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BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH INTERESTS
My career in Work Integrated Learning (WIL) started during 1996 at the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) in Bloemfontein, South Africa when I was appointed as Coordinator: WIL at CUT. It provided the ideal opportunity to be involved with my main interests, namely Education and Economics, and to build on my qualifications already obtained in these fields which were an Honours degree in Economics and Higher Education Diploma at the time. My involvement with WIL included extensive liaison with commerce, industry and the public sector (ever since) as well as to develop and implement WIL programmes at CUT in various faculties.
I was appointed as WIL Director during 2003 (to date) and have subsequently obtained a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Studies (cum laude and Dean’s medal for the best Master’s degree student) that included Higher Education Systems, Transformation and Policy Analysis; Leadership and Management in Higher Education; Community Service-Learning; Learning Facilitation and Assessment; Student Learning and Development as well as a Mini-dissertation focussing on the role of WIL and Service-Learning in achieving Critical Crossfield Outcomes. This was followed by a doctoral degree at CUT during 2015 for which I have developed a strategy to optimise the contribution of WIL towards the employability of students of CUT. In this position I am responsible for WIL strategy and policy, promotion and engagement of research regarding WIL, skills development and graduate employability as well as to establish and strengthen strategic alliances with industry, business, government, and international partners.
My research interests are focused on WIL and how it relates to student and economic development, internationalization of higher education, sustainable and mutually beneficial partnership development to address local and international needs, curriculum development and strategy.
I have 24 years of national and international WIL experience that includes supervision at Master’s and PhD level as well as extensive research experience regarding Work Integrated Learning strategy formulation, implementation and management in Southern Africa, UK, USA, Canada, Japan, Malaysia and Europe. My experience in this field has led to me holding the following positions:
Member of the Universities South Africa World of Work Strategy Group
National facilitator for Universities South Africa to find solutions for WIL resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic
Work Integrated Learning Research Leader for South African Universities of Technology with the Technological Higher Education Association in Ireland.
Chairperson of the South African Technology Network Work Integrated Learning task team
Scientific committee member for the annual International Education and New Developments Conference
Senior reviewer for international education conferences of the International Academic Forum
Chairperson of the WIL & Skills Development committee of the Central University of Technology, Free State
Jacobs, H.S. and Teise. V.N. (2014) The Roles of Work-Integrated Learning in Achieving Critical Cross-Field Outcomes in a Hospitality Management Programme. Journal for New Generation Sciences (JNGS) (12)1:89-102.
Jacobs. H. (2015) Determining best practice from graduate employability: a work integrated learning case study in hospitality management. The African Journal for Work-Based Learning 2015(3)1:41-54.
Jacobs, H. & Dzansi, D.Y. (2015) Finding a Work-integrated Learning Strategy that Enhances the Employability of Graduates of South African Universities of Technology: A Research Agenda. Journal of Economics (6)2:102-109.
Jacobs, H. (2015) Teaching for employability: key concepts and best practice principles. END 2015: International conference on education and new developments, Porto, Portugal, 27-29 June 2015.
Jacobs, H. & Strydom, A. (2018) An Institutional Strategy Template to Optimally Enhance the Employability of Students through Work Integrated Learning. END 2018: International conference on education and new developments, Budapest, Hungary, 23-25 June 2018.