During the last week of August, 2010, Clayton State University hosted a visiting delegation from North-West University in South Africa (http://www.nwu.ac.za/nwu/index.htm
The delegation was led by led by Dr. M. Ngoato Takalo, vice principal and executive director: Teaching & Learning, North-West University. Accompanying Takalo were senior officials from each of North-West’s three principal campuses, located in Potchefstroom, Mmbatho and Vanderbijlpark, South Africa.
Dr. Brian Haynes, Clayton State vice president for Student Affairs, had previously met Takalo some months ago at an academic conference. They subsequently maintained their contact, ultimately resulting in the visit to Clayton State. Representing Clayton State during the visit were; Haynes, Interim VP of Enrollment Management Dr. Mark Daddona, Professor Dr. Victoria Pasley, Professor Dr. LaJuan Simpson, Director of International Programs John Parkerson, and Assistant to the Director of International Programs Cele Blair.
According to Parkerson, the delegation seemed particularly impressed by Clayton State’s distance learning, instructional development and information technology programs. Among the topics generally discussed were:
* undergraduate teaching (strategies, research undertaken, etc)
* general student experience (both under- and post- graduate)
* faculty development
* academic development and support
* issues relating to student and faculty retention
* academic planning including research related matters
* how American universities deal with the scholarship of teaching/learning
* research into student experience and student affairs in general
“These kinds of discussions are key contributors to our growing understanding at Clayton State of international educational practices,” says Parkerson. “They also help our university to build strategic relationships with higher education institutions throughout the world and often lead, ultimately, to collaborative partnerships for faculty and student exchanges, study abroad opportunities, and research collaborations.
“South Africa constitutes one of the most rapidly growing economies in the developing world, together with a vibrant culture and an extremely important historical and political legacy. It is a critical element in Clayton State’s international educational program, and Clayton State this year is organizing a three-week summer study abroad program to South Africa in which students may take courses in African history and politics.”