Representatives of Durban University of Technology in South Africa recently visited Hendrix College during a two-week fact-finding trip to study assessment, general education curriculum and engaged learning at American institutions, according to a news release from Hendrix.
"We’re interested in hearing colleges share practices on general education and engaged learning," said Lesley Cooke, specialist for the South Africa university’s Centre for Quality Promotion and Assurance.
With a traditional curricular emphasis on workforce development, Durban is looking at American institutions as models for change, according to the release.
In 2011, the university launched a curriculum renewal project to broaden the educational experience of each student beyond their discipline and prepare graduates for employment and prepared them for citizenship incorporating social justice concerns, Cooke said.
Durban officials began their Hendrix visit with a student-led campus tour. With a 23,000-student enrollment — mostly from rural areas — Durban’s students have a different first contact experience, Cooke said.
Cooke and her colleague Bella Sattar, director of Durban’s quality promotion and assurance program, will also visit other institutions, including Hunter College in New York and Miami University of Ohio.
Hendrix was recommended to Cooke and Sattar by George Kuh, founding director of the National Survey of Student Engagement.
"To be recommended to these educators as a model for engaged learning and assessment really affirms the innovative work our faculty members have done," Hendrix spokesman Rob O’Connor said in email Friday. "From the development of our Odyssey Program to the redesign of several courses to include hands-on learning activities, engaged learning is part of the ethos of teaching and learning at Hendrix."