Health Sciences Education (HSE) focus areas



Description: Office of the Dean: Health Sciences Keywords: HSE main picture


The Division of Educational Development was established in 1982 to plan, implement and promote educational (teaching and learning) development and research in the then Faculty of Medicine at the UFS. The Division developed dynamically and concentrated on providing instructional support and guidance to the lecturers in the Faculty and facilitating the learning development of students. The changing student body and the introduction of parallel-medium instruction, as well as the whole process of curriculum review, have led to certain shifts in emphasis in the approach of the Division.

The New Division Health Sciences Education (HSE) was established in 2007 after the Division Education Development (established in 1986) and the Division Student Learning and Development (established in 1998) merged. Division Education Development was previously responsible for the development of staff in all aspects of education from personal development to post-graduate education through support and development. Division Student Learning was previously responsible for aspects related to student learning and development of students. A need was identified to be more focused and hence the two divisions merged until 2016.

The Division HSE is instrumental in educational innovation, support and development in the Faculty and plays an important role in providing necessary educational perspectives. The WHO places a high premium on units for medical education - thus the Faculty of Health Sciences of the UFS finds itself in a privileged position to have an established Division HSE that can provide support through educational inputs and facilitate education and training in the faculty over the broad spectrum.

During 2016, the Faculty Management committee made the decision to split the Division HSE into two divisions again. 

Dr Johan Bezuidenhout was appointed as Head of the Division Health Sciences Education and Dr Mpho Jama was appointed as Head of the Division Student Development and Support.  Both these Divisions still functions under the Dean’s office, but with more focused areas of expertise for the Faculty.


Why health sciences education in a faculty of health sciences?


  • Health-care education and services have changed drastically, making heavy demands on the staff and students in the Faculty of Health Sciences. To adapt to changing circumstances and still ensure quality and maintain standards, an increased focus on health sciences education has become an absolute necessity.
  • The importance of health sciences education has been emphasised at numerous conferences and in declarations of the WHO and other bodies involved in and concerned about health sciences education. Instructional training and educational development are prerequisites for success in training health care workers.
  • Shifts in emphasis in health-care services world-wide have resulted in shifts in emphasis and paradigm shifts in health care education. To act proactively and in order to react positively to emanating demands and needs, educators and trainers in health-care sciences require educational expertise. The Division strives to provide this through educational support and development programmes.
  • Changing curricula, instructional strategies and approaches, and the heavy demands health sciences education has always made on students, compel educators to pay more attention to the academic development and support of the changing student body.
  • Research into, and the organisation, implementation and assessment of academic support and development form the backbone of efforts to ensure the maintenance of academic standards in the face of the challenges of parallel-medium instruction, a changing, multi-cultural student population, growing student numbers and less funds, and the proliferation of the knowledge that medical students need to master.

Vision and Mission


Vision - Striving for excellence through continuous improvement of the quality of education and educational research in the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Mission - The Mission of the Division Health Sciences Education is to support and develop students and staff at under- and postgraduate levels by coordinating and facilitating education and educational research activities with a view to contribute to the academic success of students and the educational expertise of staff.

  • Present development/training programmes for staff.
  • Design and implement programmes and strategies to support and develop students.
  • Offer postgraduate qualifications in Health Professions Education (HPE).
  • Design and implement innovative forms of teaching, learning and assessment.
  • Support and assist staff in developing modules.
  • Participate in Community Service Learning activities.
  • Develop and register learning programmes.
  • Assist and support existing quality assurance structures in the Faculty of Health Sciences and practice quality assurance in own focus areas.
  • Conduct research in higher and health sciences education.
  • Exchange academic expertise at local, national and international forums.
  • Provide input on educational matters at the different faculty committees.

How do we achieve our goals, aims and objectives?


Promoting and enhancing educational (teaching and learning) development and support and providing educational infrastructure

We offer
  • A lecturer orientation course for newly appointed lecturers,
  • General lecturer development courses and directed enrichment courses, seminars, workshops,
  • Discussion sessions for departments according to their needs on themes and topics related to the educational goals of the Faculty,
  • Workshops/Think tanks/Seminars on relevant issues identified in the Faculty,
  • Evaluation/Assessment of specific programmes, modules and residency programmes by means of questionnaire and other surveys, and support and recommendations for re-planning aimed at improvement,
  • Educational development and support for individual lecturers, as requested as well as on a basis of identified needs,
  • Support with regard to programme development and review,
  • Support to heads of departments regarding departmental planning and management,
  • Support to dean and heads of schools in the form of academic and educational inputs aimed at promoting and enhancing Health Sciences Education,
  • Making lecturers and students aware of the possibilities and importance of continuing professional education,
  • Student support and development in general over the broad spectrum,
  • Recruiting tutors and mentors and coordinating and monitoring the tutor and mentor systems,
  • Compiling portfolios for staff development actions in departments with a view to capacity building,
  • Training health professions educators (formal HPE qualifications).

Conducting, supporting and facilitating research into Health Sciences Education


We offer:
  • The gathering of data and monitoring and evaluating/assessing educational development and support actions to determine the efficiency of reforms and adaptations,
  • Educational research in collaboration with interested departments and lecturers,
  • Support of educational research initiated and conducted in the Faculty,
  • Educational research in the Division to serve as foundation for all our activities,
  • Publication of research results,
  • Study guidance of Master’s and PhD students in the HPE programme.

Promoting and facilitating the utilisation of educational technology in the Faculty


We offer:
  • Research into and making available information on the nature and possibilities, as well as the use and meaningful incorporation, of educational technology and other media in teaching and learning,
  • Elucidation of technology and educational media during development and enrichment courses,
  • Training in the use of educational technology and media in cooperation with the Multimedia Centre.

Gaining expertise and experience and gathering information through local, national and international liaison


We offer:
  • Perspectives and information obtained through liaison with scientific associations, experts in the fields of higher and health sciences education, and health care authorities and organisations,
  • Perspectives and information obtained through attending and participation in scientific conferences with a view to professional development,
  • Perspectives and information obtained through liaison with those in the community who have an interest in health sciences education, and situation and needs analyses with regard to health sciences education,
  • Perspectives and information gained through internal liaison with dean, heads of schools, heads of departments, other members of the Faculty Board, student leaders, student groups and individual students,
  • Closer liaison with the community and the introduction of students to the community,
  • Feedback on conferences and other scientific activities, e.g. through a poster exhibition in the Division.

Providing an academic information service on educational matters


We offer:
  • Information (sources) on topics in health sciences and higher education (on request),
  • Support in obtaining sources and information regarding educational matters through liaison with libraries and other information services on campus and elsewhere and
  • Support and assistance with the processing of literature/other information sources on request of the dean, heads of schools and heads of departments.

Contact details:

Division Health Sciences Education
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of the Free State
PO Box 339

Staff profile


Central Information Office
T: +27 51 401 3739
F: +27 86 579 5154


Student Administration
Faculty Administration

Health sciences block next to contact

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