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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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Humanities Teaching in Higher Education: An Enriched Experience through the Utilization of Diversity

Dr. Vollie Spies.

After the election in South Africa during 1994, the country was fortunately forced to think and respond different towards each other as human beings, which had also a huge impact on the culture of higher education. As a result of this, more opportunities were created for learners of different cultures to share their learning experiences, but immediately confronted also the lecturer in the field of humanities to think different about his/her teaching task. As lecturers at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, we took up the challenge to change our approach to teach in such a way that the learners of different cultures not only learn in a healthier environment, but also enrich each other during the learning process. The following objectives were formulated:
1. To create a learning environment with no discrimination.
2. To facilitate a process in which learners of different cultures can share their believe systems with each other.
3. To facilitate a process through which the learners can demonstrate respect and acceptance for each others belief systems.
4. To create opportunities through which learners can enrich and empower each other through the sharing of life stories from different perspectives.
5. To create new curricula for training programs which focus on diversity.
6. To support lecturers to adapt to the new approaches.

As professionals we have to share the importance of creating new approaches to higher education, which must only speak of diversity, empowerment and no discrimination. As a professional in South Africa, it will be a challenge to share the process which the Department of Social Work at the University of Pretoria facilitated to achieve the above. Because of the fact that this process is still not completed, we can share more at the conference to further this process and add to the quality of the lives of human beings on a global level.


Dr. Vollie Spies  (South Africa)
Senior Lecturer
Department of Social Work
University of Pretoria

  • Humanities
  • Higher education
  • Diversity

(60 min Workshop, English)