The Bumpy Road to Postgraduate Supervision: Autoethnographies from Two Universities in South Africa (73615)

Session Information: Educational Research, Development & Publishing
Session Chair: Elisha Markus

Friday, 22 September 2023 16:50
Session: Session 4
Room: Gotic
Presentation Type:Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 2 (Europe/Madrid)

The pressure to increase the number of post graduate students intensifies the need for quality supervision in universities in South Africa. Supervisors often engage with their students based on their own experiences as postgraduate students. This has the potential of enabling and validating postgraduate students’ learning and success, or could constrain and subdue it. This study acknowledges the supervisor-student nexus in contributing to a new generation of academics as key agents in the development of a knowledge economy. The study begins by providing a background into postgraduate attrition rates in South African universities. It further unpacks power relations in the supervision process and the models and styles of supervision. Using an autoethnographic inquiry approach we reflect on our supervisory experiences at two universities of technology in South Africa. We use reflective narratives to unpack the complexities of the student-supervisor journey that can be dark, rough, and lonely. We provide an account of principles that have guided us in improving our practice. The principles of participatory learning environments and the tenets laid down by the Freirean notion of a Humanising Pedagogy is adopted as a framework underpinning this paper. The findings show that postgraduate supervision should be viewed as a facilitative process that provides supportive and inclusive spaces for student participation in academic practice. This research suggests that through providing supervisory practices that enhance student development supervisors can help navigate students towards the finish line with perseverance, tact, and grit. The study concludes by providing recommendations for a successful supervisor-student experience.

Authors:
Elisha Markus, Central University of Technology Free State, South Africa
Nereshnee Govender, Durban University of Technology, South Africa


About the Presenter(s)
Professor Elisha Markus is a University Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer at Central University of Technology Free State in South Africa

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00