About Humanities CTU

Rapid technology changes have resulted in drastic changes to teaching methods, tools and environment, the teaching methods in specific department in the Humanities Faculty at UCT have been forced to transform accordingly. This has led to departments facing the following challenges:

  • Departments had to set up their specialised computer laboratories,
  • Departments had to employ Information Technology (IT) staff and integrate technology in their curriculum, and that required highly specialised skills and equipment,
  • Departments and staff had to adopt new courses, teaching methods, teaching spaces, and technical environments.

In order to cater for a departments' IT needs, from basic provisioning of a desktop computer to more sophisticated requirements, a unit with diverse, highly skilled IT staff is essential. The Humanities Central Technology Unit, re-established in 2009, is focused on centralising Information Technology in the whole faculty. Centralisation allows one point of reference for any technology request or query. The Unit does not only look at individual staff IT needs, but also services departmental IT needs and the integration of technology in various disciplines. The plans and budget for all the technology-related demands in the Faculty is managed through this central unit. 

There are many benefits of centralisation e.g., there is now more control and transparency regarding IT needs of the Faculty, and one reference point allows the Faculty Executive to have holistic feedback in respect of technology developments in the Faculty. The reconstitution of the team in 2009 has had many strongly positive outcomes, with team spirit built on mutual understanding of expectations and reporting lines. One example is the amassing of multiple large orders for equipment, across sections that were formerly serviced by separate teams, allowing for better negotiating power with vendors, and leading to significant savings on budgets in many instances e.g. the 40% discount on Macintosh Computer purchases in 2009 when three Laboratories from different departments were upgraded at the same time under one purchase order. Projects in various departments have been distributed to the entire team, eradicating the previous problem where incumbents were completely on their own and could not take leave and share their workload, nor advise/assist one another. Initiating projects and working together has promoted not only transparency in project work, but has also led to knowledge sharing within the team. An example is the setting up of the language technology centre, which was a team project, drawing expertise from the various members of the team. This did not only result in a state-of-the-art facility, but in huge savings - as ideas and solutions were shared, resulting in a reduction of costs and in minimising the potential risks.

The Faculty has invested millions of Rands worth of IT equipment, and runs state-of-the-art teaching facilities in some departments, hence it needs proper custodianship over this investment, and the right people to give the necessary strategic advice with regard to technology.

This is the sole mandate of CTU.