Seminar on Academic Career Development

A Seminar on Academic Career Development organized by the Faculty of Law, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University was held on 06.01.2022. The objective of the seminar was to improve the skills, attitudes and confidence of the academic staff and to provide an opportunity for academics to gain inputs to plan their career development while enabling them to learn from the experiences of eminent senior academics. Participants of the seminar were the members of the academic staff of Faculty of Law, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University. 

The resource persons of the Seminar were Senior Professor Narada Warnasuriya, Senior Professor Rohini Seneviratne, Senior Professor Susirith Mendis and Professor Jeewa Niriella.

Senior Professor Narada Warnasuriya focused on the topic ‘The Role of an Academic in a Modern University’ and reflected on the types of teaching, such as giving lectures, engaging in dialogues, and collaborative problem solving. He further spoke of the importance of inculcating values and integrity in an academic, while emphasizing that an academic must not limit himself to teaching and research, but be an embodiment of a scholar, as universities play a pivotal role in scholarship.    

Professor Jeewa Niriella spoke on the topic ‘A lifelong Academic Career in Law; Experiences of a Dedicated Academic’, drawing examples from her personal experiences to enlighten the academia on how best to navigate the world of academia. She focused on giving priorities to the students, being empathetic to their needs and how to be a dedicated career academic. Professor Niriella further emphasized effective time management, efficient execution of tasks and continuous setting of goals for oneself; that one’s competition is truly with oneself and the importance of displaying a positive outlook at all times. 

Senior Professor Rohini Senevirathna dealt with ‘Quality Assurance in Higher Education’, and provided an overview of national standards as prescribed by the University Grants Commission and the important benchmarks followed by KDU. Professor Senevirathna dealt extensively with each step of the quality assurance process and shared her long experience on how to best achieve the highest standards in a University.

Senior Professor Susirith Mendis discussed on ‘Ethics, Values, and Virtues of a University Academic’ and focused on cardinal virtues, theological virtues, pedagogical competence and personal integrity. He emphasized on being a value laden role model for students and to be sensitive to learning objectives and assessment criteria. All examinations do not successfully test the overall knowledge and competence of every student and one needs to be mindful of such in the assessment process. Professor Mendis further stressed that an academic is continually scrutinized by the students and must conduct himself with honour, integrity and goodness. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that these are subjective terms and that their meanings should be continually sought out and aspired to throughout one’s career as an academic.