oa South African Journal of Higher Education - Can extended curriculum programmes be improved through engagement with students using appreciative inquiry?

Volume 33 Number 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This research involves eight students at the University of Pretoria who identify with the Bachelor of Science (BSc) and the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) Extended Curriculum Programmes (ECPs). The study reports on the use of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to determine how these students describe the best aspects of the programmes and the attributes that they developed in order to succeed. The aim was to extrapolate the findings to develop an improvement plan informed by students’ perspectives. The narratives from semi-structured interviews conducted during the Discovery and Dream stages of the modified Appreciative Inquiry 4-D process are reported. Six views emerged: sense of family and belonging; peer mentoring and support networks; coping with failure and developing self-efficacy; the underdog phenomenon, self-motivation and support for mainstream students; the student advising model; and extended curriculum programmes as a first option. In the Design phase, these views will be incorporated to formulate an improvement plan for the programmes.

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