bridging the theoretical knowledge-practical application gap, providing students with invaluable insights and skills.
“Inviting industry experts to speak as guest lecturers enriches the academic experience by providing students with direct access to professionals who endured challenges in their respective fields. These experts bring to the classroom real-world case studies, hands-on anecdotes, and innovative knowledge. These interactions encourage a collaborative atmosphere for learning and encourage students to think outside the box and consider their roles in a wider context,” they stated.
The session was held on the Alice campus where Prof Graeme Bradley, the current Dean of the Faculty of Science and Agriculture gave the lecture. “Prof Bradley is not only a scientist but is known for his ability to transform visionary concepts into real-world outcomes. He has a rich portfolio of academic and research successes under his belt. He is also passionate about quality assurance and recirculation and therefore was seconded to the Planning and Quality Assurance Unit at UFH as the Acting Director from 2020 to 2021. He also chaired the UFH Strategic Plan 2022-2026 steering committee, which drove the development of the new Strategic Plan, “Towards a Decade of Renewal”.
The Advanced Strategic Management Honours Class hosted a compelling session with Prof Bradley that explored the analyses of the internal/external environment, developing a strategy; and then implementation of the UFH "Decade of Renewal" strategy (2022 – 2026).
The lecture kicked off with a thought-provoking icebreaker, where the students were asked to do a “SWOT” analysis of UFH by answering the following questions:
SWOT ANALYSIS SIMPLIFIED
- What do you like about the University of Fort Hare (Strengths)?
- What don’t you like about the University of Fort Hare (Weakness)?
- What is unique about UFH?
- What do other universities offer that UFH doesn’t offer (Threats)?
Prof Bradley presented the analyses of the internal/external environment by going through the history of UFH, exploring the factors in the external environment that influence/affect Higher Education, the placement of UFH within the Higher Education Sector, Legislative mandates relevant to Higher Education, the VC’s vision for Decade of Renewal for UFH (opening speech in 2020), SWOT analysis and Pestle analysis.
He then explained the processes used by the steering committee/EMT to develop the Strategic plan through an extensive consultative process. This included identifying the core values of the University, followed by the development of the Vision and Mission Statement, which are central pillars that underpin all areas of the strategic plan. Prof Bradley then explained the development of the Institutional Goals, the linked Strategic Goals, and finally the Key Performance Indicators.
He concluded the lecture by explaining how the Strategic Plan was implemented through the use of the Annual Performance Plan, the Institutional Operational Plan, the Faculty/Unit Operational Plans, and finally the Individual Performance Plan, and therefore how each staff member at UFH contributes to achieving the Institutional Goals of the UFH Strategic Plan, “A decade of Renewal” 2022-2026.
According to the lecturers, the engagement sparked a lively debate among students, who gained new perspectives on the interface of crafting and executing an organization’s strategy using different analytical tools.