FACULTY EDUCATION SCIENCES
RESEARCH IN FACULTY
FOCUS AREA: TEACHING LEARNING ORGANISATIONS
2009-2010 ANNUAL REPORT AND STRATEGIC PLANNING DOCUMENT
The Research Focus Area in the Faculty of Education Sciences contributes to the main core of the research outputs in the Faculty. The previous director Prof Monty Monteith retired at the end of 2009 and a new director was appointed from January 2010. As in previous years the tasks of the director is two-fold. First, the continuous development of a culture of research in the Faculty is important and academic workshop and research seminars were presented. Secondly, to enhance the research capacity of all academic staff and researchers the Focus Area support international and national scientific travels and study visits to conferences of prestige education societies and study travels to renowned academics in the applicants’ field of expertise. The MEd and PhD programme and development to enrol post-graduate students has been established the past three years and the need for capacity building of supervisors is the next phase in this development in 2010.
Thirty six (36) participants are primary researchers and thirty three (33) are secondary researchers in the Focus Area (Table 1; p15-16). There are also few Faculty members who also contribute with their research to other research entities (e.g. the niche area Educational Technology for Effective Teaching Learning and Facilitation) or Faculties (e.g. the Unit for Languages and Literature in the South African Context in the Faculty of Arts), (Figure 2; p8). Another important task is the management and development of Research Focus Area. Information in this report thus covers all these tasks which might overlap. The previous director Prof M Monteith (2007-2009) established well a managed environment and research culture which needs to be expanding in order to develop the Focus Area into a well-known research entity in Education Research.
To facilitate a better understanding of the progress being made in the Focus Area Teaching-Learning Organisations, the annual report for 2009/2010 the data of 2008 is in some instances used as a comparison.
2 Self Assessment
In line with previous recommendations by an external panel in 2006 and a report by Prof Seamus Hegarty in 2007 the Focus Area are still structuring the different projects into a research programme which is in line with the mission and vision of the Faculty of Education Science. The Focus Area is continuing to restructure the research priority areas, started early in 2008, with the full support of experienced and novice researchers. As indicated in previous reports this process takes longer than anticipated and therefore the process needs to be finalised at the end of 2010 and before new projects commenced. The research proposals submitted for external funds all lies in the research priorities of the Focus Area and therefore underpin the importance of restructuring the current and future research projects.
The management of the MEd and PhD-programme is a high priority at present. The through-put rate of especially MEd-students is an important strategy for 2010. It is impacting on the researchers’ research outputs for e.g. academic articles in ISI journals. The number of students per supervisor also needs to be re-assessed to be more time consuming and in order to strengthen the research capacity of the Focus Area and Faculty in particular. Many academics with PhD-qualifications are still not part of the supervising programme and this need to change.
3 Strategic Plan (Figure 1; p6).
3.1 Analysis of Present Situation
The strategic plan for the Focus Area is summarised in Figure 1; p6. However as stated above, there are two important issues to be addressed in 2010.
- As indicated above the restructuring of the management of the MEd and PhD-programmes is a priority in 2010. A full-time administrative staff member will be appointed in March 2010 and the applications and assessments of the MEd and PhD applications will be evaluated in conjunction with the researchers, School Directors and Subject Chairs. Capacity and quality of post-graduate students will be the main rationale for students’ enrolment in 2011.
- The emphasis on structuring the different projects into a two or three research programmes which are in line with the mission and vision of the Faculty also needs attention. The previous director started this important strategy in 2008 and this needs to continuous with a cut-off date for all the researchers working in the programmes. If not doing so it might impact negatively on the strategic plan and assessment for the Focus Area in two years time as well as with the mission and vision of the Faculty.
3.2 Recommendations of Previous Reviews and Strategic Responses
In the previous report (2008/2009) the previous director indicated the recommendations by the external panel in 2006 as well as comments by Seamus Hegarty in 2007. Haggerty’s report (2007) suggested that the grouping of research activities into two sub-programmes is somewhat artificial. The Focus Area since moved away from these two sub-programmes. A new structure has been finalised with research priorities and subprojects. The Focus Area however is currently committed to the identification of a limited number of research priority areas, as indicated in the diagram. It was stated in the 2008 report that the Focus Area no longer distinguishes between primary and secondary researchers. In 2009 however the distinction between primary and secondary researchers is again introduced to clarify the role of the researchers in the different projects. This is still a daunting task to get all the researchers in the Faculty on board one main research focus. There is a number of academic staff, with PhD-qualifications who are not yet established in research projects. This is an ongoing process and the ideal will be that all the researchers will contribute to the main vision in order to establish an Education Entity. This however needs a constant re-assessment of the process and the projects in the Focus Area. It is therefore important to be transparent and to inform all the researchers of the possibilities and the processes to make this Focus Area more successful. The work done so-far indicates that the Focus Area has still a long way to go, but is on the right track due to the persistence of the previous director.
3.3 Prevailing Mission Statement
The Focus Area’s vision is in line with the Faculty of Education Sciences and the NWU mission and vision that address through high quality, relevant, innovative and focused research challenges in Education. This cutting edge research is aimed to address, within the scientific parameters of Education research, the challenges, effectiveness and productivity of Teaching-and-Learning within SA, the African Continent and the international world.
3.4 Weak Points
The trough-put rate of the MEd and PhD-students is not within the goals of the Focus Area. Many students do not submit their research proposals successfully in the first year of registration as required. The big numbers of postgraduate students impact negatively on the outputs of the researchers and their research focus. A balance between postgraduate students’ intake, supervisions’ capacity and research outputs needs to be established and managed.
The small number of NRF-rated researchers should be emphasised. Three applications were submitted and only one was granted. The Focus Area should establish more opportunities and workshops to help researchers to establish themselves as recognised researchers amongst their peers. This needs also to be agreed upon in task agreements and School Directors of the three other Schools in the Faculty need to take cognisance of capacity building programme of the Focus Area for research career planning.
3.5 Strong Points
The strong point is increase of the research outputs in the Focus Area (Table 6; p37). The past year is the number of publications (42) in accredited journals (Table 3; p18) as well as 5 published and 6 accepted articles in non-accredited journals, seven of these contributions are in international journals (Table 4; p27). There is a steady flow of publications and it is important to note that many of these publications were also single authored. This trend, from 2006 – 2009, will be supported in ways that will continue to increase the academic outputs (Figure 3; p9).
The second strong point is the contributions of the researchers to 7 published conference proceedings (Table 5A; p31); 3 book publications (Table 5B; p32) and 19 chapters in books (Table 5C; 33) with 9 chapters in international published books. These numbers are increasing and indicate the importance on national and international collaboration. Many of these collaborations are with well-known scholars in their field of expertise. This indicates that the internationalisation of the Focus Area initiated three years ago is steadily growing.
The Faculty of Education Sciences has cooperative agreements with:
- Joenssu University (since 2010 The University of Eastern Finland; Finland);
- Tumaini University, Iringa University College, Tanzania;
- Hoogeschool Driestar Educatief, Gouda, Netherlands; and
- A memorandum of agreement was also entered into with Brock University, St. Catherines, Canada.
Many researchers in the programme are collaborating in projects with international scholars in the Netherlands (Vrije University of Amsterdam), USA (Minnesota), and England (Plymouth; Oxford and Manchester). These collaborations are within the specific research programmes of the Focus Area, and therefore contribute to the main vision of internationalisation and quality research through collaboration.
Some international researchers that visited academics are: Dr Ina ter Avest, Vrije University of Amsterdam (February); Prof Cok Bakker, University of Utrecht (March) (International Workshop); Prof Britta Gullin, Department of Teacher Education; Ume University Ume Sweden (April); Prof Liam Gearon University of Plymouth, England (April) Prof Alfredo Artiles, Arizona State University, USA; Prof Elizabeth Kozleski, Arizona State University, USA; Prof D Mogadime Brock University (Canada); Prof C Russo; Panzer Chair in Education, University of Dayton USA; Sharan Merriam (University of Georgia, USA); Michelle McGinn (Brock University, Canada); Susan Tilley (Brock University, Canada); Donna Mertens (Gallaudet University, Washington, DC).
The main aim of the Research Focus Area is to establish itself as a leader in Education Research. The priorities have been identified in 2008/2009 and it is a continuous process to establish a scholarly Teaching-Learning Education Research environment. The predecessor of the Focus Area put structures together and this will be the starting point for the new action plan.
The following goals are:
- To establish two postgraduate Faculty committees to benchmark MEd en PhD-students’ outputs.
- To streamline the MEd and PhD-programme and to benchmark PhD-students’ projects with international examiners.
- To higher the trough-put rate of MEd and PhD-students by managing applications for quality and to contribute to the research programmes in the Research Focus Area.
- To continue to attract post-doctoral fellows from other universities to take part in research projects. The Focus Area has already three post-doctoral fellows from Malawi, Jamaica and the Netherlands.
- To encourage researchers to engage in scholarly Teaching-and-Learning Education Research.
- To further develop capacity building of young and novice researchers through workshops by international scholars and guests visiting the Faculty.
- To benchmark research outputs through international collaboration and projects.
- To establish a core of more established NRF-rated researchers, internationally renowned for their research outputs.
- To encourage the researchers partake in the Focus Area, to identify their own research niche to become established researchers with international collaboration.
3.7 Action steps
A strategic plan was presented to the Faculty’s Strategic Planning Committee in December 2009 and this plan is currently on par with the above-mentioned challenges (Figure 1; p6). The implementation of two Faculty Committees to oversee the post-graduate programmes will (i) enhance quality assurance and benchmarking examinations with international standards and (ii) it will be part of a capacity building programme for academics and researchers to take responsibility for the quality of the MEd and PhD-programme. It will also provide opportunities for researchers to plan their academic career well in advance before submitting applications for NRF-rating.
The Research Committee of the Faculty will oversee all the international and national funded research projects. It will also develop together a capacity building programme and put planned opportunities for the development of a research culture. The Research Committee will mainly focus on the macro-planning for the Faculty’s research programme.
There are five applications in 2010 for SANPAD and we are convinced that at least 2 will be successful. This is an indication of the internationalisation of researchers in the Focus Area as they need to collaborate with partners in the Netherlands.
The following actions steps are taken in 2010:
- To identify the weak points and strong points in the post-graduate MEd and PhD-programme and to restructure the processes.
- To put structures in place for the MEd and PhD-programme, concentrating on students’ and supervisors’/promoters’ outputs.
- To put the MEd and PhD-support programme in place. This is the second year that a MEd & PhD Research Development and Support Training Programme is presented to newly accepted students in the postgraduate programme. In 2010 a funded programme for students, who need academic and computer literacy support, will be implemented. An academic consultant will be available to students to help them with preparing and finalising their research proposals. This will be done under the auspices and in consultation with the study leader/promoter. This attempt is to help students on a one-to-one basis to prepare their research proposals and to help them acquire the necessary skills in academic writing.
- To present the yearly Dean’s Research Forum-workshop. In 2010 the Focus Area will concentrate on workshops for supervisors and promoter concentrating on best-practices for supervising MEd and PhD-students (12 April 2010). All researchers and permanent academic staff with PhD will be invited to attend this workshop presented by an expert in this field form the University of Pretoria. Dr Andrew Kaniki, Director of Knowledge Development at the NRF will be the guest speaker at the seminar.
- To establish a postgraduate colloquium for benchmarking MEd and PhD-research (October 2010) and to give MEd and PhD-students the opportunity to become acquainted with vigour academic discussions.
- To build on the previous strategic plan to enable researchers already involved in recognised research activities to improve their research profiles in such a way that they comply with the requirements for NRF- rating requirements for evaluation.
- To further evolve in the Research Career Planning Initiative to support researchers to present papers at international conferences and to submit their paper in article format to increase their article outputs.
The America Education Research Association (AERA)-research development and capacity building programme in the Research Focus Area is still on par with financial support on a yearly basis to a small group of emergent researchers to:
- Attend the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in the USA,
- Visits supported to a distinguished researcher for a minimum period of one week, before or after AERA in their same field of study. The Focus Area is supporting emergent and established researchers to AERA in April 2010.
- To visit a university in the USA, Canada, Britain or Europe known for its research during the same scientific travel and study visits.
- To support and encourage through Focus Area workshops researchers to the latest and innovative research strategies applicable to Education Research.
- To develop and further engage in the NRF-workshops initiated by the Focus Area in 2010. It is important to identify researches and try to establish a core group who will be able to replace the
APPENDIX B: FINANCIAL Profile
Expenditures have risen from 2007 – 2009. The expenditure in 2007 started with the amount of R460.58; in 2008 R363,203.18 and in 2009 ended with R616,458.84. In 2007 the Director’s fund primary funded research expenses but changed in 2008 due to the budgeting in the research activity of the NWU.
Research grants in 2009 were an estimated R300, 00.00 for projects, seed-money for projects and scientific travels. The three international funded projects of Proff. Petra Engelgrecht, Barry Richter and Cornelia Roux contributed to this new phase in the Focus Area started in 2008 and further support new initiatives and few applications for 2010/2011.
Workshop expenditures rose from R174,744.94 (2008) to R206,099.59 (2009). More workshop presenters were invited (10 in 2009) and more academic staff attended the workshops. This is also an indication that the strategic plan initiated in 2008 started to contribute to the outputs of the Faculty and Focus Area. (See Summary Report p 65)
This summarised report indicates that the Focus Area is in line with the strategic plan of the NWU and especially the Faculty of Education Science. The academic outputs and research initiatives are supported by the Dean and it also indicates that many researchers and participants becomes part of a culture of research.
I also want to thank my predecessor Prof Monty Monteith for presenting the data and the analyses of the academic outputs.
Prof Cornelia Roux
24 February 2010)