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Enhancing the critical agency of academic developers to conceptualise induction programmes for new academics in the South African context

Wednesday 3 July: Conference day one, 2:30pm – 3:00pm parallel session



Room 5 – 301-G050 Lg Chem



Professor Jo-Anne Vorster
Rhodes University, South Africa

Dr Kasturi Behari-Leak
University of Cape Town, South Africa

Nalini Chitanand
Durban University of Technology, South Africa

Rieta Ganas
University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa



We report on a nationally funded collaborative project, New Academics Transitioning into Higher Education Project (NATHEP), that aims to develop or enhance the capacity of academic developers to create well-theorised and context-appropriate induction programmes that meet the needs of novice academics in their contexts. The project, now in its second year, employs a cascading model of professional development. It is led by a steering committee (SC), all of whom have experience of offering induction programmes in their own institutions. The project participants are twenty academic developers, two each from ten universities, without formal induction programmes for academics or where induction programmes could be enhanced or strengthened.

In addition to building the capacity of participant academic developers, the project also aims to theorise induction of academics into their multiple roles so that they are able to navigate the enablements and constraints of their specific institutional, faculty and departmental contexts. The project uses Roy Bhaskar’s seven-scalar being and concepts from Margaret Archer’s morphogenetic framework as thinking tools to examine how academic developers can critically analyse and use their agency to mediate contextual constraints and enablements to devise induction programmes and processes to prepare academics to actively contribute to transformation imperatives in relation to their teaching roles. In addition participants are encouraged to use the theoretical constructs to devise induction programmes appropriate for their contexts.

During the first year of the project a series of workshops were held that explored the importance of theoretically-informed induction of new academics, various models of induction, and the role of academic developers in devising and facilitating induction programmes. During year two participants will begin to review, design and implement small-scale induction processes in their contexts and reflect on the structural, cultural and agential conditions they have had to navigate in either introducing or enhancing institutional induction practices.


Presentation topic

Academics – Supporting ECAs

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