South African Journal of Higher Education

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Strategies for university improvement: The research profile change at a South African non‑research-intensive university

JC Geertsema, F van Niekerk


Universities worldwide experience continual change in order to achieve what is perceived as improvement. In these changes, there is usually an  emphasis on the research function of a university, and the literature contains a number of themes in this regard. We contribute by presenting a detailed case study of a non-research-intensive university which implemented drastic change to achieve improvement, with emphasis on research, research management and interdisciplinarity. The case study provides insight into the processes, restructuring and outcomes, illustrates the selection and implementation of
focus areas for research and postgraduate education, identifies supporting factors and provides an example of a university where there was radical restructuring across the full width of the institution. It sheds light on questions concerning outcomes of the use of institutional funds as ‘seed money’, the change in culture and climate and the operation of research units in a framework of matrix management.
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