South African Research Chair in Teaching and Learning
About Us: Brief description: Research Programme: SARChI T&L
The research objectives of the SARChI: T&L remain focused on expanding research capacity and producing Masters and Doctoral students; responding to economic, social and transformation imperatives; creating research career pathways; and contributing to human capital development (as per 1.2 SARChI Aim and Objectives). The objectives are aimed at developing researchers who are responsive to national priorities and strategies (1.3: SARChI Guiding Principles).
The SARChI Framework on the scope of the DHET/NRF SARChI Chairs in Post-School Education and Training (PSET) notes that pedagogical access and student success are priority areas on the DHET’s research agenda. Elaboration on these areas includes the factors that impact on pedagogical access and success in PSET contexts; the knowledge, skills and attributes that lecturers need to enable effective learning; and how these should be developed. The themes of the Chair’s research programme encompass all of these areas.
The choice of the theoretical frameworks in Figure 1 below articulates with the current research interests of the Chair which, in addition to the above, relate to access including epistemological access, inclusive pedagogies, quality and systemic reform. The research addresses the criticism that research on T&L lacks a sound theoretical base. Methodologically, it uses qualitative and quantitative research methods, including participatory approaches and quantitative modelling. The starting point for the research programme is to use a variety of methods to provide informed evidence-based analysis which is systemic, institutional and individual in impact. Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches will be explored.
- Theme 1: Teaching Excellence: Undergraduate Education
- Theme 2: Equity, Access and Success: Undergraduate Education
- Theme 3: Access and Success: Supervision for Quality Postgraduate Education
- Theme 4: Socially Just Pedagogy and the Decolonisation of the Curricula.
The focus on digitisation is a secondary focus in some of the themes. Key elements of this focus include leveraging technology to improve teaching and learning; and innovating not only in what is taught but in how it is taught in to achieve the goals of access, equity and excellence.
The aim of the Chair is to contribute to a robust national conversation and scholarship on higher education teaching and learning in a context of social transition, inequality and joblessness while taking account of the new digital and 4IR imperatives. The current research on T&L raises many pertinent issues and provides the basis for the research programme. These include the dominant model of the student as a ‘decontextualised’ learner which does not take account of structural and socioeconomic inequities and fails to adequately reflect on the home-university-society nexus.
The primary focus of the research programme is on T&L in higher education and particularly the interrelated sub-fields of academic learning and academic teaching, and student learning together with knowledge, curricular and other enablers of access and success across undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
The South African Research Chair in Teaching and Learning is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), administered by the National Research Foundation (NRF) and hosted at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). Professor Shireen Motala is the Chair holder and leads the programme. The primary focus of the research programme is Teaching &Learning in higher education, and particularly the interrelated sub-fields of academic learning, academic teaching, and student learning together with knowledge, curricular and other enablers of access and success across undergraduate and postgraduate studies.