Insights into the lived experiences of so-called future leaders of historically white institutional evaluation processes

Dina Zoe Belluigi, Gladman Thondhlana

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Abstract

In the past two decades, South African higher education has been characterised by concerns with equity and access. This paper draws on a research project which was concerned with an aspect of the complexities of relational and interactional diversity of academic staff which have emerged once the minimum expectations of standards of numeric access of student participants were met in an historically white university. The project focussed on the reception of participants of carefully crafted and well-informed ‘accelerated development programmes’ which over the past 15 years sought to offer “a rigorous academic advancement path, predominantly for top young black and women academics whose research and teaching development is accelerated over a period of three years”. These programmes were initiated as a way to redress the demographic imbalances of academic staff, while assuring the quality of the faculty. For the most part, they have been evaluated as successful as an overwhelming majority of the participants performed well according to the criteria in which they were assessed. Our role was not to ascertain the quality of such programmes, but in response to a request by some of the recipients, we aimed to explore the more fundamental and nuanced problematic of institutional transformation through inviting insights into the lived experiences of the programmes’ recipients, who were often characterised as agents embodying transformation. Of the 27 who actively participated, data was generated via a questionnaire, followed by presentation of our analysis to small discussion groups. Additional engagement occurred through postcards with metaphors chosen from the questionnaire responses which invited participants to compose messages to imagined readers of their choice within the institution. Our discussion will focus on the participants’ perceptions of the relationship between institutional evaluation processes of their development/ performance, and the ways they constrained or enabled the potential of these future leaders, to effect substantive transformation of the institutional culture.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018
Event2nd Annual International Symposium on: Higher Education in a Global World - Athens, Greece
Duration: 09 Jul 201812 Jul 2018
https://www.atiner.gr/coledu

Conference

Conference2nd Annual International Symposium on
CountryGreece
CityAthens
Period09/07/201812/07/2018
Internet address

Keywords

  • higher education
  • equality
  • DIVERSITY
  • race
  • gender
  • evaluation

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