Research Articles (Centre for Teaching and Learning)

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    Experiential Education Conference at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, 10–11 November 2020
    (African Minds, 2020) Schreiber, Birgit
    Experiential Education as Pedagogy for Social Justice, Praxis and Practice for Shaping 21st‑Century Global Citizen LeadersStellenbosch University’s Division Student Affairs, Centre for Student Leadership, Experiential Education end Citizenship’s Co-curriculum Office, presented the Stellenbosch University Experiential Education Conference (SUEEC) from 10 to 11 November 2020. This was Stellenbosch University’s first online conference and a first in South Africa and Africa focusing on experiential education and social justice. This two-day virtual highereducation conference was designed with experiential educators in civil society, university student affairs practitioners, and academics from across the world.The conference theme of ‘Experiential education as pedagogy for social justice: praxis and practice for shaping 21st century global citizen leaders’ emerged even more pertinent at a time of mass global upheaval, uncertainty and humanitarian crises. The intention of the SUEEC was to spotlight emerging trends and transitions in the higher education experiential learning domain and the intersections thereof with social justice and the formation of the global citizen leader. To accomplish the above entailed inviting world renown keynote speakers and subject matter experts, and to call for abstracts, master classesand exemplars (examples of best practice in experiential education).
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    Student affairs in a traumatic year
    (JSAA Editors in collaboration with Stellenbosch University and African Sun Media, 2020) Schreiber, Birgit; Moja, Teboho; Luescher, Thierry M.
    The year 2020 is a year that we will remember globally in higher education as having been most unusual, indeed, traumatic. If at the beginning of 2020 the year had a hopeful ring with plenty, as it comes to an end it is hard to just try and make sense of the extent that theexperience of higher education has been changed so incisively within a short time for both staff and students. And the signs are already there that the post-Covid‑19 period will not be short of new challenges either. Challenges like addressing the increased mental health issuesstudents suffer due to the crisis, illness, loss of loved ones and more. Moreover, there are many student groups whose ability to learn has been severely impacted by the pandemic and lockdown, including students from poor households, rural students, and students with special needs. As we noted in our last editorial, for these students, the campus environment and the services offered by Student Affairs departments is normally able to level the ‘playing field’ of learning. It will require yet another extra effort by student affairs professionals, academics, administrators, fellow students and the communities and families to ensure that these students can catch up and have access to the same quality and quantity of learning opportunities within supportive contexts over the course of their studies as others who have been less impacted.
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    A wake-up call : equity, inequality and Covid-19 emergency remote teaching and learning
    (Springer, 2020-09-23) Czerniewicz, Laura; Agherdien, Najma; Badenhorst, Johan; Belluigi, Dina; Chambers, Tracey; Chili, Muntuwenkosi; De Villiers, Magriet; Felix, Alan; Gachago, Daniela; Gokhale, Craig; Ivala, Eunice; Kramm, Neil; Madiba, Matete; Mistri, Gitanjali; Mgqwashu, Emmanuel; Pallitt, Nicola; Prinsloo, Paul; Solomon, Kelly; Strydom, Sonja C.; Swanepoel, Mike; Waghid, Faiq; Wissing, Gerrit
    Produced from experiences at the outset of the intense times when Covid-19 lockdown restrictions began in March 2020, this collaborative paper offers the collective reflections and analysis of a group of teaching and learning and Higher Education (HE) scholars from a diverse 15 of the 26 South African public universities. In the form of a theorised narrative insistent on foregrounding personal voices, it presents a snapshot of the pandemic addressing the following question: what does the ‘pivot online’ to Emergency Remote Teaching and Learning (ERTL), forced into urgent existence by the Covid-19 pandemic, mean for equity considerations in teaching and learning in HE? Drawing on the work of Therborn (2009: 20– 32; 2012: 579–589; 2013; 2020) the reflections consider the forms of inequality - vital, resource and existential - exposed in higher education. Drawing on the work of Tronto (1993; 2015; White and Tronto 2004) the paper shows the networks of care which were formed as a counter to the systemic failures of the sector at the onset of the pandemic.
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    Critical interdisciplinary dialogues : towards a pedagogy of well-being in STEM disciplines and fields
    (HESA, 2018) Winberg, C.; Bozalek, V. G.; Conana, H.; Wright, J.; Wolff, K. E.; Pallitt, N.; Adendorff, H.
    Students enrolled in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) globally and in South Africa are generally not in a state of well-being. International and South African research studies show that undergraduate STEM programmes pose significant challenges to students and that many STEM programmes are marked by high attrition rates and poor student success. There is growing recognition that STEM educators need to teach the “whole student” instead of focussing only on STEM knowledge and skills. In order to teach in a holistic way, university educators themselves need to understand and achieve their own well-being. The paper argues that pedagogy of well-being and its associated concepts of competence, self-efficacy, community and inter-relatedness are key to academic staff and student well-being in the STEM disciplines. The focus of this paper is an inter-institution study on enhancing STEM educators’ capacity towards a pedagogy of well-being through teaching portfolio development in diverse institutional contexts. The research question guiding is the study is: How might academic development practitioners and STEM university educators’ successfully collaborate for the benefit of student well-being and success? Data for this study was obtained from “critical dialogues” between academic development practitioners and STEM university teachers, as well as an external evaluation of the project. The data comprise video-recordings of the critical dialogues and survey responses. The findings of the study indicate that there are barriers as well as productive spaces for interdisciplinary work towards well-being in STEM teaching and learning. The findings have implications for how STEM academics might engage in professional learning towards pedagogical competence, and offer suggestions for the ways in which academic developers might respectfully “transgress” into STEM disciplinary domains in support of a pedagogy of well-being in the STEM disciplines and fields.
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    Professional 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.