Browsing Chapters in Books (Centre for Higher and Adult Education) by Title
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- ItemAcademic literacy as a graduate attribute: implications for thinking about curriculum(AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2011) Leibowitz, BrendaINTRODUCTION: This chapter is set within the current focus on graduate attributes. These are qualities which students require in order to study at university, as well as and more typically, the attributes that students require in order to graduate as competent and meaningfully engaged members of society. The particular subset of attributes on which the chapter focuses covers approaches towards academic literacy, broadly understood as encompassing writing and reading, digital literacy and information literacy. I locate my understanding of academic literacy within what is broadly referred to as a ‘situated literacies’ approach and trace the implications of this approach for curriculum design and for research into the curriculum. In order to substantiate many of the claims in this chapter, I provide examples from various studies conducted while being involved in research and development work on language across the curriculum at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), and from research into language, biography and identity I have conducted while working at Stellenbosch University. I draw from the international literature, as well as from South African literature, which has its own trajectory and concern to respond to the educational, racial and linguistically saturated divisions and inequities of our past. This chapter makes a strong argument for an understanding of graduate attributes in general – and of academic literacy in particular – as practices deeply embedded in the disciplines. For pragmatic reasons, it might be necessary to provide for stand-alone approaches towards the facilitation of academic literacy amongst students. With regard to the broader concept of graduate attributes, I ask whether the kinds of attributes we expect from students, such as criticality or lifelong learning, should not be the subject of attention for educators themselves.
- ItemAligning student and supervisor perspectives of research challenges(SUN MeDIA, 2016) Albertyn, Ruth; Van Coller-Peter, Salome; Morrison, JohnIntroduction: The coursework to me was like riding a mountain bike on a mountain bike trail. It was tough at times, but a great adventure. The more you rode, the more skilful you became, both technically and theoretically. The research process for me was like cycling the same mountain bike trail, but on a road bike. It just never really became easy. (Student) This comment illustrates how a student participant in our study vividly distinguished the research experience from the coursework in completing a postgraduate qualification. The challenges experienced with research, and the natural predisposition towards the theoretical and practical course content, play a role in completion rates at master’s or doctoral level. This phenomenon has become a focus of research and sometimes it is referred to as ‘all but dissertation’ or ABD (Blum 2010; Albertyn, Kapp & Bitzer 2008). In some cases, the research component is seen as the ‘necessary evil’ of obtaining the higher degree. A negative attitude to research at the outset could influence students’ engagement with research, their ability to think creatively, and eventually the quality and completion of the research (Kearns, Gardiner & Marshall 2008).
- ItemBecoming doctorate as an endpoint and a point of departure(SUN MeDIA, 2016) Bitzer, Eli; Leshem, Shosh; Trafford, VernonINTRODUCTION: There are generic features of ‘the doctorate’ that transcend disciplines, universities and doctoral procedures. Perspectives on doctoral outcomes include features of received wisdom, which scholars often refer to as the ‘gold standard’ of the doctorate (Trafford & Leshem 2008: 34–35). When standards at such a scholarly level are met, they constitute ‘doctorateness’, which is what examiners expect to be displayed in doctoral theses (Halse & Malfroy 2010; McAlpine & Ashgar 2010). To achieve generic scholarly standards, doctoral candidates are expected to progress beyond merely reporting facts; levels of knowledge, skills and attitudes that involve intellectualising, conceptualising and contributing to existing knowledge are required. Candidates and supervisors who display this understanding appreciate connections between doing research and writing a doctoral thesis, and for candidates at some institutions, defending their thesis in a doctoral viva. When these criteria for a doctoral degree are met, then ‘doctorateness’ is demonstrated (Trafford & Leshem 2008; 2011).
- ItemBringing the community into higher education(AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2016) Albertyn, Ruth M.Introduction: The third core function of community interaction in higher education is often viewed as the peripheral activity in the triad of academic tasks. Community interaction is seen as an imperative which often results in reluctant compliance rather than enthusiastic engagement. Notional value of community initiatives has been well articulated both internationally and nationally and calls on the sense of social justice, making a meaningful contribution to society, mutual benefits and reciprocity (Boyer 1990; Kolawole 2005; Waghid 2009; Hall 2010; Lange 2012). Community initiatives can contribute to transformation that is so vital in the historical context of South African higher education (Albertyn and Daniels 2009; Bitzer and Albertyn 2012; Leibowitz 2012; Petersen and Osman 2013). Despite cognition of the well-documented benefits of engaged activity, it is widely felt that many academics pay lip-service to community interaction and try to get away with the bare minimum. Undoubtedly, the reason for this could be ascribed to the innate tensions currently faced by universities and academics. This situation may be due to on the one hand, the reality of the globalised economy with the competitive, individualised focus of knowledge economies (James, Guile and Unwin 2013), and on the other hand, the social agenda which encourages engaged citizenship.
- ItemCandidates, supervisors and institutions: pushing postgraduate boundaries: an overview(SUN PRESS, 2014) Frick, Liezel; Bitzer, Eli; Albertyn, RuthINTRODUCTION: Academic boundaries are in some ways similar to national boundaries – they are set up to colonise and govern, but at the same time are constantly challenged to reaffirm their authority and meaning. The postgraduate environment has been and is still colonised and governed by a variety of boundaries: inter/national, geographical, cultural, institutional, disciplinary and paradigmatic; also those of knowledge and relationships, and many more. The contributions to this book set out to explore and challenge such boundaries as they exist within the postgraduate environment. The work of Thomas Kuhn (1962) and others on paradigms set the scene for establishing boundaries both within and between academic disciplines in terms of research. The earlier work of Becher and Trowler (2001) on academic tribes and their territories may also be useful to explain academics’ search for a scholarly identity in the higher education environment. An academic tribe provides its members with an identity and a particular frame of reference. The characteristic identity of a particular academic tribe is developed from an early age – usually already at the undergraduate level, where patterns of thought are imprinted. These ‘tribal’ associations are often solidified at the postgraduate level.
- ItemConceptualising risk in doctoral education: Navigating boundary tensions(SUN PRESS, 2014) Frick, Liezel; Albertyn, Ruth; Bitzer, EliIntroduction: If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary. – Jim Rohn Risk-taking is an important form of human behaviour, but can be conceptualised in different ways (Byrnes, Miller & Schafer 1999). Some researchers in higher education point to the association between academic risk and its negative consequences (McWilliam, Lawson, Evans & Taylor 2005; McWilliam, Sanderson, Evans, Lawson & Taylor 2006; McWilliam, Singh & Taylor 2002) and therefore conceptualise risk as something that should be avoided or at least carefully managed. Others highlight risk as an opportunity for achievement (Backhouse 2009; Frick 2011, 2012; Holligan 2005). If innovation is key to the generation of new knowledge, then risk is seen to be an integral part of this process (Brown 2010). Knowledge and innovation are considered to be critical contributors to national wealth and welfare and therefore doctoral education has gained increasing significance within the context of human capital development (Bloland 2005; CHE 2009). In this context, the dynamics of balancing risk and innovation (Brown 2010; Latham & Braun 2009) may provide challenges for the supervisory relationship and the research process. Education – and more specifically doctoral education – seems to be risky given the requirement to produce original knowledge. Students need to have “the courage and confidence to take risks, to make mistakes, to invent and reinvent knowledge, and to pursue critical and lifelong inquiries in the world, with the world, and with each other” (Freire 1970, cited in Lin & Cranton 2005:458). MacKinnon (1970) agrees that the courage to take risks is an important characteristic of creative endeavours – such as doctoral studies. In this chapter we therefore take the position that risk is unavoidable within the context of doctoral education, but in order to extend the boundaries and manage risk constructively, supervisors could gain from understanding the concept of risk within this context.
- ItemThe ‘creative-minded supervisor : gatekeeping and boundary breaking when supervising creative doctorates(SUN MeDIA, 2016) Wisker, Gina; Robinson, GillianINTRODUCTION: Research into what examiners value in a PhD (Kiley & Mullins 2002) identified some characteristics which might surprise supervisors who seek to ensure that, as well as contributing to knowledge, their students undertake manageable research projects, use familiar (enough) methodologies and methods and conform (enough) to acceptable formats in the finished thesis. In their research, both risk-taking and creativity emerged as highly valued in successful PhD theses. Creativity and risktaking might be expected essentials in a PhD which centres on an artistic production, and are very familiar to those taking experimental approaches or challenging fixed ideas. However, for those of us supervising a much broader range of research it could be challenging to find ways to work with students or negotiate routes that are risky and creative, also sound, safe, familiar, and likely to be successful. This raises an exciting set of opportunities, located in supervisors’ roles, and in supervisorstudent interactions, in context. Supervisors are gatekeepers, boundary brokers, and boundary breakers, particularly when working with creative doctorates. Creative postgraduate students engaged in creative doctorates, whether in the creative arts, or taking creative approaches to problems and questions in a range of disciplines, might take us out of our own comfort zones. Yet, we would like to argue that, as supervisors, we need to be – in the words of one of our respondents – ‘creativeminded’ enough (Wisker & Robinson 2014) to encourage and reward the creative approaches and work, while also ensuring that the breaking of boundaries in new knowledge also fulfils expectations of a rigorous research project and wellcommunicated thesis.
- ItemJourneying with higher education studies and research: A personal perspective(AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2009) Bitzer, EliThis chapter captures different ‘stages’ of the development of my own journey with the field of higher education (HE) studies and research. It reflects change and development of the field from personal experiences covering five ‘developmental stages’ and a period of almost 30 years. Stage one represents a novice position from where I knew absolutely nothing about the field of HE and when the learning curve was exceptionally steep. Questions I try to answer include: What literature was available at the time? What were the seminal works? What were the themes that dominated the field? The second stage covers my own master’s and doctoral studies. In each instance there were dominant influences, forces and literature that guided my postgraduate work. I explore the question of how these studies influence my perspectives concerning higher education and how they impacted on my future work. The third stage deals with projects and post-PhD research and the initial stages of publishing in the field leading onto a fourth stage where I started supervising PhD students. Stage five represents the present with a broader view is taken within the limitations of one person’s perspective to take such a stance. This last section also ties in with the chapter by Bitzer and Wilkinson elsewhere in this book that addresses aspects of higher education as a field of study in South Africa.
- ItemPHD by publication : an institutional analysis(SUN MeDIA, 2016) Frick, LiezelINTRODUCTION: PhD1 theses generally follow one of two different formats. Firstly there is the (more traditional) monograph, which is written as a unified and coherent work, and which is most commonly found in non-laboratory areas. Secondly, the PhD by publication2 has evolved, which comprises a number of papers written during a period of postgraduate training, as well as an introduction to and summary of the papers included. The PhD by publication has become established as a form of doctoral knowledge production across disciplines. Increased demands for shorter completion times, lower dropout rates and higher so-called productivity during postgraduate study are instrumental in driving the pressure to publish internationally (Boud & Lee 2009). National funding and subsidy formulas,3 relatively low doctoral production rates and the aging profile of active researchers (ASSAf 2010; Backhouse 2008) may furthermore contribute to the promotion of PhD formats that are thought to address these issues. These trends have (at least in part) led to the two different kinds of doctoral dissertations. Both the national and international drivers of the PhD by publication format seem to originate mostly from calls for accountability and quality assurance, appraisal and excellence, and effectiveness and efficiency. Such drivers are mostly aimed at managerial imperatives and policy adherence, rather than at the scholarly development of students or the advancement of scientific knowledge (see, for instance, Giroux 2014; Altbach 2012, 2013). Scholars warn that students and supervisors alike may not be well prepared for doctoral education in general (Manathunga 2007), or for such an alternative format as such (Paré 2010), as it may demand a different doctoral supervisory pedagogy (Lee 2010).
- ItemThe professional development of academics: In pursuit of scholarship(AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2009) Frick, Liezel; Kapp, ChrisIn this chapter we explore the development of academic staff as an area or theme for study and research in the field of higher education – from both a theoretical and a practical stance. We start by providing a broad definition and an overview of a number of theories underlying the concept and continue to discuss the issues and challenges that it faces in higher education. The notion of scholarship forms the basis of the discussion. A brief discussion on how academic professional development is practised ensues and a South African case study of formal education for academic professional development and the scholarship of teaching is explored. We conclude this chapter with a number of ideas on future developments in the field, which may be of interest to scholars who wish to study the professional development of academics within institutions of higher education.
- ItemThe rationale, challenges and benefits of joint degrees as a new form of doctoral education(SUN MeDIA, 2016) Fourie-Malherbe, Magda; Botha, Jan; Stevens, DorothyINTRODUCTION: The phenomenon of international joint doctoral degrees where two (or more) higher education institutions across national borders assume joint responsibility for the offering, examination and award of a doctoral qualification, is a relatively recent trend in higher education worldwide. Little research has been done on this form of doctoral education, and virtually none in South Africa where universities started exploring the offering of joint degrees about 10 years ago. For the purpose of this chapter we examined this new form of doctoral education at Stellenbosch University in South Africa – a medium-sized research-intensive university with approximately 35% postgraduate students. Our investigation was guided by the following research question: What is the rationale for engaging in joint doctorates and what are the challenges and benefits associated with this new form of doctoral education as experienced at Stellenbosch University?
- Item(Re)Considering postgraduate education and supervision in the knowledge society(SUN MeDIA, 2016) Fourie-Malherbe, Magda; Aitchison, Claire; Bitzer, Eli; Albertyn, RuthINTRODUCTION: The title of this publication, Postgraduate supervision: Future foci for the knowledge society, locates higher education – and more specifically, postgraduate education and supervision – explicitly within discourses on the knowledge society. The aim of this volume is to employ this concept of the knowledge society and its corollary, the knowledge economy, as a heuristic for (re)considering the forms and purposes of postgraduate education and supervision in relation to contemporary realities and future possibilities. Thus the edition will be of interest to a wide range of postgraduate education stakeholders: national and institutional policy makers will value the broad range of up-to-date comparative case studies, while those at the coal-face – supervisors, support staff and students – will appreciate the many and varied renditions of postgraduate experiences at various ‘local’ sites. Key international and local authors combine in this edition to create a unique mix of global and local voices – some already well known, plus newer commentators. The chapters have been selected to provide a rich and nuanced balance of country and personal perspectives and experiences that explore and theorise contemporary concerns within the sector.
- ItemResearch into doctoral education: A survey of institutional research projects in Southern Africa(SUN PRESS, 2016) Bitzer, EliIntroduction: The title of this book indicates an exploration of intersecting contexts and practices of institutional research (IR) in South African higher education. Amongst the many definitions of the concept of IR worldwide (Chirikov 2013; Shreeve 2010), the term is often described as exploring, understanding and explaining the institution for the institution, but also as having a broader function (Webber & Calderon 2015:10-11). As this volume highlights different dimensions of IR related to higher education issues, contexts and practices in South Africa, this chapter focuses on IR and doctoral education. I address here three objectives. Firstly, the question of what constitutes a doctoral degree or ‘doctorateness’ in order to provide some background to doctoral education as an object of investigation. Since the interrelated sets of factors that influence doctoral education are also important, I emphasise the contextual, administrative and academic factors related to doctoral education. Secondly, I probe international research related to doctoral education in order to provide a backdrop to the role of IR in Southern Africa; and thirdly, I report on the results of a limited survey on doctoral education in Southern African and suggest possible future roles for IR and agendas for doctoral education.
- ItemResearch within the context of community engagement(AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2009) Albertyn, Ruth; Daniels, PriscillaCommunity engagement is a concept with a complexity of meanings, approaches and application. Derived from the scholarship of engagement of Boyer, community engagement reflects a commitment to relevance within the context of higher education institutions. The chapter aims to explore the issues that emerge in the continuing debate around engagement with communities. This is done from the perspective of the global era that impacts on knowledge production which is integral to the mission of community engagement. The South African response to engagement also reflects conflicting interpretations and imperatives that influence the application of community engagement in universities. The dichotomies in the conceptualisations of community engagement influence higher educational institutions on three levels: that of management, the academics in their teaching and learning, and the community. The concepts of knowledge and power have implications for all three levels of engagement. These will all impact on efficacy and sustainability of engagement efforts. The issues and challenges on these levels are highlighted for further debate. Possible avenues for research on the level of management, the academic and the community are suggested.
- ItemThe role of doctoral education in early career academic development(SUN MeDIA, 2016) Frick, Liezel; Albertyn, Ruth; Brodin, Eva; McKenna, Sioux; Claesson, SilwaPOINT OF DEPARTURE: The social and economic significance of the doctorate is recognised across the world, as doctoral candidates are considered to be key contributors to the knowledge society by contributing to socio-economic development through innovation (Barnacle 2005; Taylor 2012). Doctoral students – regardless of their discipline – are expected to take part actively in the knowledge creation process at universities, and this is especially important for those who will remain in academia and continue to contribute in this way.1 But knowledge creation is a complex process. Knowledge creation at the doctoral level and beyond requires a comprehensive understanding of relevant knowledge, sound judgment, and the ability to advise with insight. Doctoral learning also includes aspects such as abstract reasoning, the ability to conceptualise, and problem solving. Thus, through the original contribution candidates are expected to create during the doctorate, they are supposed to become experts in their chosen field of study. This process has been described by Evans (2014) as disciplinary acculturation. Various authors (for example Danby & Lee 2012; Lin & Cranton 2005; Manathunga & Goozée 2007) point out that this process of becoming an expert is by no means easy or straightforward. Rather, developing as a scholar is a lifelong process in which moving from a novice to an expert is an essential rite of passage into academic practice (Dreyfus & Dreyfus 1986). Benmore (2014) states that for those pursuing academic careers, it involves coming to know, but also coming to be an academic. Such a process of becoming doctorate implies movement over time, progression, and transformation (Barnacle, 2005).
- ItemA small-scale classroom research approach to curriculum renewal(AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2011) Koen, MarietteINTRODUCTION: Ross argues that the term curriculum can be interpreted as the organisation of desired learning experiences and that it represents a guide to lecturers of what is to be taught in specific institutions (Ross 2000:8). Challenges to organise such learning experiences in order to optimise teaching and learning opportunities are nothing new. Over the past decades universities have experienced increasing pressure from government, stakeholders and employers to design programmes that prepare graduates for today’s competitive working environments. In Chapter 1 of this book, Bitzer confirms this issue by outlining the need for a systematic and scholarly approach to curriculum inquiry as a measure to address academic achievement demands and to keep curricula relevant and effective. Stefani (2009:40) adds that the way a curriculum is designed will influence the way in which students approach their learning. It is therefore not surprising that South African teachers in higher education are constantly reminded to measure the effectiveness of their programmes in order to enhance student learning. A practical challenge is thus how to design a curriculum in the current accountability environment, one that provides students with authentic learning experiences in which they are provided with opportunities to demonstrate skills, knowledge and values required for their future professions.
- ItemStudent-supervisor relationships in a complex society : a dual narrative of scholarly becoming(SUN MeDIA, 2016) Mkhabela, Zondiwe L.; Frick, B. LiezelINTRODUCTION: Doctoral pedagogy is complex, partly due to the intricacies of the student-supervisor relationship. Manathunga (2005) refers to this relationship as taking place in a private space, which is especially true in the case of the apprenticeship approach to supervision where doctoral students often work in relative isolation with one or two supervisors. In the South African context, this (relatively private) relationship can be even more complicated as a result of the complex historical past that still influences current learning spaces (as Daniela Gachago’s first chapter in this book highlights). The racial inequalities enforced under the apartheid regime and which date even further back to colonial rule have left an indelible mark on South African education, including doctoral education.
- ItemThreshold crossings and doctoral education: learning from the examination of doctoral education(AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2016) Wisker, Gina; Kiley, Margaret; Masika, RachelIntroduction: Doctoral supervision has been identified as a key factor in timely PhD completion. Therefore, this chapter sets out to explore what can be learned from doctoral examinations to support doctoral education and supervision. Applying the lens of threshold concepts theories it reflects on findings raised in previous research reports. We argue that threshold concepts theories, in addition to providing useful insights for doctoral examining, also inform supervisory approaches and enhance doctoral students’ learning and completion. We show that understanding conceptual threshold crossing at different stages in a doctoral student’s learning journey, and the learning, teaching and supervision which support this, can lead to more effective learner strategies, focused guidance and student preparation.