Law faculty: Beneficial and positive

29 March 2004

Dean of Law Hugh Corder.

When allegations were made recently in the Mail & Guardian over the quality of teaching and learning in the law faculty, dean Hugh Corder was able to refer to the positive outcome of the LLB programme's first Academic Review Survey.

Associate Professor Tessa Minter from the commerce faculty chaired the formal review panel which completed its work in October last year.

Minter found the process a "very positive experience" and one which all parties viewed in a positive light.

"A huge spin-off from my perspective was it enabled me to get an overview of another faculty and to see how differently similar principles were applied. This enabled two-way sharing.

"The spirit of co-operation was evident," she continued. "We found we have more similarities than differences which is not always apparent in the greater university context."

She also felt it was a very rich experience to involve external people on the panel, something which further enhanced the spirit of collegiality.

"The common goal is a better education for students. It does us good to affirm the quality UCT supports."

Corder said the review focused only on the LLB degree, the foundational programme of the law faculty, which is complemented by a full range of courses taken by more students at the LLM level.

He said the review required an enormous amount of work by a limited number of people, which was conducted under the leadership of deputy dean Chuma Himonga. In addition, the faculty hired special administrative support for the self-review report.

"We learnt an incredible amount in the process, which was very beneficial in making us more aware of problems, where they exist as well as the strong points in what we teach and how we teach.

"I think that one of those really strong points was that our graduates are relatively universally regarded as being very well prepared for the kinds of work they do afterwards, both within and outside the legal profession, and are much sought after.

"Ultimately, I would say that we were well pleased with the constructive and very positive report which came from the independent review panel.

"In general, despite the amount of extra work we had to put in, which put huge strain on those people, it really was a constructive and beneficial exercise."

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