Research & Innovation 2015-16 - Page 141

Faculty highlights
Research groupings highlights
First in the Family at University (FIFU) project
CHED conducts research to inform educational
development practice, at institutional, national and
international levels. The following research projects in
CHED are responding to current, key challenges related to
access and equity in higher education.
(UCT Principal Investigators: Assoc Prof Moragh Paxton,
2014 to 2015; Dr Rosin Kelly-Laubscher, January 2016 to
the present)
The ROER4D Project
(UCT Principal Investigator: Assoc Prof Cheryl
The ROER4D project is an International Development
Research Centre-funded initiative hosted jointly by the
Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at
UCT and Wawasan Open University in Malaysia. The first
of its kind in terms of global reach and research focus,
the project aims to produce evidence-based research
from 26 countries in South America, sub-Saharan Africa
and South-east Asia on the adoption and impact of
Open Educational Resources (OER) in the global south.
Of the 18 ROER4D sub-projects, three are hosted in
CHED. The first is investigating the structural, cultural and
motivational factors that shape academics’ adoption of
OER at three universities in South Africa. The second is
focused on UCT’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
project, and tracks the adoption of OER in and as MOOCs.
A third project aims to develop an understanding of the
funding allocation of government money into educational
resource acquisition, development and dissemination in
basic education in South Africa.
Next generation of extended curricula
(UCT Principal Investigator: Assoc Prof Suellen Shay)
In August 2013, the Council for Higher Education (CHE)
released ‘A proposal for undergraduate curriculum
reform in South Africa: a case for a flexible curriculum
structure’ (CHE, 2013). The argument was that the
current curriculum structures pose a systemic obstacle
to access and success that can only be overcome
through deliberate intervention at a systemic level.
The proposal was not approved and higher education
in South Africa finds itself in the precarious position
of ambitious targets for growth in enrolments and
graduation rates.
In 2014 and 2015, Assoc Prof Suellen Shay, along
with a team of colleagues from the University of
Johannesburg, the University of Fort Hare and the Cape
Peninsula University of Technology launched a multiinstitutional research and development project funded
by the Department of Higher Education and Training
Collaborative Teaching Development Grant, with the
aim of understanding the strengths, limitations and
overall effectiveness of the current extended curriculum
programmes, and what reform is required to strengthen
the contribution of these programmes to systemic reform.
The FIFU project is an international project involving
six countries and funded by the Worldwide Universities
Network (WUN). The project investigates the dynamic,
complex experiences of systemically underserved
students who are first in the family to attend university.
Decolonising the Humanities Curriculum
(Principal Investigator: Assoc Prof Kathy Luckett)
The Decolonising the Humanities Curriculum project is
located in the Humanities Education Development Unit,
and is funded by the NRF. The focus of this project is:
a) Analysing what kinds of knowledge the humanities
deal with;
b) Excavating the epistemes that have shaped the
colonial canon to date; and
c) Investigating possibilities for integrating
subjugated knowledges, languages and cultures
into the formal undergraduate curricula.
The challenges of equity and access: the higher
education curriculum answers back
(UCT Principal Investigators: Assoc Prof Jeff Jawitz
and Assoc Prof Lucia Thesen)
This is a WUN research project that examines the
complex dynamics of higher education (HE) curricula
in response to the global challenge of increasing
access to, and equity in, HE. What is distinctive
about the project is that, while much of the current
HE effort focuses on undergraduate curriculum
renewal, this research interrogates two underexplored
curriculum domains: doctoral education, and the
professional learning of academics.
By bringing together the distinct local histories and
manifestations of the partner universities across
Australia (University of Sydney), Aotearoa/New
Zealand (University of Auckland), England (Bristol
University) and South Africa (UCT), the project
offers fresh insight and analysis into how access
and equity are shaping the form and nature of
curricula, as well as the identities and subjectivities
of participants involved.
At UCT, we are focusing on two programmes – the
New Academic Practitioner Programme (NAPP)
and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship –
both of which foreground academic identity and
social justice. The case studies will form the basis
of various academic engagements designed to
stimulate discussion. 
Faculty highlights 136

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