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Integration of Student Affairs into the Academic Life of the Institution, correlating student development to student success: theoretical and pragmatic.

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1 Integration of Student Affairs into the Academic Life of the Institution, correlating student development to student success: theoretical and pragmatic challenges KEYNOTE ADDRESS 4 TH 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

2 OVERVIEW 1.Higher Education reconsidered 2.The dualism of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs 3.Learning Reconsidered 4.Challenges of Integration: Different Epistemological Communities 5.Some Research from the field 6.Conclusion 2

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 d’être of HE (Buroway, 2010; Good, 2004; Kezar, 2004; USDE, 2006): social contract neglected and focus on economy 3

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the “gross inequalities” but also because the South African Higher Education system was functioning like a “fragmented, outdated version of a UK model of yesteryear” (Cloete & Muller,1998, p. 6) SA’s emphasis on higher education ‘responsiveness’ in an ‘open knowledge system’ (NCHE, 1996) emphasising SA HE’s 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 4

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, 5

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 % 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 6

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 7

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’ 8

9 ASSERTIONS WHICH INFORM INTEGRATION 1.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 9

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 10

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 11

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 12

13 Some Local Research: INTEGRATED LIVING AND LEARNING PROGRAMMES Science Faculty (ISC153) Dentistry Faculty (1 st year programme) Commerce Faculty (1 st 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 13

14 AIM OF LIVING AND LEARNING IN FACULTY Primary aims: 1.improve throughput 2.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 14 STUDENT DEVELOPMENT AND SUCCESS SUPPORT SERVICES STUDENT FACULTY

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

16 EVALUATION CONTINUED… Quantitative –Sample: all ISC153 students of 2011, (N=161) –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 16

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,

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 (R 2 =.093, F(3,96) = 3.2, p <0.05). It was found that Stress significantly predicted academic performance (b = 0.277, p =0.02), as did Motivation (b = , 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. 18

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% 19

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) 20

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 don’t make time for students” (2) The social group as resource “I didn’t mind that we had some lecturers which I couldn’t 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 wasn’t, but also, that others thought I was good at some things, so we helped each other” (6) The social group as normalising agent “I didn’t know anyone and I really enjoyed the LL, we spoke about all kinds of things and I realized I was not alone” (5) 21

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 Science=15, Maths=15, Physics=15 22

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 23

24 REFERENCES 1.Astin, A. (1985). Achieving educational excellence: A critical assessment of priorities and practices in higher education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 2.Astin, A. (1993). What matters in college? Four critical years revisited. San Francisco CA: Jossey-Bass. 3.Astin, A. (1996). “Involvement in learning” revisited: Lessons we have learnt. Journal of College Student Development, 37(2), Baker, R. & Syrik, B. (1989). SACQ student adaptation to college questionnaire manual. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services. 5.Baxter-Magolda, M. (1992). Knowing and reasoning in college: Gender-related patterns in students’ intellectual development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 6.Baxter-Magolda, M. (1995). The integration of relational and impersonal knowing in young adults’ epistemological development. Journal of College Student Development, 36(3), Baxter-Magolda, M. (1999). Constructing adult identities. Journal of College Student Development, 40(6), Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, symbolic control, and identity: theory, research, critique. Lanham, MD, Rowman & Littlefield. 9.Boughey, C. (2010). Analyzing teaching and learning at the universities of technology: A tribute to Terry Vollbrecht. Paper presented to at the RITAL conference, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town. RSA, December Case, J. (2007). Alienation and engagement: exploring students’ experiences of studying engineering. Teaching in Higher Education, 12(1), Cohen, S., Kamarck, T. & Mermelstein, (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, 24, Davidowitz, B. & Schreiber, B. (2008). Facilitating adjustment to higher education: Towards enhancing academic functioning in an academic development programme. South African Journal of Higher Education, 22(1), Erikson, E. (1963). Childhood and society (2nd. ed.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton. 14.Erikson, E. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York, NY: W. W. Norton. 15.Gilligan, C. (1981). Moral development. In A. W. Chickering & Associates (Eds.). The modern American college: Responding to the new realities of diverse students and a changing society, pp San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 16.Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 17.Hall, M. & Symes, A South African higher education in the first decade of democracy: From cooperative governance to conditional autonomy. Studies in Higher Education, 30(2), Hay, H. & Marais, F. (2004). Bridging programmes: Gain, pain or all in vain. South African Journal of Higher Education, 18(2), Honikman, K. (1982). Process and problems of first-year students at a South African university. Master’s thesis, University of Cape Town. South Africa. Retrieved from 20.Huysamen, G. (2000). The differential validity of matriculation and university performance as predictors of post-first-year performance. South African Journal of Higher Education, 14, King, P. & Kitchener, K. (1994). Developing reflective judgment: Understanding and promoting intellectual growth and critical thinking in adolescents and adults. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 24

25 REFERENCES CONTINUED… 22.King, P. & Kitchener, K. (2002). The reflective judgment model: Twenty years of research on epistemic cognition. In B. Hofer & P. Pintrick (Eds.) (2002). Personal epistemology: The psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing, pp Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. 23.Klagsbrun, S. (1992). Findings of the survey of undergraduate concerns: Anxieties, academics and ambitions. In L. Whitaker & R. Slimak (Eds.) College Student Development. New York: Harworth Press. 24.Komives, S. & Woodard, D. (2003). Student services: A handbook for the confession. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 25.Kuh, G. (1995). The other curriculum: Out-of-class experiences associated with student learning and personal development. The Journal of Higher Education, 66(2), Kuh, G. D., & Hu, S. (2001). The effects of student-faculty interaction in the 1990’s. Review of Higher Education, 24(3), Kuh, G., Douglas, K., Lund, J., & Ramin-Gyurnek, J. (1994). Student learning outside the classroom: Transcending artificial boundaries. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report. No. 8. Washington, D.C.: The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development. Retrieved 8/6/2010 from 28.Kuh, G., Kinzie, J., Schuh, J., & Whitt, E. (2010). Student success in college. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 29.Kuh, G., Schuh, J., Whitt, E. & Associates. (1991). Involving colleges: Successful approaches to fostering student learning and development outside the classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 30.Malefo, V. (2000). Psycho-social factors and academic performance among African women students at a predominantly white university in South Africa. South African Journal of Psychology, 30(4), Mann, S. (2001). Alternative perspectives on the student experience, alienation and engagement. Studies in Higher Education, 26(1), Muller, F. & Louw, J. (2004). Learning environment, motivation and interest: Perspectives on self-determination theory. South African Journal of Psychology, 34, Nussbaum, M. (1995) Human capabilities, female human beings, In M. Nussbaum & J. Glover (Eds.). Women, culture and development. A study of human capabilities..Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. 34.Nussbaum, M. (2000) Women and human development: The capabilities approach. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 35.Pascarella, E. & Terenzini, P. (1991). How college affects students: Findings and insights from twenty years of research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 36.Pascarella, E. & Terenzini, P. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research (Vol. 2). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 37.Sennet, J., Finchilescu, K., Gibson, K. & Strauss, R. (2003). Adjustment of black students at a historically white South African university. Educational Psychology, 23, Tinto, V. (1997). Classroom as communities: exploring the educational character of student persistence. The Journal of Higher Education, 68(6), Woosley, S. (2003). How important are the first few weeks of college? The long term effects of initial college experience. College Student Journal 37,


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