Graduates of Credit-bearing Postgraduate Supervision Course

Posted on June 03, 2015

Professor Stephanie Burton recently congratulated eight academics who completed the “strengthening postgraduate supervision” course in 2014.

This course is intended to build capacity across the South African higher education system. The course content, methodologies, as well as the modes of delivery consider the different conditions that supervisors work under and the different postgraduate processes that are executed across disciplines.

The course was developed by the Rhodes University’s Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching, and Learning (CHERTL) and is sponsored by Nuffic and the Department of Higher Education and Training. Profs Tammy Schefer (UWC) and Harry Wels (Vrije University Amsterdam) facilitate the course at UP. Prof Schefer stated that supervisors face challenges because students have different personalities, abilities and backgrounds, and in addition, they have conflicting pressures of teaching, publishing and supervising. As a result, power relations in supervision, the importance of scholarship, supervisory practices, as well as supervision processes are the focus areas of the course and the outcomes are related to the identified areas.

The course has four phases. The first phase is a three-day face-to-face session where themes are introduced and considered. The second phase is a six-week online session, where participants get the opportunity to read texts, complete activities, as well as engage with one another. Phase three takes three days to complete and within these sessions, certain aspects of course themes are further considered and guidance is provided around assignments are submitted in phase four.

In phase four, the participants submit assignments for assessment and are awarded certificates. The course has been running twice at UP and has had two groups; the first group finished the course in 2014 and thus eight postgraduate supervisors have received their certificates in 2015. The second group is currently busy with phase four of the course.

Dr Patricia Smit, who was instrumental in securing UP’s participation in the course, commented that UP is benefitting from the course in the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the supervisors who completed the course and their recommendation that the course be rolled out further at UP. She also said that participants from the course would in the next academic year be involved in sharing their knowledge and skills with participants in UP’s Early Career Academic Programme.  

- Author Department of Research and Innovation Support

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