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Orientations to academic development: lessons from a collaborative study at a research-led university

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This study reports on a collaborative teaching enhancement project at a research-led university, within the context of a focus on the first-year experience. It demonstrates the kind of influence which a combination of managerial and collegial approaches can have on the collaboration. It illustrates the importance of working with a conscious understanding of the academic development orientations underpinning an educational change initiative. In the study, academic developers teamed up with lecturers from eight departments to embark on change endeavours to enhance teaching and learning in the lecturers' immediate settings. The adoption of an action research-oriented, interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to professional development was found to be appropriate at a research-led institution. Contextual and cultural factors inherent to the disciplines, departments and institution were shown to have an impact upon the involvement of participants in the project.

Keywords: academic development; collaboration; first-year experience; professional development; research

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centre for Teaching and Learning, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa 2: Sociology Department, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa 3: Psychology Department, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa 4: Interactive Telematic Services, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa 5: English Department, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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