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EARLY-CAREER ACADEMICS

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EARLY-CAREER ACADEMICS

INDUCTION INTO THE PROFESSION

 

Call for Abstracts

 

Due date: Friday 15 May 2021

International Journal of African Higher Education

Editor-in-Chief: Damtew Teferra, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Guest Editor: Jude Ssempebwa, Makerere University

 

I         Background

Early career academics (ECAs) are joining African universities in big numbers as the higher education sector is massively expanding—and facing a multitude of challenges, including more recently, the COVID19 pandemic. These academics have to grapple with inadequacies in facilitation and declining students’ learning readiness to succeed in a drastically transformed higher education environment. Facilities and resources planned for a few students now accommodate hundreds; academics who used to lecture a few students now do so to hundreds; competent and experienced academics are increasingly scarce as they are aging, retired or engaged in extensive moonlighting (Mohamedbhai 2014; Shabani, Okebukola and Oyewole, 2014).

In 2013, through a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the International Network for Higher Education in Africa (INHEA) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, commissioned multi-country studies on how ECA are inducted into academia with all its ramifications. The studies focused on a host of higher education institutions in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. The findings of the studies were discussed at a special session of the Teaching and Learning Conference at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in September 2014. Subsequently, the findings were published in a special issue of Studies in Higher Education (Volume 41, Issue 10)—an official journal of the Society for Research into Higher Education.

In virtually all cases, ECAs were conducted to teaching in the institutions without preparation and proper instruction. As the studies in this issue indicate, except in some South African universities where induction is known to take place, academics typically are unleashed to the profession without the requisite teaching experience. What is in fact contrasting is that whereas training in other lower levels of education – primary and secondary – is often mandatory (regardless of the quality of its delivery) the higher education sector lacks that kind of experience and culture (Teferra, 2016).

In this special issue, Ssempebwa, Teferra & Bakkabulindi in an article “‘Swim or sink’: state of induction in the deployment of early career academics into teaching at Makerere University” observed that the absence of induction for ECAs at the University was attributed to the ECAs’ and their leaders’ high impression of the quality of their teaching. Feelings of professional self-sufficiency led to the dropping of a programme aimed at developing teaching competence among the ECAs. However, the study indicated that the ECAs expressed need for induction into teaching regardless of their good impressions which lacked objective appraisal of the quality of teaching.

In Phase II of the ECA study, we will examine the same issues in a number of countries guided by the following key questions:

  1. What relevant policies and guidelines exist for inducting ECA into teaching?
  2. How are ECA conducted into university life, specifically in teaching?
  3. What are the demands and expectations of university leaders on ECA in terms of teaching?
  4. What facilities, instruments and provisions exist in equipping ECA with requisite skills?
  5. What do ECA say they want for better preparation to the academic profession in terms of teaching?

INHEA now seeks to expand the study to Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia and Zambia and we are inviting abstracts with specific reference to these countries.

 

II        Requirements

Applicants are required to submit the following:

  1. One-page abstract not exceeding 300 words.
  2. Current curriculum vitae, including nationality and complete address.

 

III       Review

Draft and final papers will be subjected to both open and blind peer reviews prior to publishing.

 

IV      Incentives

  1. INHEA will pay authors of accepted papers a modest honorarium at the end of the publication of the work.
  2. The accepted papers will be published in a special issue of the International Journal of African Higher Education (ISSN: 2313-5069).

 

V       Deadline

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 May, 2021. Final drafts will be due on 7 August, 2021.

 

VI      Submission

Applications should be submitted to teferra@ukzn.ac.za