Department of Academic Development
The aim and purpose of this department is to facilitate the bridging between a school and/or work environment and a tertiary environment in order to meet the articulated need of our client, the South African National Defence Force, to develop and enhance student candidates’ educational potential. Although this department resides in the School for HRD, it renders services to students at under and post graduate level in all the schools, also those students enrolled in the Distance Education programme. Academic Development is directed primarily at equipping first-years with the generic skills required to fulfil their roles as students initially, and as professional officers eventually.
All potential students of the Faculty of Military Science are subject to a selection process. The results of a psychometric selection battery are taken into consideration when decisions are made about their admission to the Faculty of Military Science at the Military Academy. Against this background Academic Development strives to meet a constantly changing client need in presenting tools and strategies that would complement the challenges of mainstream academic programmes, and at the same time equip and prepare our student officers for careers of varied length and application.
Currently, this department comprises three units, namely: Academic Support Services, Educational Psychological Support Services, and Academic Language Services. The Academic Support Programme entails specific academic writing support and learning, and self organisation and management skills in the first semester. This programme is aimed at all first year students. The learning skills component focuses on processing knowledge and information, discovering personal thinking and learning styles, a variety of study methods and test and examination writing skills, while the self management and self organizing component deals with coping with stress, time and relationships – factors through research listed as impacting on academic performance. In the language support programme the focus is on improving grammar, sentence and paragraph construction and basic academic writing skills, such as sentence, paragraph and academic essay structuring and referencing techniques.
In addition to the pivotal involvement of Psychological Services during selection boards, ongoing individual and group counselling is another important responsibility of this department. A reading programme and a mentoring system for subject specific support supplement the Academic Support Programme.