Education is the centerpiece of the mission of African Christian College. The work of lecturers are central to accomplishing our God-given mission and vision. Even when only visiting for one course, you are equipping Africa’s future leaders.
This guide provides essential information and guidance for lecturers in preparing and carrying out this most important task. We’ll use videos, written explanations, and links to share these details.
About African Christian College
African Christian College exists to glorify God by equipping African women and men for excellent service in God’s kingdom. That’s our mission. We are an institution of higher learning that grants accredited, undergraduate degrees.
We were one of only three, private higher learning institutions granted full recognition by the ESwatini Higher Education Council (ESHEC) in its first year of operation in 2017. Though not final, our programme has been recommended for full accreditation by the Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA). As such, we are held to the highest academic standards – on par with international standards in higher education so our students’ credits and degrees can be recognized in any academic setting.
Meeting the standards of accreditation is important to our mission. Though the bar is high, it is worthwhile. We can only allow faculty who have completed an academic level beyond our own bachelor’s degree. Our courses must be academically rigorous and fit into an overall curriculum worthy of an accredited degree.
Our students must meet university qualifications for admission and should be expected to perform at an undergraduate academic level. If you set the bar high, they will rise to the occasion. Set it low and they’ll help you push it lower. If you’re coming to teach a course with us, know that you are coming to teach qualified, undergraduate students. It’s not an extended seminar, workshop, or presentation.
Our Board of Trustees has identified five essential outcomes in order to successfully accomplish our mission. The following Ends Policy outlines those five qualities:
African Christian College produces graduates who demonstrate academic excellence, Christian character, servant leadership, global awareness, and a capacity to maintain themselves without outside financial aid. All this is done for the glory of God, at a cost that demonstrates effective stewardship of the resources provided by God.African Christian College Board Policy 1.0, Ends
We believe that providing a Christian education for the whole person — not just head knowledge, but personal transformation and orientation toward Christ — is the best way to equip the right leaders for Africa’s future. Our Educational Objectives are consistent with our Ends.
Our graduates will . . .
- Assign God priority in all aspects of life: mind, heart, and service
- Consistently behave as an ethical, honest, and loving Christian
- Know the Bible and how to use it effectively for building up the church
- Communicate clearly and effectively with both written and spoken word
- Use critical thinking skills to make effective, strategic decisions
- Skillfully utilise technology for good
- Lead individuals and communities, with the heart of one dedicated to service and bravery in the face of hard work and opposition
- Dedicate themselves as a faithful and loving spouse and parent
- Eagerly seek to continue learning, growing, adapting, and serving
We offer a Bachelor of Theology degree in which all students get a strong foundation in the Bible, ministry, and theology (20 courses). They also study other general courses we believe will help them be the leaders Africa needs (9 courses). After completing their first year, students select which major, or area of specialisation, they want to study (10 courses within major).
The Bible & Ministry major is ideal for students desiring to work full-time with a congregation as a minister or evangelist. Engaged in biblical and theological enquiry, graduates are able to study, communicate, teach, and help others in their journey as disciples of Jesus.
The Counselling major is geared toward preparing students to become proficient counsellors in a variety of settings and jobs. It provides an integrated theology and psychology perspective to equip graduates on a para-professional level. Because professional licensing is not a requirement in most of Southern Africa, this programme looks more similar to a graduate counselling programme than a traditional undergraduate psychology curriculum.
The Organisational Leadership major is designed for students who want to be leaders, managers, or change agents in today’s society. With a focus on servant-leadership and empowering others, this major equips graduates to bring lasting, practical change in communities, families, businesses, and churches.
Each course is set within the curriculum and has a defined scope outlined in the course descriptions. Some courses, like Marketing, may seem too focused and your expertise and experience may be broader. Resist the temptation to teach broadly and generally on business leadership and teach marketing. If you’ve agreed to teach Psalms but you really love Romans . . . please go ahead and teach Psalms, not Romans.
By recognizing the importance and role of each course within the whole curriculum, you can provide meaningful focus on what needs to be learned at this time … instead of repeating other course objectives or trying to teach broadly instead of deeply.
You’re encouraged to read through the African Christian College Prospectus (the African equivalent to an academic catalog). It provides an introduction to the institution as a whole and gives you a better sense of how the course you are teaching fits into the overall curriculum.
Another helpful resource is our Academic Policy Manual. Essential information is outlined in the guide below, but the full manual is accessible for more details and clarification.
Course Design Principles
For those unfamiliar with the title lecturer, please don’t assume it means you must only lecture in your class!
Lecturer is the common title used for a professor, instructor, or teacher at the college level in Southern Africa. Don’t be fooled into thinking that our students should only learn through lecturing.
We strongly encourage you to use a variety of teaching strategies for student learning. Project-based learning, authentic learning experiences, and other practical methods are encouraged to be utilized whenever possible. Our students are thoughtful, eager learners who enjoy being challenged.
The following eleven principles guide the development of all of our courses. Your understanding and implementation of these principles into your plan is expected.
- Responsibility. The responsibility for the instructional design for each subject course is the assigned lecturer(s) for the course. Lecturers are encouraged to collaborate with other faculty members, partners, and instructional design specialists to design the best possible course for student learning.
- Student-centred Learning. Student-centred learning shifts the focus of instruction from the lecturer to the student. It puts the needs of the student – past experiences and future hopes – in the centre and uses approaches for students to develop problem-solving skills, a habit for lifelong learning, and critical thinking. Lecturers are encouraged to move away from being the centre of the learning process toward placing student learning at the centre.
- Content. Course subjects should be organised in such a way that the units, modules, or topics are easily identified, relevant, and relate to course objectives. The essential content is determined by the lecturer based on the educational objectives, scope, and learning objectives of the course.
- Coursework Expectations. All courses have 40 hours of classroom time allotted – this is true for semester-long, module, and midmester courses. In designing instruction, lecturers should expect outside class time to supplement learning. Combined, each course expects 120 hours of learning.
- Authentic Learning Experiences. Courses should seek authentic learning experiences whenever possible. Authentic learning experiences are teaching strategies that provide real-world situations for students to engage in work that matters and requires competency development. This increases motivation and learning.
- Christian Bias. Faculty approach disciplines with a bias and worldview influenced by their commitment to the Bible and the Christian life as it is primarily understood by the Church of Christ. This informs our scholarly framework and is not inferior or simply an additive to our fields of scholarship.
- Theological diversity. Though our institution is rooted in the Stone-Campbell Movement and the Churches of Christ, our institution is respectful of various theological approaches and beliefs. Agreement is not necessary, but respect must be practiced throughout the learning environment.
- African Approach. Though course study is informed with international scholarship and information, our courses focus heavily on Africa, African culture, and application to African contexts. Use of African scholars and resources is encouraged throughout courses. Please explore African resources and scholarship related to your field and include it in the student work and to inform your teaching.
- Gender-inclusion. Gender sensitivity and inclusive language is considered essential in a global and ecumenical theological institution. Therefore, Bible translations using gender-inclusive language are preferred for the academic setting. And gender-inclusive language and sensitivity should be expected in all academic assignments.
- Language of Instruction. All subjects are taught in English because of the diversity of our student body.
- Research. Students should be engaged in research-based learning using relevant, academic, and timely content. Presentations of research and attribution of use follows the APA Citation Style on all assignments, unless otherwise directed by the lecturer. You may select another style, but be prepared to teach students how to use it.
Clear and relevant learning objectives must be identified for each course. In some cases, we’ve got those for you, but we are flexible to changes.
Spirituality and theological reflection should be a part of at least one learning outcome in every course — even courses outside of Bible and theology.
Learning objectives must relate to the essential content, scope, and educational objectives of the college. Each outcome should be observable, measurable, and done by students (not done by the instructor). Learning objectives are best written with an action word, learning statement, and criterion for measurement.
Learning objectives could include objectives from cognitive, affective, or psycho-motor taxonomies.
Evaluating student learning of the learning objectives is essential in an educational environment. You may use a variety of methods for measuring learning, such as examinations, product or performance evaluations, and authentic evaluations.
Each course, however, must have a written examination as part of measuring student learning. This is a requirement of the ESwatini Higher Education Council (ESHEC).
All summative evaluations — the ways student learning is evaluated at the end of the learning unit or course — must be submitted by the lecturer to the Academic Dean for review and approval.
Some guidelines for balancing grade values in a course:
- No more than four summative evaluations
- No single result should equal the final grade.
- No single item should be less than 10% of the final grade.
- No single item should be more than 50% of the final grade.
- No more than 50% of the final grade can be given for group work, unless there is a way to individualise grades for group contributions.
- No more than 20% of the final grade can come from items that are peer-reviewed only.
- Any item that must receive a passing mark (or other certain mark) should be clearly marked in the syllabus.
Student work should be submitted on time. Late work receives a 5% reduction per day and is not accepted after 5 days.
Marking / Grading
Consistency in grades among lecturers from diverse educational settings proves challenging. This may be the hardest adjustment you will need to make in order to be successful in your lecturing role.
In Southern Africa, there is strict adherence to marking by the grading system descriptions. Though these descriptors are consistent with American or European settings, we often find American lecturers generously award excellent grades for average work.
African students are accustomed to receiving average grades; a C is normal. Our students only come to expect getting all A’s after a few generous American lecturers award them. But, an A is rare. It means that the student is exemplary in the course subject and excellent in their ability to express ideas in writing.
Your help is needed to ensure our academic integrity with grading.
We no longer use letters for grades, but the percentiles still cause difficulty for visiting lecturers. Many have found it easier to use descriptors such as ‘average,’ ‘below/above average’, and ‘excellent in every way’ to mark instead of assigning a numerical grade. Rubrics, when correctly balanced within our grading scale, are the most helpful tool in evaluating student performance consistently and fairly.
Grading rubrics or comprehensive marking guides are required for every summative evaluation — a test key or weighted rubric for product, performance, or authentic evaluations. They must be followed to improve consistency in marking.
Because written and oral communication is a programme objective, rubrics should also attend to students demonstrating communication skills with correct English grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Expect, however, to encounter British spellings as you are in this guide.
Our grading scale is comparable with the grading used in Southern Africa at all academic levels:
|80-100%||Distinction .||Superior work of excellence (A) .|
|60-79%||Merit||Above average work (70-79 B) |
Average work (60-69 C)
|50-59%||Pass||Below average work (D)|
|Below 50% .||Fail||Unacceptable work (F)|
Rigour of assignments and marking should find most students in the Merit designation. We recognise this is difficult if you’re accustomed to 65 as a failing grade. Don’t let the numbers get you stuck. Follow and use a fair grading rubric.
Graded summative evaluations are not returned to students for them to keep. Students are able to look over comments and see their marks, but the final graded copies must be submitted to the Registrar for safekeeping. Prepare to provide marks and feedback within three weeks of submission date.
Second & Double Marking
A significant change in our academic policies in 2019 is the requirement for every course to have major assignments either second- or double-marked.
Second-marking means that once a lecturer finishes marking student scripts (local term for student assignments: papers, presentations, or exams), then a second, qualified person checks the scripts to ensure consistency and fairness in the marks utilising the same grading rubric. Discrepancies are discussed and addressed between the two reviewers.
Double-marking means that a lecturer and a second, qualified person marks the scripts separately using the rubric. The final mark a student receives is an average of the marks given by these two people. Ideally, these marks are very close to each other. In cases where the marks are very different, then the two graders must reconcile the differences, including possibly having assistance from the dean or a third qualified grader.
Why? This is not an uncommon method to help increase accuracy and reliability of student marks outside of North America. It alleviates student anxiety about being marked based on a negative or positive relationship with the lecturer and provides a fairer, more objective evaluation. It alleviates lecturer anxiety about being individually blamed for student failing marks (and subsequent removal from the college) and puts pressure on them to grade to the rubric and not based on personal feelings or the temptation to relax standards for other reasons. Its primary purpose is to increase reliability and consistency in student marks. Research says it works.
How? The Academic Dean selects the second- or double-marking person to work on your course assignments. That is why it is essential to notify the Dean about your evaluation assignments, plans, and grading rubrics.
Textbooks & Course Resources
We have textbooks for many of our courses. We can advise you on what is currently available. If you have other textbooks you would like for your course, please let us know as soon as possible. We will work with you to secure the books, if possible.
Many lecturers compile readings from various articles, books, and journals for a course reading packet. And there are many quality open-source (free) textbooks available online for many subjects. Such electronic resources are easily distributed via a shared flash drive to students who can then keep them and travel with them easily. Remember to include resources addressing African context.
If you are preparing handouts or copies to print upon arrival, we recommend you change your settings to A4 paper size. We do not have Letter size paper in Eswatini. This will help you avoid printing issues and to maximize space on A4 which is narrower but longer. Also, student notebooks, binders, and hole punches will not accommodate the three-holed, Letter size paper well.
When it comes to printing and copying, our office assistant is happy to help you with all these needs. It is helpful to submit printing tasks the day before rather than minutes before class.
Our students complete their degrees in 3 years (rather than the standard 4). How? By year-round scheduling of classes. This includes 2-week midmesters, 8-week modules, and 16-week semesters. The shorter modules and midmesters have been helpful for us in recruiting visiting lecturers beyond eSwatini.
All our courses are scheduled to accommodate 40 hours of classroom instruction – even a module or midmester course. This means you should plan to meet the same student learning outcomes and content regardless of the number of weeks of class. Assignments, readings, and other work outside of class are expected.
Semester courses meet twice per week for 16 weeks. Classes meet Monday & Thursday or Tuesday & Friday in 80 minute sessions between 8:00-13:00.
Module courses meet four times each week for 8 weeks. Classes meet Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday in 80 minute sessions between 8:00-13:00.
Midmester courses meet five days a week for two weeks. Classes meet daily, Monday through Friday in three 80 minute sessions usually between 8:00-13:00.
Midmesters (2 week courses)
Though often convenient because of semester breaks and holidays in other countries, midmesters are tough and require tremendous preparation. Students get 3 hours of academic credit for midmesters as they do for semester-long courses— all squeezed into two weeks.
During midmesters, students are focused only on one course to reduce distractions or competing assignments.
Many midmester lecturers give pre-class assignments (reading and/or written assignments). These are usually due on the first day of class. Please send us clear instructions for any pre-class assignments at least two weeks before the start of your course. Students will have limited time to complete the assignment in the week prior to the start of your course.
Post-class assignments (often research papers) with electronic submission after the course are often required. Assignments must reasonable for completion within one week of the end of your course. Please do not extend the deadline.
You can arrange your class time to meet learning needs. Many follow our regular 8:00a-1:00p schedule. This frees up your afternoon. Others have sessions for a few hours, followed by assignments outside of class, then return to class in the afternoon before giving overnight assignments. As students’ only course for the two weeks, you can determine your class meeting times and schedule for the session.
We strive to offer our lecturers the best teaching resources possible so you can do your best in teaching our students. Please let us know of any special needs you may have for your students.
You will have access to these resources on campus:
- Mounted digital projector in each classroom with HDMI or VGA connection. Please bring necessary adapters if your laptop does not have HDMI or VGA (or prepare to use one of our laptops).
- Wipe board, markers, eraser
- Desk and chair for everyone in each classroom
- Copy machine (black/white only)
- Audio recording equipment & software
- Upon request: laptop, VCR, DVD players
The Lyle Harms Library houses over 10,000 volumes in an inviting space on our campus. Our largest sections are the 200s (we use Dewey Decimal System) — Bible & theology — and include a growing reference section and a growing section of Africana.
The library has a reserve desk if you have specific resources you want students to have access in the library only. This prevents one student from checking an important resource out for the duration of your course and makes it available for use in the library only.
To search for an item in the library’s current holdings, use the search bar below or visit the library website.
Students and faculty also have access to numerous electronic journal databases, including ATLA Series — the premier theological journal standard. Please contact the librarian or Dean for database access.
We also seek to provide the best possible learning tools for students to succeed.
Every student has a personal laptop computer to use for their academic and personal use. These are provided by the college and become their personal property when they graduate. Each laptop has Microsoft Office and Windows 10 installed. Upon arrival, students learn computer skills and the basics of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, email, and online research.
Each student has access to campus WiFi. This means they have access (which they have received instruction in using) to our journal databases and other internet resources. That’s good, but also comes with the challenge of building critical evaluation skills of online resources and the temptation to copy and paste from the web.
If submitting assignments electronically, lack of data bundles is not an excuse for late assignments unless the internet system has been inoperable for several days. You may also choose to accept through flash drives.
We have a collection of quality microphones for laptops in the library and students have editing software on their laptops. We encourage you to consider audio assignments for student assessment that can also be used for our new AfricanChristians.org website outreach and for public broadcast through our ministry partner, World Christian Broadcasting. Additionally, they have access to simple video cameras (in addition to those on their laptops) and simple video editing software for use with any multimedia assignments.
As a Christian institution, we endeavour to create an environment free from cheating, lying, fraud, theft, immorality, and other dishonest behaviour. Any participation in these acts undermines the academic integrity of the college and dishonours God.
We encourage you to read the full Academic Integrity Policy in the Academic Policy Manual. Some key points to remember:
- This must be taken seriously.
- Always be clear about what is group work and individual work.
- Though married individuals are ‘one flesh,’ in the academic setting they must complete their work independently.
- Lecturers should model attribution of content and follow legal and ethical usage.
- Marks should never be bumped up to assist students in passing or to show favourtism.
We offer access to PlagScan.com for plagiarism checking. The system allows students to upload papers directly into the system. It then marks areas of potential plagiarism and emails you (and the double marker) the paper. We encourage its use on written papers. Let us know you’d like to use it and we can help set-up your assignment.
All violations of student academic misconduct (cheating, plagiarism) must be reported to the Academic Dean, regardless of student pleas otherwise. Without reporting, lecturers handle misconduct unaware if this is a common pattern with the student or an isolated event.
In consultation with the Academic Dean, lecturers determine the severity of the misconduct between:
- Minor errors of ignorance or carelessness resulting from either an incomplete grasp of ethical procedures or failure to follow proper procedures. In such cases the lecturer assigns the appropriate sanction using the policy as a guide.
- Major misattributions or misrepresentation. In such cases, the lecturer assigns appropriate sanctions after approval from the Academic Dean. These violations are reported to the faculty.
Our mission and purpose leads us to want students to do more than learn content, but to be transformed into faithful disciples. As such, the character and behaviour of our students is very important to us . . . including being part of our graduation requirements.
Visiting lecturers will be asked at the end of your course to provide feedback on all your students regarding the demonstrations of their behaviour within and outside of class. Your response will help us in our efforts to help students grow and learn holistically.
If you’re interested, you can review our Student Guide, which addresses student content within and outside of class.
Your trip is an important opportunity to serve the Lord and be part of strengthening and growing God’s Kingdom. Thank you!
But don’t be fooled into thinking that because you are heading to eSwatini to teach Africans that this is a trip where you need to water down lessons, take it easy on them, or become well-loved by setting low expectations.
Instead, we challenge you to rise to the occasion and offer your best service for God’s Kingdom and our students. They will rise to your expectations.
Some of our lecturers — possibly influenced by media stories of Africa — have unintentionally low expectations of our students. Others give-in to student requests for lowering standards after student complaints and the temptation of wanting to be a well-liked visitor.
The lecturers our graduates remember, though, are the ones who expected much, treated them as capable learners, and taught courses where they were expected to perform highly. Unsurprisingly, they are also the courses they learned the most from taking.
The next video is one of our graduates, Mothae, talking about student expectations for lecturers. He emphasises their desire to not be taught as little children, but as capable adults; to be fed meat, not milk.
Our accreditation requires us to have proof of academic credentials.
To fulfill these requirements we must have on file for all our lecturers a certified (notarized) hard copy of your diplomas, particularly your highest degree, and an updated copy of your Curriculum Vitae (CV). If you have not submitted this before, we must have this.
Generally the university that confers degrees does not offer a service of certifying a diploma, but they do provide other certifications. Those will be helpful to also bring, but we really must have a notarized hard copy of your actual diploma.
Here’s the challenge for a Notary Public in the USA … that’s not technically the purpose of a notary, and some are uncomfortable with this request. Most notaries find the following acceptable and within their oath: Have the notary write on each page of the copies: ‘I certify that this is a true copy of the original document.’ After comparing the copy and original, each page needs to be stamped and signed. This is a legitimate way to certify a copy in Africa. It also does not violate notary ethics.
Upon arrival, we will also be asking for copies of your identification documents (such as a passport), you to sign our Statement of Faith form (indicating your level of agreement), and other papers to complete required faculty files.
Guide updated: 27 Feb 2020