Browsing by Author "Bitzer, E."
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- ItemContinuous professional learning in private higher education : making a case for distributed leadership(HESA, 2019) Cronje, F.; Bitzer, E.Literature on management of professional learning in South African private higher education (PHE) institutions is limited. This may be due to incentives for professional learning in private higher education not being highly revered. Our paper reports on the findings of research conducted on four campuses of a South African private higher education provider, inquiring into broadening organisational leadership roles towards distributed leadership. Findings show that academic managers in PHE see the proper educational induction of academics as a contributing factor to professional and institutional cohesion. However, the role of academic managers in designing custom made professional learning initiatives is pivotal. Our findings confirm that academic managers in PHE contexts need to spend considerable effort on strategising their campus programmes to empower academic leaders through distributed leadership and with agency to lead their teams. We suggest a course of action for enhancing continuous professional learning (CPL) for academic staff in PHE: Firstly, academic management positions should be filled with the most competent people; secondly, academic managers should be directly accountable for the quality of professional learning on their campuses; and thirdly, academic managers need increased agency to use resources such as monetary and other incentives to support their academic teams.
- ItemInterrogating patient-centredness in undergraduate medical education using an integrated behaviour model(Taylor & Francis Group, 2017) Archer, E.; Bitzer, E.; Van Heerden, B. B.Background: Patient-centredness, an approach that puts the patient at the centre of the consultation, thus focusing on patients instead of on his/her diseases, has been identified by most medical schools as a desired core competence of their graduates. Despite some curriculum initiatives, medical students often display a lack of patient-centredness upon graduation. This bears reason for concern and it was thus deemed important to explore possible factors that influence the teaching and learning of patient-centredness in an undergraduate medical curriculum. The article suggests a framework that can assist programme developers to conceptualise the teaching and learning of patient-centredness across an undergraduate curriculum. Methods: A qualitative exploratory case study design was used for the study with final-year medical students. Themes of meaning were deduced from the data by employing components of an Integrated Behavior Model (IBM) of Fishbein. Results: The findings of the study revealed that seven factors play a role: background characteristics of students, attitudinal factors, subjective norms (the hidden curriculum), student self-efficacy, acquired skills and knowledge, the environment or context within which patient-centredness is taught and learnt, as well as assessment of learning. Conclusions: Patient-centredness is a complex construct and authors often write about only one of its components. This paper attempts to consider the total undergraduate medical curriculum students are exposed to when they learn about being patient-centred. The teaching and learning of such a multidimensional construct require a comprehensive approach in order to be effective and the IBM seems to be a useful and applicable theoretical model to apply.
- ItemThe invisible support networks of doctoral candidates : what acknowledgement sections of doctoral theses reveal(HESA, 2021) Leshem, S.; Bitzer, E.Although some argue that acknowledgement sections should not form part of doctoral theses, others welcome such sections and are of the opinion that they reflect original and personal contributions, constituting a neglected genre. Previous research on acknowledgement texts have focused more on their linguistic characteristics as related to the academic writing of theses. The present study, however, inquired into acknowledgement sections from a social support perspective. The aim of the study was to bring to light the dimension of the social milieu and its importance in supporting doctoral students in successfully achieving their doctorate. More specifically, the study sought to investigate the role of “significant others” in the academic success of doctoral students as reflected in the genres of acknowledgement in doctoral theses by analysing such texts from 30 completed doctoral theses in South Africa and Israel. Follow-up interviews with graduates assisted to probe deeper into the meaning of the texts. Although limited in nature, the study found that, based on who doctoral graduates acknowledge, several role-players and supporters seem to contribute to doctoral success. This includes family members, friends, colleagues, study supervisors, funders and university administrators. What also became clear was that doctoral candidates rely mainly on psycho-social forms of support and that particular kinds of such support are crucial at different stages of the doctoral journey. Acknowledgement studies confirm the doctoral research process as an activity stream that integrates the personal, the interpersonal and the institutional to reveal the mostly hidden, but very important, influences on the doctorate.
- ItemLecturers' professional identity : the chase of chartered accountants in academia(HESA, 2016) Bitzer, E.; De Jager, E.This study surveyed a number of accounting lecturers at a research-intensive South African university to determine their perceptions and preferences regarding their own professional identity. How university lecturers see and experience their own professional identity is important as such views influence the way they teach, participate in professional learning opportunities and attach value to what they do. The findings indicate that professional identity is not a stable construct, that it is related to personal choices and influenced by a number of contextual factors. The participant group of accounting lecturers indicated their professional identity as primarily being professional lecturers rather than professional chartered accountants, but background variables did not seem to play a significant role in their professional identity formation, nor was role conflict identified as being a major factor. The findings imply that if accounting lectures consider themselves as professional university lecturers rather than professional chartered accountants, excelling as academics and educators would contribute towards excellence in the teaching of accounting.
- ItemProfessional learning for teaching at a research-intensive university : the need for a ‘care-full’ environment(HESA, 2018) Herman, N.; Bitzer, E.; Leibowitz, B.The participation of academics in professional learning opportunities for teaching plays an important role in promoting the desired outcomes of higher education teaching and learning. If university teachers pursuing a career in academia however perceive the environment as non-appreciative and non-supportive, in other words, ‘care-less’ to such endeavours, they could become demoralised as a result of human and emotional responses. The purpose of the reported research was to explore the influence of their environment on the decision-making of academics to participate in professional learning opportunities at one research-intensive university. It shows what impact the care-less treatment of teachers may have on their decisions to learn to teach. Findings indicate that academics do not perceive the existing institutional environment as “care-full” (Milligan and Wiles 2010) towards teaching or university teachers. Carving out a teaching career in a care-less environment appears to have a negative influence on academics’ decision-making for professional learning. One implication of these findings is that university management should realise that a care-full environment to enhance professional learning for teaching, certainly at research-intensive institutions, is essential for such professional learning, for individual academics and subsequently for students and society, to prosper.
- ItemThe views of commerce students regarding "free" higher education in South Arica(HESA, 2018) Bitzer, E.; De Jager, E.At the end of 2015, student protests (demanding ‘free’ higher education) took place at most South African universities. An official answer from the South African government regarding ‘free higher education’ is still being awaited. In the meantime, a zero present increase in university fees for 2016 and an increase of not more than 8% for 2017 was announced. South Africa is known for expensive higher education as tuition fees increase every year. Many students struggle to fund their studies, while government subsidies to higher education institution decrease. The question that remains is: Will it be feasible for South Africa to implement ‘free higher education’? This study aimed to investigate the perceptions of commerce students at one South African university regarding the feasibility of ‘free’ higher education. A questionnaire was used as research instrument which consisted of Likert-scale statements regarding general ideas about ‘free higher education’ as well as open-ended questions asking students about the definition of ‘free higher education’ and the effects on the South African economy. The results proposed that even though most students were aware of the students protests regarding ‘free higher education’ that took place, not all of them agreed with it. The respondents realised that it is not feasible for South Africa to implement ‘free higher education’ at this moment in time. Despite the views of these commerce students, if ‘free higher education’ were considered as a viable option in South Africa, implementation considerations should be examined. These issues will be discussed in a follow-up study.