n South African Journal of Higher Education - Staff perceptions of teaching and research at the University of the North




This article discusses the views of selected Heads of Departments at the University of the North, based on interviews conducted to explore their perceptions of research and teaching and link between the two. It was found that there were sharply divergent views on what constitutes research and teaching and different views on how the two are linked. There also appear to be conflicting views on what is available and what is required to support an effective teaching and research environment. Research was more highly rated as an academic activity It appears that many of the problems involved in developing a coherent teaching and research policy, as well as many of the problems in curriculum development, assessment, evaluation and academic recognition, which appear to be practical problems, are traceable to fundamentally different conceptions of knowledge that underlay teaching and research practices. It would also seem that academics find enquiries into their teaching and research quite threatening. It is suggested that the most effective way for the a university to improve its teaching and research practice would be to insist that departments are able to publically articulate the rationale for their practices. The University of the North due to its intrinsic nature, and projected against the background of its inauguration (both political and socio-economic), has in its early evolutionary development concentrated mainly on the function of raining for first degree and diploma qualifications. This resulted in serious neglect of the functions of research, curriculum vitae development of staff members and senior post-graduate training. This unhealthy situation was realized as early as 1975 [in] the Jackson Commission on the Africanization of the University of the North. Document on Research Strategy and Policy of the University of the North (UNIN 1994)


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