Day jobs/nightwork: Academic staff studying towards higher degrees

  • C Winberg
  • A Adams
  • J Esbach
  • W Groenewald
  • D Lakay
  • I Muzondo
  • K Randall
  • G Seane
  • S Siyepu
  • P Veeran

Abstract

Universities of Technology (UTs) offer career-focused education in a wide variety of disciplines and fields. Traditionally, UTs recruited academic staff with relevant workplace experience, rather than academic qualifications. The result of this strategy was, while many lecturers possessed professional qualifications in their field, they did not have Masters or Doctoral degrees. Much has changed over the past years. For example, most UTs now have requirements that, in order to be appointed as a lecturer, new staff should already be in possession of a Masters degree (although in several programmes this is not a viable requirement). Existing members of staff (appointed before the Masters degree was required) are encouraged to study towards higher degrees. The at tainmentof a Masters (and preferably a Doctoral) degree, followed by research outputs, are important considerations for promotion and notch increases. Trying to study while working full-time has many challenges, and busy lecturers undertaking this journey need various forms of support. They need teaching relief, research assistance and financial support for their research activities as well as access to resources and equipment and the support of experienced and knowledgeable supervisors and mentors. Academic staff members’ perceptions and reflections on the experience of studying towards Masters and Doctoral degrees were canvassed through an institution-wide survey. In this article, we discuss the findings of the survey, and recommend ways in which institutions could support academic staff who are engaged in studying towards higher degrees.
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eISSN: 1011-3487