CCMS Connects With Students at Year End Gathering
The year-end gathering of the Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS) within the School of Applied Human Sciences was hosted by academic duo Professor Keyan Tomaselli and Professor Ruth Teer-Tomaselli at their home.
Speaking about the braai, Tomaselli said the global success of the CCMS was due to a number of factors: collegiality, partnership, teamwork and most of all, making everyone including students feel part of a mission, a vision and a learning team that involves both staff and students.
‘We usually organise one or two such get-togethers annually and student responses are overwhelming. They feel that they are taken seriously by their lecturers as individuals; they interact with their lecturers in a different informal setting and come to understand that study is also a socialisation process.
‘It’s not just about classrooms, exams, and certificates. It’s about relationships, partnerships and mutual goals. CCMS is hospitable, hardworking and creative in a world that is often alienating. We learn as much from our students as they might learn from us. For us, this is critical pedagogy in practice,’ said Tomaselli.
Masters student at CCMS, Ms Phiwe Nota, said: ‘Initially, when I heard that we were going to have a braai at my Professor’s house for our end-of-year function, I was somewhat sceptical. I thought it would be the typical “academic get –together” where we arrive, eat and rush off. But it was a lovely evening filled with laughter as students revealed their initial terror of their lecturers. I enjoyed the warm atmosphere and sharing of past moments on field trips to the Kalahari.’
Nota believes that socialising outside of the “university context” builds trust, friendship and a sense of “belonging”. ‘I really got to know my peers better and more importantly I got to have fun with people I normally just discuss work with. There is no doubt in my mind that I did not make a mistake in enrolling for my honours and masters at CCMS.’
‘I have seen how dedicated, loyal and true lecturers are to their students. More importantly I saw a level of support I never thought I would encounter at university. Last year when my mom passed away, I wanted to give up and stop studying but my lecturers supported me in a tremendous way. They encouraged me to carry on. I didn’t think I could do it but they told me I could. I would like to extend my gratitude to them.’
CCMS graduate and researcher Ms Varona Sathiyah said: ‘This social event was just one among numerous other such field trips, book launches and conferences that CCMS students are included in. As a Centre, it takes pride in the mentorship ethos that helps to socialise the students on a holistic level not just as emergent scholars but as individuals. It fosters a sense of collective progress. Collaboration is a cornerstone of what we do. So yes, the braai itself was awesome but it was a reflection of a larger teaching process.’
Graduate Ms Tasmin Paul expressed her gratitude to the CCMS staff: ‘The Tomaselli’s kindly opened up their home to all our students’ for an afternoon of good social fun. Professor Ruth Teer-Tomaselli made delicious salads and a mouth-watering chocolate mousse.’