News, 4 May 2018

By Professor Jan Botha

CREST has received a grant of EUR300 000 (R4.5 million) for the next three years (2018 – 2020) to develop and offer a novel, online training course for doctoral supervisors at universities across the African continent. It is the first course of its kind – an online course specifically aimed at building capacity in doctoral supervision – in Africa.

This funding is linked to a new project of the Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies Programme (DIES), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and coordinated jointly by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK).

The first course will kick off in October 2018, with further offerings during 2019 and 2020.

During the development phase of this online course, CREST will partner with experts from the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) at Rhodes University and the Centre for Higher and Adult Education (CHAE) at Stellenbosch University. The Centre for Learning Technologies at Stellenbosch University will provide advice and technical support throughout.

Due to the rapid growth in the numbers of African students wishing to enrol for doctoral studies, there is a dire need for more, well-prepared supervisors at universities across the continent. The demand for doctoral education is fuelled by the increased need for more academic staff at African universities, as well as the need for African scholars who are able to contribute to advanced knowledge production and innovation. By equipping academics to provide quality doctoral supervision, this course will facilitate the delivery of suitably qualified and successful doctoral candidates.

The course is aimed at novice supervisors employed by or affiliated to a university in Africa, with doctoral supervision as part of task description. Course themes will include: The state of doctoral studies in Africa; the nature and purpose of the doctoral degree; the roles and responsibilities of supervisors and doctoral candidates; models and styles of supervision; the supervision of the research proposal; responsible conduct of research and research ethics; feedback to doctoral students; doctoral examinations and the dissemination of research findings of doctoral graduates.

Because the course will be offered 100% online, there will be no need for participants to take leave or travel to South Africa in order to complete the training. CREST will, however, organise two follow-up seminars in Stellenbosch for selected participants to deepen their knowledge and to prepare them to take leadership roles in ongoing networking and doctoral supervision training at African universities.

Taking skills in doctoral supervision in Africa to the next level: A planning workshop for the new online doctoral supervision course took place at CREST on 3 & 4 May 2018 with participants (fltr): Prof Jan Botha (course coordinator, CREST); Miné de Klerk (Centre for Learning Technology, SU), Michael Hörig (Head of the Division for Strategic Planning at the DAAD in Bonn), Yvonne Visarius (DAAD, Bonn), Prof Johann Mouton (CREST Director), Prof Chrissy Boughey (Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Student Affairs, Rhodes University), Professor Liezel Frick (Director of the Centre for Higher and Adult Education, SU) and Marthie van Niekerk (Centre Manager at CREST, SU).