n South African Journal of Higher Education - Academic development in the mainstream : a case study in an undergraduate engineering programme in South Africa

Volume 29, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



A recent Council on Higher Education (CHE 2013a) report has highlighted the poor graduation throughputs in South African undergraduate programmes. Academic development constitutes the current university response to these challenges and to date much work has focused on the establishment of foundation programmes. The present case study - centred on the chemical engineering programme at the University of Cape Town (UCT, South Africa) - offers an analysis of the possibilities for academic development in the mainstream programme. Quantitative longitudinal analyses of cohort graduate throughput showed significant improvements over two decades, both in aggregate and in demographic breakdown. A survey of academic staff in the programme pointed to the significant impact of the establishment, in the early 1990s, of a post focusing on academic development. These findings also gave evidence of a departmental culture centred on critical debate and innovation in the undergraduate programme.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error