The Department operates a Cadet-Centred Policy (CCP) meaning we put the needs and interests of our Cadets at the core of our decision-making and functions.
Learning Support for Cadets
To facilitate effective learning experience, our undergraduate programme and courses are designed bearing in mind the needs and expectations of our cadets. Our undergraduate programme is crafted in such a manner that courses and learning activities reinforce each other. This is not only to achieve the objectives of each course, but also to actualise the general and specific learning outcomes and key competencies of the BSc Programme.
Directed Learning – Classroom Teaching
Cadets are entitled to directed teaching which takes place in Lecture Halls (LH), and Faculty or Departmental Venue. These venues are carefully designed with regards to cadets’ number, sitting capacity and requirements for teaching aid. Each venue is well ventilated and fitted with overhead projectors (OHPs), comfortable seats and, in the case of large venues, public address systems. Academic staff are expected to follow a course content, and to ensure that each session contributes to meeting set targets and learning outcomes. Attendance is compulsory in all directed-learning sessions.
Seminars are built into some courses. They involve research and presentation of independent pieces of work by a cadet or groups of cadets. The aims of seminars are to encourage individual/group work with little supervision; presentation and defence of cadet’s own work and ideas; and capacity-building in intellectual argumentation and academic tolerance. The rules and guidance for each seminar are contained in manuals of individual courses, and/or to be obtained from individual course lecturers.
Each Semester, a Department Timetable is designed and implemented in liaison with Academic Staff and Faculty Timetable Office. The departmental timetable is considered and approved by the Department Board or HOD. At the start of each semester, the Department Timetable Committee produces a timetable that is carefully calibrated to ensure strict adherence by both cadets and Staff. Staff have specific time allocations lectures, student consultation and research. Staff time is managed through Departmental Timetables and staff schedules. The Department encourages prudent and transparent management of time, and any default will be investigated and disciplined.
Attendance and Participation
Absence from Classes and other Academic Activities, without authorisation, is strictly forbidden. The Department takes record of absence and attendance. At the Start of each classroom session or other learning activities (such as seminars), class attendance is taken, and cases of absenteeism are closely monitored. In addition to physical attendance, cadets are encouraged to participate actively in all academic activities. Department is devising a means of monitoring and rewarding active participants in classroom sessions and discussions.
The Department encourages interactive exchange of ideas and perspectives between lecturers and cadets. The Department believes that learning is a two-way process involving the teacher and Cadets, and that a relaxed atmosphere devoid of intellectual hierarchy engenders effective learning experience.
Technology-driven learning experience
The Academy is fitted with wireless internet connection. For a smooth learning experience, all lecture Halls and Department Venues are fitted with Smart PowerPoint Projectors and other learning media. The Academy is currently upgrading its facilities and building the capacity of staff in the technologies of teaching, learning and management. The Department encourages staff to familiarise themselves and cadets with such technologies, and to ensure the safety and workability of classroom fittings. Cases of faulty machines should be reported immediately to the HOD or relevant units in NDA.
At 400 Level, each cadet is allocated a suitable supervisor with expertise knowledge of the theme on which a cadet is carrying out research for the Final Year Project (PSY 499). The Supervisor will ensure that the cadet receives adequate guidance with regards to research planning, methods and tools of data collection, data presentation and analysis.
Departmental Library and IT Centre
The Department’s Library and Information Technology Centre is located next to the Office of the HOD. The Centre is being enriched with additional collections procured through the Department’s votes, and voluntary donations from Alumni, Academic Staff and private individuals and organisations. The Centre is stocked with key readings, textbooks and other relevant documents. Cadets are entitled to make use of those resources for their reading and assignments.
The Academy Library is well-stocked with resources that are relevant to Political Science and Defence Studies. The Academy is acquiring more volumes to improve the library’s holding. The Library is managed by trained subject and general librarians. Cadets are encouraged to patronise the Academy Library in all their individual and group assignments and seminar preparations.
Cadets’ Staff Academic Adviser (CSAA)
The Department operates an open-door support policy for cadets. This means that each cadet is free to arrange an appointment with any member of academic staff to seek advice on academic matters. Our staff are trained to maintain strict confidentiality and trust with cadets with regards to enhancing learning strategies, and overcoming learning difficulties. Crucially, each cadet in the Department is entitled to a Staff Academic Adviser (CSAA). The Department believes that even though cadets are technically classified as adults and matured persons, a great number of them are teenagers and young people who need assistance and counselling in order to come to terms with academic challenges and progress in their careers. Therefore, the Department expects the Academic Staff Advisers to combine the functions of the parents, teachers, mentors and counsellors whilst cadets are under the care of the Department and the Academy. They are to be guided and directed properly in the handling of their failed courses and choice of course and as a matter of policy, no cadet is allowed to process any course form without the knowledge of, and input from Advisers. Cadets are also advised in the area of curricular and extra-curricular activities, critical thinking, academic discipline, time management, and career guidance. Close liaison with an SAA is crucial to a successful four year degree experience.
Grievances and Disciplinary Procedure
Cadets’ grievances are first handled by their respective Staff Academic Advisers (CSAA) and, where such matters need further attention, they are handled at the level of Departmental Board. However, where grievance border on misconduct or indiscipline, the Department Board or HOD may set up a committee to look into the matter. The committee shall have specific terms of references (TOR), mode of operation and deadline for submission its report. The recommendations of committee will be carefully considered and implemented by the Office of HOD. Cadets are also encouraged to discuss their problems with any of the Academic Staff or the Head of Department for prompt action.
Examination & Assessment
The department operates continuous assessment policy – meaning cadets are assessed regularly to ascertain level and quality of performance. Specific grade ratios are allocated to different examinable activity, and this ratio differs from one course to another. Cadets’ performance in each course evaluated using clearly stated modes of assessment. Typically, each course is assessed through a combination of some or all of the following:
Tests may be announced, but some lecturers give unannounced tests. A test is conducted to evaluate student’s performance in grounds covered in each courses, and attract marks. Test may take different forms: quizzes, multiple-choice objective questions or essay-type.
Each cadet is often given set of assignments on specific topics or themes. Individual assignments are also given in the form of book review, and review of journal articles and/or policy documents. It is the responsibility of cadets to ensure the timely completion and submission of individual work. Late submission attracts a penalty. Cadets who refuse to participate in set group work will be subjected to denial of grades and, in case of repeated offences, disciplinary action might follow.
Groups work and activities are built into many of our courses to encourage teamwork. Cadets are often grouped randomly to avoid “comfort grouping” and encourage peer participation. The Department expects cadets to participate actively in their group assignments. Late submission attracts a penalty; cadets who refuse to participate in set group work will be subjected to denial of grades and, in case of repeated offence, disciplinary action.
Seminars may be graded. Usually, the Lecturer returns the graded presentation or assignment scripts accompanied by a feedback to the cadet(s). The feedback will highlight queries, annotated remarks, and offer suggestions for future improvement in a similar task.
End of Semester Examinations
Typically, end of semester examination marks a high point of the semester. Examinations carry higher marks – not less than 60%– of the total grade. The Department Examination Officer/Committee coordinates a smooth conduct of examinations. The Department will produce and distribute an Examination Timetable, well in advance of the period, in liaison with the Faculty Examination Office. Academic staff are required as a matter of policy to submit their questions to the Head of department at least a week before the commencement of each semester examination. The questions are accompanied by an explicit marking scheme.