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- Volume 27, Issue 4, 2013
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 27, Issue 4, 2013
Volumes & issues
Volume 27, Issue 4, 2013
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 769 –780 (2013)More Less
In this article two colleagues are in conversation regarding doctoral supervision: The first author acted as a doctoral supervisor, while the collaborative author was a doctoral candidate during three years of study. The first author offers a narrative account of his sceptical encounter with the candidate while the candidate offers an account of her experiences during her doctoral studies. Drawing on the seminal thoughts of Harvard philosopher Stanley Cavell (1997), particularly on his ideas on 'living with scepticism', the first author argues that postgraduate student supervision ought to be an encounter framed by scepticism. He points out that supervising students sceptically might engender moments of acknowledging humanity within the Other (autonomous action); attachment to the Other's points of view with a readiness for departure (deliberative engagement); and showing responsibility to the Other (recognition of the other). Not necessarily in response, but certainly in conversation, the candidate presents her own experiences of encountering two unknowns, namely, the writing process demanded by a doctoral dissertation, and the unknown Other of a doctoral supervisor. She journeys her shift from naïve attachment to a writing that she thought she owned to one of mature detachment, strong enough to stand on its own. In exploring the necessary sense of completion and arrival that ought to accompany the doctoral process, the candidate singles out elements of trust, belief and the knowledge that the doctoral supervisor ought to attach the same value to a student's work as he/she does. Finally, in recognition of the unexpected of the doctoral journey, the candidate reflects on the flourishing of a friendship, which emerged from an encounter of scepticism.
'Love it when you speak foreign' : a trans-national perspective on the professional development of doctoral supervisors in South AfricaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 781 –796 (2013)More Less
Being a successful doctoral supervisor and adhering to international requirements and contexts involves important qualities, for example: being knowledgeable in disciplines and understanding different methodologies; being sensitive to cultural diversity; and cultivating interpersonal relationships. As doctoral candidates and their supervisors carry major responsibilities, doctoral quality and success are associated with several challenges. This article explores some of these challenges and suggests that candidates and supervisors might contribute more substantially to new knowledge if international quality measures for theses and 'doctorateness' (or 'doctoralness') are considered. This explorative study reports on descriptive and analytical findings from a project whereby three senior academics from three countries collaborated and acted as facilitators of research and developmental efforts concerning doctoral education and the professional development of doctoral supervisors. Such efforts involved both supervisors and doctoral candidates - the latter whose views are seen as important to shape supervisors' views of their own supervisory practices and standards for the doctorate. The article outlines the processes and feedback from a series of developmental opportunities that were created and provides guidelines as to how trans-national efforts - particularly, but not exclusively, in the context of a developing country - can be used to promote doctoral education and the professional development of doctoral supervisors.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 797 –814 (2013)More Less
Continuous and non-continuous functions as school topics are dealt with in grades 10 to 12 at South African high schools as prescribed by the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement. This article reports on the use of a combined framework for mathematical thinking that incorporated the ideas of the Action-Process-Object-Schema (APOS) and Three Worlds of Mathematics (TWM) theories developed in a previous article (Brijlall and Maharaj 2011). The present study is qualitative in that it reports on those pre-service teachers' mental constructions of the concept of continuity of single-valued functions, obtained from an analysis of their responses to examination questions. The four pre-service teachers in the study specialised in the teaching of mathematics for the Further Education and Training (FET) high school curriculum at an education faculty in a South African university. One of the rationales for assessment was to obtain informed feedback on the effect of instructional treatments. The pre-service teachers' responses in their final examination were analysed using a modified framework for reflective abstraction (MFRA). The current article is follow-up to a two-tiered concurrent approach which engaged pre-service teacher with an instructional design worksheet and collaborations in order to develop mathematical understandings of the concept of continuity. In the study it was found that the mathematics pre-service teachers worked in a symbolic world of the MFRA. There was no clear demarcation between the embodied and symbolic worlds of the MFRA. The pre-service teachers either used either one or the other, or moved flexibly between them when offering their explanations.
Author P. De VilliersSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 815 –837 (2013)More Less
Currently no distinction is made in the financing of higher education (HE) in South Africa with respect to race. It would thus be expected that all racial groups would receive the same subsidy per student. This article investigates whether it actually works this way in reality. The analysis is done for 2000 and 2006 and estimated subsidies are calculated per headcount of students as well as full-time equivalent (FTE) student numbers. A further distinction is made between calculations for all students and for contact students only. In the last instance a distinction is also made between those students studying in the Social Sciences and those in the Natural Sciences. From this analysis it follows that there are indeed differences between the subsidies paid per student and that Indian and white students still receive the biggest subsidies. This is directly linked to the fact that a greater percentage of these students study in the Natural Sciences (who receive a subsidy 2½ times more than the subsidy of students in the Social Sciences) than is the case for African and Coloured students. This unintended inequality should be addressed at school level already by encouraging a larger percentage of learners to take Mathematics and/or Science.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 838 –857 (2013)More Less
Marketing is currently regarded as an essential set of principles and practices which are necessary in order to attract and retain customers. Colleges and other service providers are faced with competitive situations where it is necessary to meet their customers' needs satisfactorily and to have competitive advantage that will ensure their long-term survival. Unfortunately, there is inadequate knowledge on the application of marketing practices for competitiveness in public further education and training (FET) colleges in South Africa. It was thus necessary to look into the marketing practices that are being used for competitiveness by public FET colleges in Gauteng.
A survey was undertaken to describe the current state of affairs in FET colleges in Gauteng with respect to the marketing practices being used to ensure competitiveness. The survey was conducted using a questionnaire, with a sample size of 250. The relevant findings about the respondents indicate that they were positive about marketing practices used by their colleges for competitiveness, but they need to understand the practices of marketing better for increasing competitiveness in their respective colleges.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 858 –874 (2013)More Less
Most literature sources are based on negative assumptions about contract workers and career success. Despite the growing number of contract workers employed at higher education institutions (HEIs), and the changes it elicits in the work place, there has been little theoretical work conducted about a positive perspective of contract workers in relation to achieving organisational or personal goals. A review of the topic about contract workers has been undertaken from the perspective of motivational leadership, incorporating the theoretical perspectives of the goal setting theory (Locke 1960 in Jooste 2009) and the model of complex man and organisations (Schein 1992 in Jooste 2009).
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 875 –899 (2013)More Less
This article presents the empirical findings of a study undertaken to compare the views of language editors and supervisors concerning the appropriate level of editorial intervention in the production of postgraduate dissertations and theses within the South African higher education context. Masters and doctoral students are required to demonstrate scholarship by presenting their research in a clear, well-structured manner that is in accordance with the rigours of academic writing. The lack of such writing and presentation skills is increasingly being recognised as a significant obstacle to the successful completion of postgraduate qualifications. Against the background of these and other problems, the traditional supervisory model, which emphasises monitoring the student's autonomous research in a dyadic student-supervisor relationship, is shifting towards a collaborative mentoring model that comprises several role players, including a professional language editor. The involvement of an editor raises issues concerning the dimensions the editor should become involved in; the degree of editorial intervention; and the method of editing. In order to gain a balanced perspective on these issues, a self-administered questionnaire comprising an inventory of editing tasks, modes of editing and modes of querying was e-mailed to a census of South African editors registered with the South African Translators' Institute (SATI) and/or the Professional Editors' Group (PEG). The same questionnaire, with minor adjustments, was e-mailed to a census of supervisors employed at South African universities who had agreed to participate in the study. The findings indicated that while there was a convergence of editor-supervisor opinion concerning the structural and content editing tasks not being appropriate, opinions differed on the stylistic and copy-editing tasks considered appropriate, with supervisors adopting a more conservative view. The combined responses yielded a restricted set of tasks limited to only the most basic copy-editing tasks that are viewed as appropriate in the editing of dissertations and theses.
Contractual relations between employers and employees in an HEI : individual and organisational outcomesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 900 –919 (2013)More Less
The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between employees' experiences of contractual relations and job satisfaction, flourishing and turnover intention in a higher education institution (HEI). A cross-sectional survey design was used with 300 academic and support staff members. The State of the Employment and Psychological Contract Scales, Violation of Psychological Contract Scale, Job Satisfaction Scale, Mental Health Continuum - Short Form and Intention to Quit Scale were administered. The results showed that psychological contract violation, job dissatisfaction and low flourishing (emotional, psychological and social well-being) directly impact turnover intention. Lack of psychological contract fulfilment indirectly and negatively impact job satisfaction and flourishing via psychological contract violation. Psychological contract violation indirectly impacts turnover intention via job dissatisfaction and low flourishing of employees in an HEI. The results confirmed the importance of psychological contract fulfilment and non-violation for the job satisfaction, flourishing and retention of staff in HEIs.
Key information sources influencing prospective students' university choice : a South African perspectiveSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 920 –940 (2013)More Less
Universities are facing increasingly complex trends and challenges in attracting and retaining the best students. This has coaxed university marketers to embrace marketing practices and ideas in order to acquire and retain these students. The aim of this study was to understand potential students' decision-making with respect to what and who influences them when choosing a university. The research design is descriptive and self-administered questionnaires were fielded to first-year students at a comprehensive university early in the academic year. A total of 1 290 useable responses were realised. The study discovered that brochures and the students' parents are most influential in their choice. Significant differences were uncovered based upon the respondents' demographics and key information sources that influence university choice. The findings imply that university marketers should segment the prospective student market by taking into account that prospective students differ with regard to the extent of who and what influence their university choice.
Developing a researcher identity : a reflective narration of postgraduate students' supervision experiences in a research projectSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 941 –952 (2013)More Less
Postgraduate students go through diverse experiences as they struggle with the construction of their identities towards becoming 'researchers'. Such diversity is even more pronounced when they are supervised within a large-scale research project where they interact with a number of supervisors from different disciplines. This article analyses postgraduate students' learning experiences on becoming researchers in a research project using situated learning theory. The analysis focuses on different experiences, such as mentoring towards conference presentations and writing for publication. We suggest that in addition to the completion of doctoral or master's degrees, postgraduate supervision through large projects may facilitate the development of researcher identity and enhance institutions' research outputs as long as there is trust, collaboration and devolution of power among the members of a research community of practice.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 953 –965 (2013)More Less
The attainment of democracy in South Africa brought many previously disadvantaged families new hope and promise for enhanced entry to higher education. However, as these opportunities continue to grow, this research study asked whether these students are ready to make effective use of their expanded prospects. This qualitative study was informed by the Interactive Model of Career Decision-Making. It focused on family and community influences in tertiary educational career decision-making with special reference to black South African students' context of historical disadvantage. Family and community variables, such as socio-economic status, culture, parental influence, family composition and support, were investigated. Thematic analysis indicated strong links between family socio-economic status and student career decisions. Familial support further emerged as an important factor when students make career decisions.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 966 –984 (2013)More Less
This article reports on a study that investigated principals' views of the use of computers in 35 secondary schools in Cape Town, South Africa. School principals use computers to assist them in their administrative and managerial duties. The principals' promotion and support regarding the use of computers in their schools, depends on how useful the principals consider computers to be. The research question of this study discusses principals' views on the importance of computers, the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) policy, computer resources and issues related to the use of computers in schools. Qualitative analysis was used because it allowed the researcher to investigate trends or patterns in similarities. Content analysis was used to analyse the data. The researcher was searching for themes and trying to get a sense of the 'why' and 'how' of principals related to the use of computers in their schools. Data were collected from 35 questionnaires completed by school principals. The objective of the study was to investigate the role played by principals regarding the use of computers in their schools. The study found that principals strongly believe that computers must never replace the value of educators. The role model position of the educator in the classroom is critical, especially to those learners who come from poor backgrounds. Principals professed that the purchase, maintenance and support of computers are their biggest constraints.
Community engagement and service learning in a South African university : the challenges of adaptive leadershipAuthor J. PreeceSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 986 –1004 (2013)More Less
This article presents the preliminary findings of two community engagement (CE)/service learning case studies undertaken at a South African university. The following criteria were used for selecting the case studies: they were community needs-led; attracted a multidisciplinary team approach; and involved service learning (SL) students from different disciplines. The findings highlight the challenges of negotiating these three dimensions, and the perceived learning benefits for community, staff and student participants. The article draws on SL and CE literature which highlights the paucity of research regarding multidisciplinary engagement or the community voice in service learning projects. It frames its discussion around theories of community development, with reference to the concepts of adaptive leadership and collaboration. It concludes by stating that small-scale projects can demonstrate mutually beneficial outcomes for all partners but that communication and leadership are multi-layered, requiring university vigilance in relation to competing values and purposes.
Cognitive coaching : strengthening Grade R teachers' leadership capacity as supervising partners of student teachersSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 1005 –1020 (2013)More Less
Effective lesson planning and analysis are important aspects of teaching and learning. Any collaborative partnership between universities and schools to improve teaching practice in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector is a sound investment in the future of young learners. This research project explored the contribution of cognitive coaching to the leadership capacity of Grade R teachers as supervising partners of student teachers. The purpose of the research project was to provide support to and share expertise amongst the participating Grade R teachers and teacher educators in the ECD sector through cognitive coaching with a view to enhancing the capacity of all participants. In this article I report on a collaborative partnership that was initiated between the University of Stellenbosch and Grade R teachers. The research results indicate that the project has had positive effects for the Grade R teachers as supervising partners of student teachers and also impacted on student teacher development. In the process real benefits accrued with time as expertise and competence improved confidence in the work contexts and thus the practice of participating ECD teachers and practitioners.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 1021 –1037 (2013)More Less
Students' future career aspirations and expectations are essential precursors of adult attainment. The study sought to determine the impact of poverty and how family income influences the ability of their children to pursue their preferred career choices. A cross-sectional study amongst Faculty of Education students was conducted at three universities of technology in South Africa. The study sample comprised 141 students. The study found that 69. 2 per cent of the students bemoaned either a lack of or inadequate family income as the most common impediment towards realising their chosen career choices. Furthermore, 34.8 per cent ranked Teaching as the highest career choice, followed by Engineering with 14.2 per cent and Accounting/Finance with 11.3 per cent. Through life-skills courses and programmes, learners should not only be exposed to various career choices, but also made aware of available sources of finance such as bursaries and loans.
Ethnic identity, collective self-esteem and academic self-efficacy among black and white tertiary studentsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 1038 –1053 (2013)More Less
This article reports on a study that investigated the relationship between ethnic identity, collective self-esteem and academic self-efficacy among a sample of black (n = 81) and white (n = 55) students at a higher education institution (HEI). For the black sample, positive correlations were found between ethnic identity and academic self-efficacy, as well as between collective self-esteem and academic self-efficacy. For the white sample, however, no correlation was found between any of these variables. These findings are discussed in relation to the black respondents' possible experiences and perceptions of racial discrimination in the context of the study, wherein they are a minority. This is also taking into account the history of institutionalised discrimination against blacks during the apartheid era and the fact that the study took place in a historically white HEI.
Reconfiguring dualism and difference : the (il)logic of theory/academic knowledge and development/practice in HE research and practiceAuthor M. WalkerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 1054 –1070 (2013)More Less
This article considers the dualism of theory and development or practice. This dualism is fairly well embedded in universities and may not be helpful for both knowledge making or practices, such as teaching. The article revisits the dualism in order to construct an ethics of higher education (HE) which draws substantially on both theory and practice in order to address Michael Sandel's (2009) question: 'What is the right thing to do?' Power and boundaries underpin the dualism; these are considered and an argument is made for productive alignments rather than dissolving one set of practices into another. Three issues of concern to the author frame the argument, namely: the work that theory does but equally the work that practice does; dialogic knowledge transfers; and which theories get taken up in HE with what practical effects. Some implications for change are then outlined.