Professor Baden Offord
Curtin University, Australia
Professor Christine Boughey
Rhodes University, South Africa
She is now located in the Centre for Postgraduate Studies.
Her research interests range from academic literacy, the student experience, the professional development of academic staff and higher education more generally.
All her work has been located within a critical perspective. Work on academic literacy, for example, draws on understandings which see the entire being of some students negated by the university, not always consciously. Her most recent project, called ‘Going Home’ involves looking at the experiences of black working class students in relation to their home of origin and asks how ‘calls’ from home impact on the development of their academic selves.
With colleague Sioux Mckenna, she has written a book (currently in press) that identifies a continuum of understandings of students’ learning ranging from what is termed ’the model of the student as a decontextualised learner’ to ’the model of the student as a social being’. The model of the student as a decontextualised learner sees successful learning as dependent on characteristics inherent in the individual. The model of the student as a social being, on the other hand, acknowledges the multiplicity of knowledge forms and ways of learning and the ways in which some are privileged over others. The book argues that it is only the model of the student as a social being that will explain the unevenness of student performance data, even though the ‘decontextualised learner’ dominates as the explanation for student success and failure.
Much of her work has focused on South African higher education more generally and has included a big piece of work commissioned by the Council on Higher Education looking at the impact of the first cycle of institutional audits on universities.
As Dean and Deputy Vice Chancellor at Rhodes University, she was responsible for developing the teaching and learning strategy for the institution. This task involved the development of policy, and the strategies associated with it, that acknowledged the status of the institution as ‘research intensive’. In all this work, she was very critical of the encroachment of 'New Public Management’ into the functioning of universities, arguing instead for the need for academics to retain control of the leadership and management of the academic project. Thinking developed as a result of this area of work informs her HERDSA keynote.
Further keynote speakers to be announced.