Chapters in Books (Centre for Higher and Adult Education)

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    The professional development of academics: In pursuit of scholarship
    (AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2009) Frick, Liezel; Kapp, Chris
    In 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.
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    Journeying with higher education studies and research: A personal perspective
    (AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2009) Bitzer, Eli
    This 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.
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    Threshold crossings and doctoral education: learning from the examination of doctoral education
    (AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2016) Wisker, Gina; Kiley, Margaret; Masika, Rachel
    Introduction: 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.
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    Academic literacy as a graduate attribute: implications for thinking about curriculum
    (AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2011) Leibowitz, Brenda
    INTRODUCTION: 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.
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    A small-scale classroom research approach to curriculum renewal
    (AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2011) Koen, Mariette
    INTRODUCTION: 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.