Brenda Leibowitz, Vivienne Bozalek
Susan van Schalkwyk, Chris Winberg

Context Matters: Academic
professional development ...
Context
Context: environment in which the (‘macro’)
features of the system are either reproduced or
transformed” (Archer 1...
Context
Multiple determination: multiple powers
reinforce or contradict each other.
“Causal efficacy” is a product of the ...
Professional development of teaching
•
•
•
•

Formal: formal programmes, short courses etc
Less structured: eg grants, col...
South African Higher Education
• Pop: 50 million; 23 universities
• Higher education influenced by apartheid past
– i.r.t....
Research Design
Participatory and collaborative
Multi-site
Macro, meso and micro levels
Meso:
Cape Peninsula University of...
Research Design
Meso:
Eight site reports (on the institution, its
policies and facilities)
Eight reflective reports (by he...
Research Design
8 response papers on factors that constrain and
enable:
quality teaching
uptake of professional developmen...
Research questions
• What structural and cultural properties
appear to constrain or enable quality teaching
and the profes...
Findings
Research questions
• What structural and cultural factors appear
to constrain or enable quality teaching and
the professio...
1. History, Geography and Resources
High staff turnover both within the centre – it is a
struggle to get people to stay, a...
2. Leadership and stability
When we have a DVC academic who has a full
understanding, things go smoothly, but in instances...
3. Discourses around teaching and
learning
Intrinsic value of teaching
I love teaching. … I just love it
Teaching v. resea...
4. Systems for Reward and Recognition
Work has been done to make a valuing of quality
teaching explicit within the descrip...
5. Capacity, Image and Status of CTL
staff
We are viewed as a support centre with an academic
function. We are not given f...
Research questions
• What structural and cultural factors appear to
constrain or enable quality teaching and the
professio...
How these play out in different
contexts
• Multidetermination (mutually reinforcing causal
powers)
Eg. UOT7: Staff student...
Research Limitations
• Some data based to a degree on selfreporting/views of very specific group
• Some data based on univ...
Significance
• Significance of multi-determination
• Structure and culture are frequently
interlinked
• Role of agency req...
Recommendations
National policies focusing on the enhancement of
teaching must take variation of local institutional
conte...
Recommendations
• Geography, history and resources
• Leadership and stability
• Discourses around teaching and learning
• ...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Leibowitz, bozalek, van schalkwyk and winberg

246 views

Published on

Heltasa 2013 presentation

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Leibowitz, bozalek, van schalkwyk and winberg

  1. 1. Brenda Leibowitz, Vivienne Bozalek Susan van Schalkwyk, Chris Winberg Context Matters: Academic professional development in South African Higher Education NRF Project: Structure, Culture and Agency Pretoria, HELTASA 2013
  2. 2. Context Context: environment in which the (‘macro’) features of the system are either reproduced or transformed” (Archer 1995, p. 11). This can refer to any level, from macro to micro. Context: the settings in which the systemic relations interact with the human or individual. Interplay of systemic (cultural and structural and agentic) features which have causal Powers
  3. 3. Context Multiple determination: multiple powers reinforce or contradict each other. “Causal efficacy” is a product of the parts and the relations combined” (Elder-Vass, 2010:28) “Tree structure” (Elder-Vass 2010: 28) – multiple possibility of outcomes that emerge in different directions
  4. 4. Professional development of teaching • • • • Formal: formal programmes, short courses etc Less structured: eg grants, collaborative schemes Situated learning, in context and via practice Encouraged by the environment – policies and practice • PD = what people learn, what they apply and what they are encouraged or enabled by the environment to acquire
  5. 5. South African Higher Education • Pop: 50 million; 23 universities • Higher education influenced by apartheid past – i.r.t. race and class – Institutions and what they provide • Institutions vary according to: – Institutional type – Geographical location – Merged or not – Previously advantaged v. disadvantaged
  6. 6. Research Design Participatory and collaborative Multi-site Macro, meso and micro levels Meso: Cape Peninsula University of Technology Durban University of Technology Rhodes University Stellenbosch University University of Cape Town University of Venda University of the Western Cape
  7. 7. Research Design Meso: Eight site reports (on the institution, its policies and facilities) Eight reflective reports (by heads of CLTs) (Data based on reports in public domain and perceptions of CTL Heads)
  8. 8. Research Design 8 response papers on factors that constrain and enable: quality teaching uptake of professional development opportunities work of the Centre for Teaching and Learning
  9. 9. Research questions • What structural and cultural properties appear to constrain or enable quality teaching and the professional development of academics in their teaching roles? • Are these factors linked to specific types of university contexts?
  10. 10. Findings
  11. 11. Research questions • What structural and cultural factors appear to constrain or enable quality teaching and the professional development of academics in their teaching roles? • Are these factors linked to specific types of university contexts?
  12. 12. 1. History, Geography and Resources High staff turnover both within the centre – it is a struggle to get people to stay, although the same could be said about the faculties, you work with them in the department, come next year, there are new people. At [our one rural campus] we struggle to retain staff because the town is not able to offer amenities, eg decent shopping, decent school for the kids, the university is not paying as much as other universities. Housing is a problem in [the rural campus], people stay in [nearby more comfortable towns] this commuting becomes too much… (HDI5).
  13. 13. 2. Leadership and stability When we have a DVC academic who has a full understanding, things go smoothly, but in instances where we had a DVC academic who was not so sure, things would not go as smoothly. Then the Director [of the TLC+ must explain and convince… (HDI5). Regular changes in leadership … result*ing] in differing strategic visions, organisational restructuring and financial outlays as they left the institution… the institution has had five Vice Chancellors since 2002.The longest period of service at this level has been two and a half years … Simultaneously there have been three DVCs … with various Deans acting in between (UoT8).
  14. 14. 3. Discourses around teaching and learning Intrinsic value of teaching I love teaching. … I just love it Teaching v. research push for the PhD (HAI3), focus on research (UoT8) Them v. us (Teachers v. CLT staff) then people turn around and say: ‘they refuse to help us’ (HAI1) lack of concern, knowledge or understanding of who our students are (HAI1), Blame the student under-preparedness on the part of the lecturers which shows itself when lecturers do not know how to deal with students from diverse backgrounds and lecturers who cannot vary their teaching methods (HDI5).
  15. 15. 4. Systems for Reward and Recognition Work has been done to make a valuing of quality teaching explicit within the descriptors around promotion and the merit awards … Having made the criteria explicit, has enabled people to have the conversation about promotion and future career which encourages them to take up the opportunities (HAI1)
  16. 16. 5. Capacity, Image and Status of CTL staff We are viewed as a support centre with an academic function. We are not given full academic status. It is constraining because some academics don’t take us seriously. They say we are not academics, we are looked at as a para-professional. It becomes difficult, if I must have an oversight role on what is happening in the classroom, and they say ‘you are a para-professional’. Even though we offer the PGDHE, we can’t run it ourselves, all the admin is done via the Faculty of Education. We are even denied to be in the graduation procession. We had to fight that (HDI5).
  17. 17. Research questions • What structural and cultural factors appear to constrain or enable quality teaching and the professional development of academics in their teaching roles? • Are these factors linked to specific types of university contexts?
  18. 18. How these play out in different contexts • Multidetermination (mutually reinforcing causal powers) Eg. UOT7: Staff student ratio Timetabling committee Vision of teaching as an ex technicon • Multidetermination (contrasting causal powers) Eg UOT8: Leadership instability Strong vision of CTL staff • Enablements and constraints are viewed differently in these different settings • Enablements and constraints not only at HAIs or vice versa
  19. 19. Research Limitations • Some data based to a degree on selfreporting/views of very specific group • Some data based on university self-portrayal eg information on university websites • Information on the domain of agency very limited
  20. 20. Significance • Significance of multi-determination • Structure and culture are frequently interlinked • Role of agency requires more attention: to what extent is it linked to biography, expertise, etc? • Systematic features - cultural and structural – can change.
  21. 21. Recommendations National policies focusing on the enhancement of teaching must take variation of local institutional contexts into account, especially wrt: • Geography, history and resources • Leadership and stability • Discourses around teaching and learning • Reward and recognition • Status and capacity of CTL staff
  22. 22. Recommendations • Geography, history and resources • Leadership and stability • Discourses around teaching and learning • Reward and recognition • Status and capacity of CTL staff These properties can also serve as heuristics for strategies to enhance professional development wrt teaching

×