Unisa International HETL Conference 2020

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Patrick Blessinger


Dr. Patrick Blessinger, Ed.D., is the founder, executive director, and chief research scientist of the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he leads a vigorous research and publishing program in education. Dr. Blessinger is​ a​n educational​ ​policy analyst and contributing writer with UNESCO's Inclusive Policy LabUniversity World NewsThe Hechinger ReportThe GuardianHigher Education Tomorrow, among others. Dr. Blessinger is an adjunct associate professor of education at St. John's University​ ​in New York City and a math and science teacher in New York City.​ ​Dr. Blessinger is an adviser to leaders in education on a wide range of issues affecting K-12 and higher education. He resides in New York City with his wife and two cats.

During his academic career, Dr. Blessinger has taught over one hundred undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of global studies, leadership, education, and research methods, and he has held leadership positions in academia and business, including: program manager and senior lecturer at Niels Brock College in Copenhagen, Denmark, and senior analyst for MCI Communications and Hitachi Telecom in Atlanta, Georgia, among others. Dr. Blessinger earned a bachelor's degree from Auburn University in management and technology, a master's degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in management and economics, and a doctorate in educational leadership and instructional design from St. John’s University (NYC).  Dr. Blessinger has received several educational awards, including: Fulbright Senior Scholar to Denmark and Governor’s Teaching Fellow for the State of Georgia, USA.

Dr. Blessinger is known internationally for his academic innovations, international outreach, and learning community development. His theories, models, frameworks, and concepts (e.g., global higher education change modelglobal higher education engagement modelformal learning cyclegeneral organizational value modeleducational research methodology frameworkHETL organizational model) have influenced the way educators think about higher education and teaching-learning in the twenty-first century. For example, Dr. Blessinger is an internationally recognized scholar and leader in the democratization of higher education, a pioneer in the use of  interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaborative research for international educational development, and a pioneer in the application of internet-based professional social networking platforms to develop global online communities of practice for academic professional development. Dr. Blessinger has made significant contributions in educational theory, policy, and practice and he is an expert on the topics of leadership, innovation, teaching, learning, student engagement, faculty development, learning communities, and international education, and their intersections. Dr. Blessinger convenes an annual international conference on different themes related to teaching and learning and he is a contributing writer for various higher education news outlets such as The GuardianThe Chronicle, and University World News as well as scholarly blog sites such as Scholars Strategy Network and The Hechinger Report.

Dr. Blessinger is a regular keynote speaker at international conferences as well as the co-editor and co-author of many scholarly publications, including, Engaging and Retaining Students Using Cutting-Edge Technologies series, Meaning-Centered EducationInquiry-Based Learning series, and Democratizing Higher Education. A sample of his forthcoming books include, University Partnerships series, Emerging Directions in Doctoral EducationAcademic Learning Communities, Open EducationInclusive LeadershipCreative Learning, and Educational Mobility. Dr. Blessinger is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, and an international book series on teaching and learning. Dr. Blessinger is a mixed methods researcher with a special interest in leadership, teaching and learning, and meaning-making. His vision is to create sustainable and meaningful models of education that work for all by working at the nexus of theory, policy, and practice. Dr. Blessinger can be followed at https://twitter.com/drblessinger and https://www.facebook.com/drblessinger or you may connect with Dr. Blessinger at https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrickblessinger.

Prof Mandla Makhanya


Professor Mandla Stanley Makhanya was appointed Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of South Africa on 1 January 2011 and is a prominent proponent of higher education leadership and advocacy, nationally, continentally and globally, more especially as it pertains to Open, Distance and eLearning. Prof Makhanya is a past President of the International Council for Distance Education (ICDE) and is also Treasurer of the African Council for Distance Education (ACDE). Professor Makhanya is also the President of the Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL) – International Body for higher education professionals.

QUALIFICATIONS AND TRAINING


Doctor of Philosophy:

University of Pretoria

Masters Degree in Industrial Sociology:

University of KwaZulu Natal

BA (Honours) in Sociology:

University of Fort Hare

BA Degree in Sociology:

University of Fort Hare

Post Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education:

University of South Africa

Advanced Management Program (AMP):

Harvard Business School

HONORARY

Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa): University of Athabasca, Canada. In recognition of outstanding leadership at Unisa and sustained contribution as a distinguished scholar in distance education.

Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa), Thomas Edison State University, USA

SCHOLARSHIP AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Despite his busy schedule, Professor Makhanya maintains active scholarship through regular publications in accredited journals. He serves on the advisory board of JRODel (Journal of Research in Open, Distance and e-Learning). In addition, he is a Referee for the National Research Foundation (NRF), specialising in refereeing applications for funding, grants and postgraduate scholarships (Sociology, Development Studies, Business Administration and Social Work), and he is an external examiner for the University of Fort Hare, the University of North West and the University of Johannesburg. He is also a trainer for trainers of adult basic education. As a sociologist he is occasionally invited by the media to provide analyses of various political and sociocultural issues

Professor Makhanya is a Deputy Chairperson of the South African National Commission for UNESCO and Chairperson of the Culture Sector of the South African National Commission for UNESCO. He was a past member of the National Committee of the Memory of the World (MoW), and in the 1990s he served in various leadership roles in the South African Sociological Association, including as its Deputy President in 1998, for a period of two years. He continues to be a member of the South African Sociological Association (SASA) and the International Association of Sociology (ISA).

Prof Makhanya is married to Mandu Makhanya and they are blessed with four children.

Dr Enakshi Sengupta


Enakshi Sengupta, Ph.D. serves as Associate Director of HETL and is responsible for the advancement of HETL in Asia, Middle East and Africa. The associate director works closely with the executive director to fulfil the mission of HETL. Dr Sengupta is also the Director of the Center for Advanced Research in Education (CARE), Associate Series Editor of the book series, Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Emerald Group Publishing. She is the Managing Editor of the Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Emerald Publishing, and serves as the Vice Chair of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning book series, Emerald Publishing. Dr. Sengupta is Senior Manager of the Research, Methodology, and Statistics in the Social Sciences forums on LinkedIn and Facebook responsible for managing all aspects of those forums. Dr. Sengupta is a Ph.D. holder from the University of Nottingham in research in higher education, prior to which she completed her MBA with merit from the University of Nottingham and Master’s degree in English Literature from the Calcutta University, India. Dr. Sengupta has previously held leadership positions in higher education institutions.

Prof Taisir Subhi Yamin


Professor Taisir Subhi Yamin has more than 30 years of experience specifically in the area of gifted education. He is currently General Director at The International Centre for Innovation in Education (Germany). He holds a Ph.D. in Gifted Education from Lancaster University (UK) and a post-doctoral qualification from the University of Connecticut (United States). Professor Yamin has received several academic prizes and fellowships from the United States, UK and Jordan. He received the Harry Passow Award for International Leadership in Gifted Education; the International Scholar Award from Professor Taisir Subhi Yamin has more than 30 years of experience specifically in the area of gifted education. He is currently General Director at The International Centre for Innovation in Education (Germany). He holds a Ph.D. in Gifted Education from Lancaster University (UK) and a post-doctoral qualification from the University of Connecticut (United States). Professor Yamin has received several academic prizes and fellowships from the United States, UK and Jordan. He received the Harry Passow Award for International Leadership in Gifted Education; the International Scholar Award from the University of Winnipeg (Canada); a Fulbright Award from the United States in 1996; and the British Council scholarship. In 2005 he was named editor-in-chief of the international journal in gifted education: “Gifted and Talented International”. He was President of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (United States). He is also the National Chancellor and Vice President of the International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP), as well as being an active member of professional institutions that include the British Educational Research Association (BERA) and the European Council for High Ability (ECHA).

Scope of Expertise: Field of Science Popularization, Developing Productive Thinking Skills (Creative thinking, critical thinking, creative problem solving, and future problem solving).

Primary Country of Work: Germany

Last modified: 2019/12/06