The University curriculum as engaging with external non-academic communities: a grounded theory inquiry approach

Smith-Tolken, Antoinette (2011)

The original publication is available from AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, Stellenbosch: South Africa.

CHAPTER CITATION: Smith-Tolken, A. 2011. The University Curriculum as Engaging with External Non-Academic Communities: A Grounded Theory Inquiry Approach. In Bitzer, E. & Botha, N. (eds). Curriculum Inquiry in South African Higher Education: Some Scholarly Affirmations and Challenges. Stellenbosch: SUN MeDIA. 349-369.

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ENGLISH SUMMARY : INTRODUCTION: The university curriculum needs to be central to South African higher education debates. Curricular content is expected to be commensurate with the expectations of a wide array of stakeholders of which students, their parents, the government and future employers of students are but a few (Botha 2009). This array of expectations and the consequences for curriculum design, however, make any discussion on the curriculum a complex matter and hence a worthwhile topic to research. Curriculum design is the incubator of the curriculum and has been established as one of the sub-fields of higher education studies (Bitzer & Wilkinson 2009). Community engagement, a further sub-field of higher education, has recently emerged and is closely connected to curriculum design of specifically experiential learning-based curricula. Such curricula which complement vocational training as prescribed by professional boards, thus bringing students in touch with practice, may contribute to students developing a sense of social responsibility towards society as a whole (Smith-Tolken 2010). Experiential learning pedagogies are based on engaging students in experiences that enhance learning. Community work may be one such vehicle that can provide such experiences. When these experiences are structured as part of the curriculum to foster social responsibility and provide exposure to practice in their field of study, such pedagogies add more complexity to curriculum design.

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