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Title: Integration of Student Affairs into the Academic Life of the Institution, correlating student development to student success: theoretical and pragmatic challenges KEYNOTE ADDRESS 4TH AFRICAN STUDENT AFFAIRS CONFERENCE LONDON, UK


1
Integration of Student Affairs into the
Academic Life of the Institution, correlating
student development to student success
theoretical and pragmatic challenges KEYNOTE
ADDRESS 4TH AFRICAN STUDENT AFFAIRS
CONFERENCE LONDON, UK
  •  
  •  Birgit Schreiber (PhD)
  • Shahieda Jansen (M. Psych. Clin.)
  • Centre for Student Support Services
  • University of the Western Cape
  • September 2012

2
OVERVIEW
  • Higher Education reconsidered
  • The dualism of Academic Affairs and Student
    Affairs
  • Learning Reconsidered
  • Challenges of Integration Different
    Epistemological Communities
  • Some Research from the field
  • Conclusion

3
Higher Education Reconsidered
  • For African independence and African nation
    building, the university functioned as an
    integral part of the post-independence African
    nationalist movement (Mamdani, cited in Du Toit,
    2007, p. 56)
  • South African HE (public) as a tool in nation
    building, reconstruction of national psyche,
    social fabric and economy
  • DoE and DHET have used policies, especially
    performance related funding, as steering
    mechanism for HE
  • HE as vehicle for economic empowerment and so
    also to equip students to deal with
    internationalized-gloablised economic arena
  • European Higher Education Area mobility,
    employability and competitiveness (Bergen, 2005
    London, 2007 Leuven, 2009)
  • Changes in the raison dêtre of HE (Buroway,
    2010 Good, 2004 Kezar, 2004 USDE, 2006)
    social contract neglected and focus on economy

4
Beyond Africanisation
  • South Africa radical transformation was overdue
    not only because of the gross inequalities but
    also because the South African Higher Education
    system was functioning like a fragmented,
    outdated version of a UK model of yesteryear
    (Cloete Muller ,1998, p. 6)
  • SAs emphasis on higher education
    responsiveness in an open knowledge system
    (NCHE, 1996) emphasising SA HEs utility role
    within its context, relevant to African and local
    issues, implies Africanisation of HE (Cloete
    Muller, 1998)
  • tension between the local African contextual
    responsiveness suggested by the NCHE, and the
    modern Western modes of enquiry with its global
    ambitions aiming to develop in order to bring
    Africa closer to Western milieu
  • However, an incorporation of local
    non-cosmopolitan knowledge and interactive
    multilateral conceptions of knowledge brings
    together the crippling dichotomous code of
    postcolonial discourse (Cloete Muller, 1998,
    p. 4)
  • Overcoming African versus Western we are in
    globalised discourses and epistemologies

5
A closer view at Africa (1)
  • Massification aim to boost access, quality
    and efficiency
  • Accra Accord (Ghana, 2003) strongly support
    for HE in Africa (Teferra, 2004, p. 1)
  • Attempts to improve HE
  • Makerere Univesity, Uganda public engagement
    and private funding , stability and productivity
    (Mandami, 2007)
  • Kenya, University of Nairobi financial and admin
    problems bogged down the financial aid system
    (Mwinzi, 2002)
  • University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania consensual
    changes and collective public concern, systemic
    changes (Luhanga Mbwette, 2002) introduced
    rationalizations and diverse funding sources,
    tight management, focus on performance, improved
    functioning
  • University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
    Refoundation (Korbeogo, 1999) management
    process to tighten efficiency, dire poverty in
    context, high unrest,

6
A closer view at Africa (2)
  • Massification aim to boost access, quality
    and efficiency
  • Profound structural crisis in HE in Africa
    (Ngolovoi, 2008 Some, 2010)
  • participation across Africa 7.5-11
  • Reliance on public and government funding
    unrealistic (Some, 2010)
  • Trend of cost sharing with private sector
  • Solutions sought in financial and management
    politics, focus remains local and parochial
  • Political consensus and regional strategies in
    knowledge building and research required
  • Problems remain contextual poverty, political
    unrest, management inefficiencies, local problems
    hinder progressive collaborations across regions
  • Systemic solutions imperative

7
THE DUALISM OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS AND STUDENT
AFFAIRS
  • Academic
  • Historical attachment to status quo
  • HE structures
  • degree programmes
  • calendar and practices are traditionally rigid
    and unyielding
  • Conventional academic solutions bridging
    programmes, foundation and extended programmes,
    etc
  • South Africa the Chairperson of the CHE, Prof. C
    Manganyi, indicated in his 2011 annual report
    that the CHE will be advising the DHET on the
    possibility of a 4-year undergraduate degree

8
THE DUALISM OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS AND STUDENT
AFFAIRS
  • Student Affairs
  • History of remediation and medical-deficit model
  • Service focused
  • Outsourced or on the fringes of institutional
    management and culture
  • Conventional approaches mentoring programmes,
    skills development, orientation and induction
    programmes, etc
  • Critique of working in the gap
  • underpreparedness cannot be remedied by
    short-term intervention
  • Erroneous assumption that students can be
    upskilled (Scott, 2011)
  • neglect of epistemological challenges (Boughey,
    2010)
  • preserve the status quo
  • Add on programmes poor generalisation and focus
    on at risk

9
ASSERTIONS WHICH INFORM INTEGRATION
  • Constructivist argument that epistemological
    access is grounded in the active construction of
    knowledge (Baxter-Magolda, 1996 Bernstein, 2000)
  • Meaning making is related to self-authorship
    (Astin, 1977)
  • 2. Parity in psycho-social and cognitive
    development (Erikson, 1968 Vygotsky, 1978)
  • cognitive and affective dimensions of
    development are related parts of one process
    (King Baxter-Magolda, 1996, p. 163)
  • Complex and paradoxical academic reality requires
    psycho-social maturity
  • 3. Re-definition of learning as broad process
    across cognitive, affective and social domains
  • Learning is synergistic and complex

10
INTEGRATED STUDENT AFFAIRS INTO HE
  • Student Affairs is predicated on integration
    (Baxter Magolda, 1992, 2001 Pascarella
    Terenzini, 1991, 2005 Kuh et al, 1995, 2001,
    2003)
  • Integration in terms of Academic Affairs
  • Curriculum
  • Induction to the academic practices
  • Orientation to academic services and academic
    structures
  • Admission and re-admission practices
  • Integration in terms of Management Affairs
  • Inclusion in core conversation
  • Inclusion at top-slicing level
  • Inclusion in management decisions
  • Integration in terms of Structural Affairs
  • Inclusion in core conversation
  • inclusion in key committees as full member
  • Integration as equivalent partner
  • Performance measures and participation

11
CHALLENGES DIFFERENT EPISTEMOLOGICAL COMMUNITIES
  • Academic
  • Different discourses
  • Rigid structures and cultures
  • Input and output
  • teaching and assessment
  • Skills and research focus
  • Linear and scaffolded
  • Expectations on positivistic assessments and
    quantifications
  • Discipline specific discourses and assumptions
  • Conceptualisation of the student as homogenous
  • Students as passive
  • Conceptualisation of lecturer
  • Pedagogic principles
  • Emerging Teaching and Learnnig

12
CHALLENGES DIFFERENT EPISTEMOLOGICAL COMMUNITIES
  • Student Affairs
  • Developmental and comprehensive
  • meta-processes development
  • focus on process rather than content
  • Systemic approach
  • Challenges regarding positivistic impact evidence
  • Medley of professions and disciplines
  • Theoretical heterogeneous
  • Articulation with academic culture content and
    practices
  • integration into faculty practices

13
Some Local Research INTEGRATED LIVING AND
LEARNING PROGRAMMES
  • Science Faculty (ISC153)
  • Dentistry Faculty (1st year programme)
  • Commerce Faculty (1st year programme)
  • Key principles
  • Continuous
  • Small groups
  • Integrated
  • Weekly sessions facilitated by facilitator
  • Voluntary, non-credit bearing
  • Didactic and participative, experiential and
    reflective
  • Assessment via portfolio
  • Facilitator participation in standard academic
    meetings

14
AIM OF LIVING AND LEARNING IN FACULTY
  • Primary aims
  • improve throughput
  • improve retention
  • Secondary aims
  • Facilitate generic capabilities
  • Reflection and development on Graduate Attributes
  • Develop communities of practice
  • Develop technological confidence
  • Social connectedness and support
  • Conduit to resources
  • Mediating factors
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve motivation
  • Improve social connectedness
  • Facilitate personal-social functioning

15
EVALUATION
  • Only Science Living and Learning
  • ISC153 results only
  • Quantitative
  • Qualitative
  • Academic performance

16
EVALUATION CONTINUED
  • Quantitative
  • Sample all ISC153 students of 2011, (N161)
  • Method data gathering done via online
    questionnaire at end of last session, statistical
    analysis
  • Instruments
  • Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen, Kamarck
    Mermelstein, 1983)
  • 14-item, self-report
  • Assess the extent to which students found their
    lives unpredictable, uncontrollable, and
    overloading (p. 387)
  • Academic Motivation Scale (Muller Louw, 2004)
  • Multi-dimensional assess extrinsic, indentified
    and introjected
  • Self-report, Likert
  • Network Orientation Scale (Vaux, 1985)
  • Measures perception regarding help-seeking via
    social relationship in terms of advisable,
    useless or risky
  • Questionnaire regarding aspects of LL programme

17
EVALUATION CONTINUED
  • Qualitative
  • 2 focus groups with 5 and 7 participants
  • Substitute researcher
  • Thematic analysis
  • Academic Results
  • quantitative and statistical analysis
  • pass rates
  • extract from Jurgens Maclons, 2012

18
FINDINGS FROM STATISTICAL ANALYSIS
  • The descriptive statistics for the three
    predictors in the Living and Learning in the
    Science Faculty are Network Orientation (M
    25.66 SD 5.90) Stress (M 57.54 SD 33.18)
    and Motivation (M 62.02 SD 29.72).
  • Multiple regression analysis was used to test
    whether Stress, Motivation or Network Orientation
    significantly predicted undergraduate students
    academic performances.
  • The results of the regression indicated that the
    three predictors explained 9,27 of the variance
    (R2 .093, F(3,96) 3.2, p lt0.05). It was found
    that Stress significantly predicted academic
    performance (b 0.277, p 0.02), as did
    Motivation (b -0.233, p 0.03). Since the
    p-value is smaller than 0.05, Stress and
    Motivation are significant predictors for
    academic performance.
  • Stress and Motivation are predictors of academic
    performance. There are significant positive,
    moderately strong correlations between Stress,
    Motivation and Network Orientation.

19
FINDINGS FROM THE QUESTIONS ABOUT LIVING
LEARNING
  • Q10 Did you find your facilitator useful?
  • Response of participants who indicated yes was
    98.8
  •  
  • Q11 Was the material presented in a useful way?
  • Response of participants who indicated yes was
    96.9
  • Q12 Would you recommend that all first year
    students attend this
  • program?
  • Response of participants who indicated yes was
    98.8
  • Q14 Do you think that the program has made a
    significant difference in
  • your studies this year?
  • Response of participants who indicated yes was
    89.1
  •   
  • Q15 Did you get useful feedback from the
    facilitator?
  • Response of participants who indicated yes was
    92.5 

20
THEMES FROM FOCUS GROUPS
  • Obviously cannot be generalised but nonetheless
    provide anecdotes and insights.
  • Insights were generalised
  • I could all of a sudden also see the purpose of
    Life Sciences, it was like, it was easier to get
    involved, not only in ISC, but also in the other
    classes (7)
  • Reinterpretation of experience
  • I usually feel so bad when I fail, but we did
    this reflection in LL which sort of gave me the
    feeling, that I can think differently about the
    failed mark, and so we looked at what we need to
    do differently to pass, that was very helpful
    (2)

21
THEMES FROM FOCUS GROUPS CONTINUED
  • The facilitator as conduit
  • our facilitators were so nice, it was quite
    easy asking her, just anything, not like some
    lecturers who make it clear that they dont make
    time for students (2)
  • The social group as resource
  • I didnt mind that we had some lecturers which
    I couldnt talk to, as long as we had our group,
    I asked anything (4)
  • It was in the groups that I saw that others are
    really happy to help and good at some things I
    wasnt, but also, that others thought I was good
    at some things, so we helped each other (6)
  • The social group as normalising agent
  • I didnt know anyone and I really enjoyed the
    LL, we spoke about all kinds of things and I
    realized I was not alone (5)

22
ACADEMIC RESULTS 2011 From Jurgens Maclons
(2012, p. 10)
  • Final results (excluding the supplementary and
    special exam results)
  • Much improved overall academic performance, not
    only in ISC
  • (EED and Computer Lit and LL)
  • ISC153 30 points, Life Science15, Maths15,
    Physics15

23
CONCLUSION
  • HE in crisis
  • African continent performs poorly
  • Context inhibits success
  • Student Affairs predicated on integration to be
    effective
  • Integration in terms of content, structure and
    management
  • Integration and articulation with academic sector
  • Dramatically improved overall academic marks
  • Synergistic solutions required
  • More local theory development and outcomes
    studies required

24
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