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- Volume 22, Issue 2, 2008
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 22, Issue 2, 2008
Volumes & issues
Volume 22, Issue 2, 2008
Author L. Le GrangeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 241 –24 (2008)More Less
Environmental problems have reached unprecedented levels, raising the perennial existential question of how we should live once more, as well as educational ones such as what and how we should learn. There have also been calls in recent decades for development and living to occur more sustainably and the years from 2005 to 2014 have been declared the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. It is against this background that I discuss the notion of sustainability in relation to higher education, emphasising the limits of disciplinary knowledge in capturing the complexity associated with the construct sustainability.
Author A. ArcherSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 248 –264 (2008)More Less
Writing is one of the main means of assessment in tertiary institutions and helping students with writing could improve their overall academic performance and could ensure that students proceed to graduation. More and more, Academic Development initiatives are being 'driven to demonstrate their "success" by substantiating the rhetoric of their mission statements with researched evidence of performance' (Yeld and Visser 2001, 6). This article describes in detail one study investigating Writing Centre interventions by looking at improvement in assessed writing in the context of the curriculum. The context-embedded nature of the methodology coheres with an 'academic literacies' approach to student writing (Lea and Street 1998), rather than a skills-based approach. The study was achieved through interviewing forty first year students on their perceptions of the Centre and its influence on their writing; looking at consultants' comments; looking at grades; comparing independent assessments of the students' first and final drafts. This multi-faceted approach enabled a holistic and contextualized picture of student writing to emerge.
Author E.M. BitzerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 265 –281 (2008)More Less
Being appointed or promoted to the position of 'professor' resonates with notions of a relatively high academic standing in the realms of higher education. Or does it? This article poses the question: Is it not true that some South African universities suffer from professorial status inflation on the basis that professorial positions have been, and are being filled by individuals who do not merit the minimum required status? This question is addressed from three viewpoints: firstly, from a view on what the title 'professor' denotes in an international context, secondly, from the assumption that teaching excellence on its own might not be an appropriate or sufficient criterion to promote someone to a professorial position - particularly if an Anglo-European view of the professoriate is maintained - and thirdly, from a proposition that professorial positions have been filled at South African universities on bases other than scholarly merit. The article draws on data generated from a sample of current professors' views on the professorial status at universities in South Africa and concludes that universities in this country might risk losing international academic status and recognition if they are insensitive to scholarly criteria and guidelines when considering staff for promotion or appointment to the academic status of 'professor'.
Teacher migration impact : a review in the context of quality education provision and teacher training in higher education in Southern AfricaAuthor B. BrownSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 282 –301 (2008)More Less
Teacher mobility has become a common feature of the cross-border flows and transnational networks that constitute globalisation. International and intraregional migration of teachers is an important factor in education provision and management in countries in the Southern Africa region, for example Botswana and South Africa. In an increasingly global context of teacher migration, education practitioners continue to strive for quality education. But has the mobility of teachers mediated the quality of education, and what are the implication of this for teacher education and training in higher education? This article explores teacher migration trends and dimensions of quality education, and assesses the impact that such teacher mobility has on education quality dimensions. The implications of teacher migration for teacher training in higher education are also explored. The article argues that teacher mobility negatively impacts education quality dimensions as well as the demand dynamics on higher education institutions for teachers in the migration origin countries. These concerns represent one of the major exclusions in the existing reflections on quality education provision and teacher supply and demand.
Establishing a space of dialogue and possibilities : student experience and meaning at the University of the WitwatersrandSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 302 –321 (2008)More Less
The article explores student responses to institutional changes to accommodate increasingly diverse students into a cohesive community. It deals with student perceptions of current campus practices, social interaction, their interpretations of these, and how these relate to their experiences. It argues that, while the university has excelled in implementing strategies to improve student satisfaction, and while many students have responded positively to these, a sense of discontent persists for a large sector. This discontent has less to do with the degree of institutional change than with the different ways in which students experience these changes and the meanings they attach to them. It suggests that changes in campus life go beyond policies and structural changes to include mediation strategies that facilitate negotiation of shared spaces and meanings about campus experiences.
Author N.S. GweleSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 322 –332 (2008)More Less
Contemporary discourse on the changed role of the Dean of an academic institution underscores the importance of aligning Faculty goals and objectives with the institution's vision and mission. This article focuses on the dean as an academic leader charged with the responsibility of shaping the character of the Faculty within a results-driven context, with limited discretion and / or resources. The purpose is to share views and experiences in charting and directing the course of the Faculty in the absence of shared vision and mission at institutional level. The article will also recommend strategies for helping academic line managers at departmental level stay focused in an effort to contribute toward the realisation of a faculty's vision and goals. The significance of strategic and participative leadership in ensuring faculty ownership of the developed faculty strategy cannot be overemphasised.
Scientific knowledge and higher education in the 21st century : the case against 'indigenous science'Author K. HorsthemkeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 333 –347 (2008)More Less
The emphasis on 'indigenous science' is a recent phenomenon in higher education as elsewhere. There are several projects that underlie this idea: publicisation of the victimisation and exploitation of the areas of practice and research constituting 'ethnoscience', acknowledgement of their autonomy, and their inclusion in tertiary educational curricula. Appeals to indigenous scientific knowledge systems and indigenous knowledge production, therefore, have reclamation as their central focus. This article attempts to cast doubt on the plausibility of this enterprise. For anything to be called 'science', it necessarily involves reference to laws or regularities, observation, description, explanation, prediction and testable hypothesis. While practices, skills and beliefs, and the ascription or attribution of scientific knowledge may vary according to personal, social or cultural context, scientific knowledge and truth as such do not so vary. It is this insight, and not adherence to a questionable idea, that has profound implications for higher education and tertiary curricula.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 348 –362 (2008)More Less
Since 1984, the National Research Foundation (NRF) in South Africa has evaluated and rated researchers, using peer review of the recent research outputs and impact of each applicant's work. This article reports on an investigation into the evolution of the research careers of Y-rated researchers (young researchers with potential) in the natural sciences and engineering from 1984 - 2005, the support they received, the obstacles they faced, and their opinion of the evaluation and rating system. Most respondents endorsed the system and the career-development opportunities of a Y rating. Half of the former Y-rated researchers remained in South African academia; only a quarter, however, expressed satisfaction with the levels of support received. The responses, as well as recommendations for further strategies to retain and develop promising young scholars, are of special interest to the NRF, university administrators, and policy authorities, since Y-rated researchers represent the next generation of South Africa's top researchers.
Author S.M. MaistrySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 363 –374 (2008)More Less
Continuing professional development (CPD) of teachers is a neglected area of teacher development in South Africa. The introduction of a new national curriculum in the post-apartheid era presents enormous challenges for teachers. CPD initiatives in South Africa thus far have been fragmented, diluted and have had little direct influence on teachers' practice. This article draws on a community of practice framework and applies the work of Wenger (1998) and Wenger, McDermott and Snyder (2004) in analysing the development of CPD communities of practice. It argues that Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) through their community outreach initiatives can play a powerful role in advancing teacher continuing professional development by developing and strengthening teacher communities of practice.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 375 –390 (2008)More Less
The birth of democracy in South Africa resulted in the mammoth task of transforming the higher education sector. Policies, structures, procedures and processes underwent a review that hoped to align the system with the needs of the wider population of the country. Among other strategies that are used for this process are quality assurance processes such as institutional audits.
This article hopes to highlight the rationale and the benefits inherent in institutional audits as quality assurance mechanisms in South African higher education. It investigates the perceptions of academics of a specific part of the process; i.e. preparing for the implementation of audits, and further contests the idea that institutional audits in higher education stifle academic performance.
The changing academic profession in higher education and new managerialism and corporatism in South AfricaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 391 –403 (2008)More Less
This article is part of an international research project which is investigating the changing nature of the academic profession in twenty-two countries in the twenty-first century. This article focuses on the discourses of global competition; the permeation of a business ethos and higher education values; the quest for efficiency; diversification and changes in funding frameworks; and the increasing demand for higher education. The article draws from results of surveys made in the academic profession in South Africa in order to examine, firstly, the nature of the academic profession in South Africa and highlights the impacts of the global economy and new managerialism on institutional structures. Secondly, the article explores how these changes have brought about changes in the roles of academics and management in higher education institutions in South Africa. The article examines institutional demands on academics as a response to these changes, the permeation of business values and ethos in higher education institutions, and their implications for the academic profession and individual academics.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 404 –422 (2008)More Less
The objective of this study is to investigate the relationships between burnout, ill health, job demands and resources, and dispositional optimism in a higher education institution in South Africa. A survey design was used. The study population (N = 279) consisted of academic staff working in a higher education institution. The Maslach Burnout Inventory - General Survey, The Life Orientation Test - Revised, Job Demands-Resources Scale and the Health subscale of the ASSET were used as measuring instruments. A good fit was found for a model in which burnout (exhaustion and cynicism) mediated the relationship between perceived high job demands and low availability of job resources, and ill health. Dispositional optimism had direct effects on burnout and ill health.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 423 –438 (2008)More Less
The aim of this article is to report on the strategies which were used to teach research design to Masters students, as part of my professional development as higher education practitioner. The focus is on exploring the use of cooperative learning as a vehicle to facilitate the acquiring of knowledge and skills in terms of research methodology. This is an action research project guided by the research question: To what extent can cooperative learning be used to assist students to acquire and develop research knowledge and skills? Included in the article are the various activities which I undertook in order to provide students with the opportunity to practically apply theoretical knowledge and thus to improve the understanding of what research entails and how the various elements fit together. Findings indicate that students enjoyed the approach to teaching and learning and found the activities used 'enriching'. Furthermore, there was a clear progression in which students moved from being 'reactionary and see[ing] themselves more like empty vessels to be filled with knowledge' to participating as stated by a student 'group work activities expect more of the learner than just sitting and listening to a lecturer'. This method of teaching enables students to decide on the 'way we learners have to construct our own knowledge'.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 439 –456 (2008)More Less
The objectives of this study are to assess the psychometric properties of an adapted version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS) for academic staff in South African higher education institutions and to investigate differences between the burnout levels of different demographic groups. A survey design was used, with stratified random samples (N = 595) taken of academics in six South African universities. Exploratory factor analysis with target rotations resulted in a three-factor model of burnout, consisting of Exhaustion, Mental Distance and Professional Efficacy. The scales showed acceptable internal consistencies and construct equivalence for two language groups. Practically significant differences were found in the burnout levels of academics with regard to their age.
Author L.R. UysSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 457 –465 (2008)More Less
The article explores the issue of protecting the good name and reputation of institutions and organisations in which research is being done. It explores current ethical codes in this regard, as well as legal provision for such protection. The issue of balancing the right of the researchers to share information about institutions in which research is done, with the need for organisations to protect their good names is discussed, and recommendations will be made with regard to the inclusion of this aspect of research ethics into the brief of ethics committees and the way in which organisations can be protected without jeopardising the aims of research.