is crucial across NWU
The workshops assist staff members to articulate a shared vision and to design processes.
Support staff discuss one of the processes that is important in their daily tasks. Attending the payroll workshop on 22 May are from left Roald van den Berg, Leah Lakay, Karen Coertzen, Siphiwe Majola, Nadia Botha, Mariana Strydom and Navin Lalsab.
Quality has always been important at the NWU, but has gained fresh momentum since the restructuring of the university as a unitary institution, highlighting the importance of alignment.
This is one of the goals of a series of workshops hosted by the Quality Enhancement Office for support departments across the NWU’s three campuses.
Eight workshops have already been held since May 2018 and more than 100 support staff have already attended. The latest workshop was held on 22 and 23 May 2019 and more are planned for the future.
“Alignment is one of the biggest issues and needs of departments,” says Johanna Müller, quality manager for support services.
“The purpose of these workshops is to assist departments to align according to the NWU’s new unitary structure across the campuses. Processes and quality assurance are at the centre of this.”
Tailor-made for each department
She says what makes these workshops especially valuable is that they are hands-on and tailored to the quality assurance processes that apply to each department.
Johan Erasmus, quality coordinator for quality enhancement, says staff have the opportunity to practice how to design processes. “We take them through various phases – from decision-making to drafting a report.”
Ensuring a smooth transition
There are two-day and four-day workshops, both designed to ensure an effective, aligned work environment.
“With each workshop we aim to develop a roadmap that addresses the needs of each department. This helps staff to document key issues such as strategy, purpose, roles, processes and risk management in a comprehensive manual,” Johanna says.
“It assists them to make a smooth transition when one campus is being aligned with another.”
Facilitators understand needs
The facilitators are respected staff members Corneels Schabort and GP van Rheede van Oudtshoorn, whose presentation skills and styles have received positive feedback from staff attending the workshops, Johanna says.
“Their expertise as an academic and marketer respectively illustrates how support staff and academics can work effectively together to ensure quality enhancement.”
She says the commitment of management has been an important success factor.
“We are especially grateful for the support of Prof Linda du Plessis, who is very positive towards this new approach of quality enhancement. Her support helps us drive this initiative that ultimately empowers staff.”
Support departments that have already taken part in the workshops include the Career Centre, Higher Degree Administration, Research Support, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, and Information Technology.
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