Each team came from a different African university and the total number of academics who successfully finished the course was over 120. The teams varied in size, but in some cases up to eight "new" academics - academics who had never personally participated in a Tuning Africa general meetings - had been led by their team coordinator through the whole process of identifying Generic and Subject-Specific competences a graduate of their programme should have, formulating learning outcomes for their courses, and together (re)designing at least one university course to fully contribute towards the agreed graduate profile. Twenty of these teams enrolled in the Tuning Staff Development Course no 2: Practical Assessment for Learning, which they are expected to complete before the next general meeting.
At the same time as launching the Course no 2 for eligible teams from the five original Subject Area Groups (SAGs), the second African edition of Course no 1 was open for teams from the Applied Geology, Economics, and Higher Education Management SAGs. Fifteen teams enrolled in the French language version of the course, and further twelve teams in the English language version. Certain teams from the original SAGs used this opportunity to return to the course, and one of the original SAGs universities enrolled a second team in order to further increase the number of academics who can help introduce the new type of degrees and courses.
In line with the empowerment aim of the Tuning Africa Staff Development strategy, this second edition of Course no 1 is tutored by African academics. The tutors come from the teams who completed the first edition of this course and were particularly successful in reaching all the course intended learning outcomes. Both tutor teams, supported by the Tuning Academy, selected different approaches to addressing the task. The three English-speaking tutors work as a team and meet regularly to discuss the responses received and agree on the feedback to be given. The three French-speaking tutors work individually, each of them accompanying a certain number of teams. This step is not without challenges for the tutors, the course participants and the Tuning Academy. Yet, it is crucial if we take the empowerment goal seriously.
The other major development of this academic year has been the work on staff development workshops, which members of the original SAGs started during the Third General Meeting, focussed on during the Fourth General Meeting. The workshop format, which is flexible and permits to address unique needs of a particular institution or target group in a timely manner, was chosen to further contribute to the capacity building task, essential for the (re)designed degrees to be indeed implemented.
Sustainable capacity building, be it at the level of a department or the whole university, is possible only if there are persons capable of identifying the needs of the academics and addressing these appropriately and efficiently. With these considerations in mind, project participants were invited to conduct a consultation on the strengths and needs of their institutions in terms of staff development and to develop a concrete proposal of interest to their colleagues, following the Tuning Staff Development Workshop Design Guidelines.
To further support project participant in this endeavour, the Fourth General Meeting was dedicated to going through the workshop design process together, step by step. Working in small, interdisciplinary teams united by common interest and language, participants designed, presented and peer-reviewed workshop proposals on Curriculum Design, Formulation of Intended Learning Outcomes, Student Workload and Credits, and Assessment - the four broad topics which were most frequently cited in the institutional staff development needs reports. Following on the insights gained thanks to discussions with colleagues and facilitators, participants are currently revising their initial workshop proposals and then, after one more peer-review stage, will pilot their workshops.
Already during the Fourth General Meeting it became clear that other teams' designs were seen as valuable sources of ideas. All the posters produced were, thus, photographed to be made available to all the participants. The final versions of workshop plans (with clearly stated aims, target group characteristics, descriptions and timings of all the activities, as well as recommendations for facilitators) can, therefore, be expected to constitute a highly instrumental collection of ready-to-use resources for any academic and staff developer. The intention is to make these available not only for project participants and their institutions, but to all African and non-African universities and institutions involved in academic staff development all over the world.