Sioux Mckenna

Sioux Mckenna
Rhodes University | RU · Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL)

PhD (2004)

About

69
Publications
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715
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Publications

Publications (69)
Article
Full-text available
Teachers at primary and secondary education levels are required to hold a professional qualification but, at the higher education level, all that is required is content expertise. This may well contribute to South Africa’s low university throughput and retention rates, in response to which, since 2004, the state has provided ZAR5.5 billion in the f...
Article
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In South Africa, the push for global rankings and the possibility of attaining funding mean that participation in international projects is often prized. However, although international projects in higher education can bring enormous benefits, they can also exhibit 'social dynamics' (Bradley, 2008) that impact on the extent to which all involved ca...
Chapter
In the context of rapid change in higher education, there is a great demand for powerful theory and methods to address key issues, particularly related to teaching and learning. This chapter traces the uptake of Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) in higher education studies in South Africa to make sense of how and why this theory has become so popular....
Book
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This book is published by African Minds under a Creative Commons license and is free for download. https://www.africanminds.co.za/understanding-higher-education/ The book draws on more than twenty five years worth of our research on higher education in order to explore the South African system from the early 1990s until the protests of 2015 and...
Chapter
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In our rapidly globalising world, “the global scholar” is a key concept for reimagining the roles of academics at the nexus of the global and the local. This book critically explores the implications of the concept for understanding postgraduate studies and supervision. It uses three conceptual lenses – “horizon”, “currency” and “trajectory” – to o...
Article
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Postgraduate education has grown enormously worldwide, which has led to supervisors being expected to take on a supervisor's role immediately upon graduation. But crossing the border from being a doctoral candidate to becoming a doctoral supervisor entails significant shifts in identity and an understanding of postgraduate pedagogy and institutiona...
Article
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In the midst of massification, targeted funding has been used in various countries to address inefficiencies in teaching and learning. In South Africa, arguments have been made for significant investments to be made and the University Capacity Development Grant (UCDG) in particular is being used as a driver for improved outputs. Prior to its implem...
Article
Universities have used an array of incentives to increase academic publications, which are highly rewarded in the South African higher education funding formula. While all universities use indirect incentives, such as linking promotion and probation to publication, the mechanisms used in some institutions have taken a very direct form, whereby auth...
Article
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It is incumbent upon doctoral students that their work makes a substantive contribution to the field within which it is conducted. Dissemination of this work beyond the dissertation, whether whilst studying or after graduation, is necessary to ensure that the contribution does not remain largely dormant. While dissemination can take many forms, pee...
Article
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Universities have long been characterised by hierarchical and paternalistic management structures and institutional cultures. Change is therefore to be welcomed but, in contexts where social change is urgently needed, it is possible to mistake a change in any direction as being worthwhile. Around the world, recent shifts in university leadership an...
Chapter
Universities are grappling with multiple shifts that have made the processes of supporting student learning and enabling the professional development of academic staff ever more challenging. Common sense approaches abound but do little to address the complexities of the issues being faced in our institutions. This book brings together a rich collec...
Article
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Public Management and Public Administration are important professions for an emerging democracy such as South Africa. They operate as the interface between state and public and are responsible for enacting many of the government's policies and social initiatives. Concerns about a lack of capacity in the sector suggest that those in these roles may...
Article
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In the last volume of this journal, Garraway and Winberg called for a reimagination of Universities of Technology (UoT) within the South African higher education system. This article continues that conversation by looking at the implications that the formation of the UoT had for academics’ identities. Technikon lecturers’ identities were closely ti...
Article
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Student success is an enormous concern in light of the high drop-out rates in South African universities. There is a wealth of local and international research which provides complex explanations for these statistics, but the common-sense understanding is that those students who have the right attributes and who work hard will do well. While the no...
Article
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Plagiarism needs to be addressed to maintain academic standards and to safeguard the integrity of the academic project. With the evolving digital world, conventional methods of addressing plagiarism are gradually being dismissed in favour of new technologies. Unfortunately, there is a general misunderstanding about what such technologies do. This p...
Book
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Around the world, more young people than ever before are attending university. Student numbers in South Africa have doubled since democracy and for many families, higher education is a route to a better future for their children. But alongside the overwhelming demand for higher education, questions about its purposes have intensified. Deliberations...
Article
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Curriculum transformation is a central concern for higher education in response to rapidly expanding technologies, globalisation and the widening diversity of the student and staff body. This is particularly true for South Africa, which is still grappling with inequalities and pressure for social redress in its universities. Early responses to supp...
Article
The PhD is the highest formal qualification and signifies a scholar’s rite of passage as a legitimate contributor of new knowledge in a field. Examiner reports make claims about what is legitimate in a thesis and what is not and thus articulate the organising principles through which participation in a field is measured. The authors analysed 39 exa...
Article
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Teaching Excellence Awards have raised the profile of teaching as a scholarly project. There are however a number of questions about what constitutes teaching excellence and how ‘excellence’ is understood in current higher education. In a post-colonial South Africa, where significant injustices permeate our society, we question whether excellence c...
Article
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Much academic development work that is framed by academic literacies, especially that focused on writing, is concerned with disciplinary conventions and knowledges: conceptual, practical, and procedural. This paper argues, however, that academic literacies work tends to conflate literacy practices with disciplinary knowledge structures, thus obscur...
Article
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Research is conceptualised in multiple and contradictory ways within and across Historically Black Universities (HBUs) with consequences for knowledge production. Under the apartheid regime, research was deliberately underdeveloped in such institutions and this continues to have an impact. We argue that if HBUs are to move from the constraints of t...
Article
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Internationally, classes in higher education institutions are becoming larger and more diverse. Support for ‘non-traditional’ students has often taken the form of additional remedial classes offered outside the main curriculum, which has met with limited success. Sociocultural theories of learning argue that the potential clash between the sociocul...
Article
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This paper responds to Muller’s notions of ‘knowing-that’ and ‘knowing how’. The paper addresses how educational interventions that are designed in line with targeted discipline-specific subjects can enhance the balance between professional practice and disciplinary knowledge in professionally accredited programmes at universities of technology. Th...
Article
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The traditional apprenticeship model of supervision in which the single scholar charts her individual research path is giving way to more collaborative learning environments. Doctoral programmes, in which communities of scholars work together, have become increasingly common. This study interrogated how being part of such a community enables the co...
Article
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Review of: Holness, L. 2015. Growing the next generation of researchers: A handbook for emerging researchers and their mentors. ISBN 978-1-77582-085-7. Pbk. Xxii + 258pp.
Article
This paper reports on the use of a framework developed from Bhaskar's critical realism and Archer's social realism to analyse teaching- and learning-related data produced as a result of the first cycle of institutional audits in the South African higher education system. The use of the framework allows us to see what this cycle of audits did achiev...
Article
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The tutorial system is considered to be a useful pedagogical intervention to improve student retention, particularly in the context of a first-year student’s experience of entering university. For these novice students to achieve academic success, it is important that they are given access to the subject-specific knowledge and practices in their di...
Article
Academic development is a recent project in the university, intended to enable the university to respond to the needs of a more diverse student body. In South Africa, such work arose during late apartheid, and has now moved to a more central institutional position advocating responsiveness in the light of the educational disparities that are the le...
Conference Paper
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here is consensus amongst scholars from different disciplines that games redefine the traditional understanding of what it means to be a literate student in the twenty-first century. In games such as board, computer, video or mobile games, the way literacy and technology converge dismisses the conventional idea that literacy is a universal technica...
Conference Paper
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Quality is a fundamental focus in the South African higher education context, especially in terms of the deteriorating student results in the subject Tooth Morphology and low throughput rates. This prompted an investigation into the quality, content, delivery and assessment of the subject Tooth Morphology, through which a Tooth Morphology board gam...
Article
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Research-intensive universities, such as the Russell Group in the UK, the Ivy League Colleges in the USA and the Sandstone Universities in Australia, enjoy particular status in the higher education landscape. They are, however, also often associated with social elitism and selectivity, and this has led to critique as higher education systems seek t...
Article
Participants in a study on learning the clinical aspects of medicine in a problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum repeatedly referred to themselves as ‘Guinea pigs’ at the mercy of a curriculum experiment. This article interrogates and problematises the ‘Guinea pig’ identity ascribed to and assumed by the first cohort of students who undertook a PB...
Article
Argumentative and Trustworthy Scholars: The construction of academic staff at research-intensive universities’
Article
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6 The field of Higher Education Studies is a rapidly growing one in South Africa and abroad but there has been little systematic review of the form this growth is taking. This article presents a case study of higher education research by considering a newly formed Higher Education Studies doctoral programme. The programme comprises 29 PhD scholars...
Article
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Student-centered learning is an increasingly popular approach that shifts the focus from the teacher to the student. The approach argues that we need to have a clear understanding of who our students are and what their needs are in order for us to provide quality education. This paper applauds the focus on the student but raises two concerns about...
Article
Indications of poor quality in students’ written work necessitated the need for deeper investigations aimed at designing and applying appropriate teaching/learning and assessment innovations in the course curriculum. The project-exercise engaged a conceptual-explorative approach through: reviews/investigations; educational diagnosis; design/applica...
Article
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McKenna, S. (2013) Introduction and Editor ‘Aims of Higher Education’ Kagisano Volume 9
Article
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Many students enter tertiary education unfamiliar with the ‘norms and conventions’ of their disciplines. Research into academic literacies has shown that in order to succeed in their studies, students are expected to conform to these norms and conventions, which are often unrecognized or seen as ‘common sense’ by lecturers. Students have to develop...
Article
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The South African higher education institutional audit process was introduced alongside similar endeavors internationally. However, despite many similarities, each country foregrounds different concerns within their higher education quality processes. In their seminal article, Harvey and Green suggest five possible notions of quality, one of which...
Article
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Incl. abstract, bib. This paper tracks the development of the Integrated Quality Management System in South African schools after the dismantling of apartheid in 1994. We argue that the quality processes that are now in place emerged in response to the autocratic school inspection systems that preceded them but did not sufficiently address the impa...
Article
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This paper discusses the implementation of a project in which a writer–respondent intervention was used to develop the academic literacy practices of students. Writer–respondent projects are based on the idea that detailed developmental comments and questions on students’ draft writing can assist them in acquiring the peculiar norms of academic lit...
Article
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s research interests are teaching and learning practices in higher education and the ways in which national policies are constructed within institutions. LEE SUTHERLAND holds a doctoral degree relating to the implementation of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in higher education, and works in the fields of quality assurance and academic developm...
Article
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Difficulties students experience in attaining the required discipline-specific academic literacy practices were frequently described by the lecturers interviewed in this study as arising from low levels of student motivation. Motivation was vested in the student as an individual attribute, rather than as a factor of the broader context. The student...
Article
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A discourse-analysis of what lecturers say about student learning is used to discuss some of their dominant understandings of this process. In this article, the two discourses that are discussed reflect lecturers' beliefs about the interplay between language and learning. Lecturers' discourses do not only reflect their classroom methodology, but al...
Article
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This paper provides an overview of the four major research paradigms and suggests that they provide useful ways of looking at curriculum design. It proposes that worldviews can be roughly delineated along similar categories to those of research and that the fundamental differences between these four paradigms is a major factor accounting for the di...
Article
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This article considers the discourses used by students, mainstream lecturers and academic development lecturers in their evaluations of language interventions at Technikon Natal from 1991 to 2002. The discourses under scrutiny are those of academic literacy: the beliefs, attitudes, values and norms necessary for epistemological access to higher edu...
Article
Full-text available
This paper provides an overview of the four major research paradigms and suggests that they provide useful ways of looking at curriculum design. It proposes that worldviews can be roughly delineated along similar categories to those of research and that the fundamental differences between these four paradigms is a major factor accounting for the di...
Article
Full-text available
This thesis examines the construction of academic literacy at the Durban Institute of Technology through a discourse analysis of interviews with educators and learners. Academic literacy comprises the norms and values of higher education as manifested in discipline-specific practices. Students are expected to take on these practices, and the underl...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Archived project
ESRC/NRF Project on higher education in South Africa. The project has concluded and the findings are available here: https://www.africanminds.co.za/dd-product/higher-education-pathways-south-african-undergraduate-education-and-the-public-good/
Archived project
This project was funded in 2015 by SANORD (The Southern African-Nordic Centre) in order to facilitate North-South researcher mobility and exchange. In the current project, researchers at four universities collaborated, including two South African (Stellenbosch University and Rhodes University) and two Swedish universities (Lund University and University of Gothenburg).