15 March 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin | Photo Rulanzen Martin
IAC members
The IAC from left; Dr Ivor Zwane, Reneë Beck, Gus Silber, Luhlumelo Toyana, Dr Adri van der Merwe, Nick Efstathiou, Avela Ntsongelwa, Prof Colin Chasi, HOD Communication Department, Alzane Narrain, Nomvo Bam and Dr Gustav Puth.

Building ties with industry experts provides greater prospects for bursaries, prizes for top students, as well as informal internships. This is why the Department of Communication Science at the University of the Free State (UFS) took the bold and commendable step of soliciting the expertise of an Industry Advisory Council (IAC).

“As a department we believe it is important to stay in touch with the industry to ensure that we, and the work we do, stays relevant in order to increase the chances of making our students preferred candidates in the workplace,” said Dr Adri van der Merwe, lecturer at the department.

The advisory panel consisted of Reneë Beck, founder and CEO of Pink Lemon; Nick Efstathiou, newly appointed CEO of Central Media Group; DDr Ivor Zwane, chairman of the board for Small to Medium Enterprise Development; education journalist Gus Silber; journalist Alzane Narrain; Dr Gustav Puth, Academic Director of Post-Graduate Executive Education at Monash South Africa; photographer Luhlumelo Toyana; Avela Ntsongelwa,master's student and Nomvo Bam.

The initiative also created a platform for the students to engage with IAC members. The Department hosted the IAC on 6 March 2019 on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

Advice to assist in improving curriculum

“The IAC members’ feedback will influence our curriculum, both in the short term when we begin to shift emphasis on certain matters, as well as in the longer term when we replace or expand on specific modules,” Van der Merwe said.

The advice given by IAC members will be taken very seriously. “We have captured all their input on video, and will now, in preparation for our strategic planning session later this year, analyse and prioritise the actions we need to implement their proposals.” she said. The students are also represented on the IAC in order to hear and take into consideration what the students have to say about how the curriculum can be improved to prepare them more effectively for the workplace. 

The department plan on hosting the IAC yearly.

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