On 11-12 September 2019, the HELTASA Special interest groups (SIGs) had an engaging and fruitful meeting at Birchwood Conference Centre in Johannesburg. The following SIGs were represented by their convenors and co-convenors: First Year Experience (FYE), Writing Centre (WC), Reflective Practitioner (RP), Professional Development (PD), Tutor, Mentor and SI, Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) and the Foundation. The main focus of the contact session was to determine “Where we are currently, where we intend to be by the time of conference and how we intend to engage our members at the conference?” The dialogue was held while taking into consideration the demanding nature of our everyday institutional work; as well as collaborative regional and national involvements. Again following the lead of the HELTASA Executive committee (Exec), the meeting began with an activity that focussed on the “who we are matters” when we bring our presence into a national meeting space. The active, engaging and participatory collective made valuable decisions around more regional events which could be more feasible using the online space, presenting a collaborative front at the conference, sharing events and promoting collaborations across the SIG communities, welcoming all those interested to events and those willing to get involved in any way possible with the SIG communities.

Discussions around the relevance, current form, naming of the SIGs as well as possible new SIGs continued after the theory of change critical dialogue session that was held at the conference last year. This will be the topic of discussion for the regional conversations that each SIG will be planning to host before the conference in November 2019. New possibilities will be the focus of the critical dialogue session at the conference this year.

We would like to use this opportunity to draw your attention to the first collaborative HELTASA SIG Webinar: The power of teaching and learning communities, which will be hosting within the month of October. Details to follow on the HELTASA website.

It has recently come to the Exec’s attention that, a national Writing Centre Forum is an active platform with many engaged members and to avoid competing platforms, the Exec would like to suggest merging the current Writing Centre and Reflective Practitioner SIGs, into a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) SIG. Comments with regards to this suggestion are welcome.

We encourage involvement as well as communication in the form of suggestions, thoughts and feedback to any of the SIG convenors or myself, Rieta Ganas, the HELTASA SIG Convenor and Co convenor, Rosaline Sebolao.


Francois Marais (FM) – convenor – UFS

convening university – maraisf@ufs.ac.za

Tutor Mentor SI

Subethra Pather – convenor supather@uwc.ac.za

Nelia Frade (NF) – co-convenor neliaf@uj.ac.za

Reflexive Practitioner
Prof Pieter du Toit – (PT) – convenor Pieter.duToit@up.ac.za

Technology Enhanced
Dr Nicola Pallitt – Convenor n.pallitt@ru.ac.za

Professional Development
Jo-Anne Vorster – convenor J.Vorster@ru.ac.za

Rosaline Govender – Co convenor rosalineg@dut.ac.za

Writing Centre
Puleng Sefalane – Co convenor Sefalanep@cput.ac.za

Mel Skead – Co convenor mskead@sun.ac.za

SIG Co convenor
Rosaline Sebolao – rsebolao@cut.ac.za

SIG Convenor
Rieta Ganas – Rieta.Ganas@wits.ac.za

Kasturi Behari – Leak – kasturi.behari-leak@uct.ac.za