The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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A lively debate on the relationship between the university and society in a developing country like South Africa is emerging. Academic Interaction looks at the main results of a research study on university interaction with external social partners. It centres on definitional boundaries around whether engagement requires new forms of knowledge that differ from traditional academic modes and around who is defined as 'the community' at local, regional, national or international levels. There is general agreement that the field is conceptually under-specified and theoretically rather thin.

Academic Interaction presents a comprehensive data set stemming from research conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) on behalf of the National Research Foundation (NRF). The study aims to present not only an analysis of what exists but also utilises an analytical approach that will encourage future debates to be more empirically informed, contextually grounded and hence conducted in a more rigorous and robust manner.

This book will be of interest to higher education scholars across the globe as well as innovation systems scholars and university academics.

Product information

Format : 240mm x 168mm (Soft Cover)
Pages : 312
ISBN 10 : 978-07969-2389-9
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-2389-9
Publish Year : 2013
Rights : World Rights

Table of contents
List of tables
List of figures
List of boxes
Acknowledgements
Introduction
University interaction with external social partners
The HEQC as driver of a new emphasis on community engagement
The research impetus
The research project
The monograph

1 A conceptual framework for analysing university interaction with external social partners
The role of the university in economic and social development
The South African debate on the universitys role
Extending the framework: from interaction with firms to external social partners

2 Research design and methodology
Selection of the universities
Collaboration and participation
Validity and reliability of the survey instrument
Adaptation and extension of the survey instrument
Overview of the instrument
Data-gathering methodology
Call centre and monitoring of returns
Response rate, representivity and generalisability
Data analysis methodology
Benefits of a collaborative approach

3 Mapping the scale of interaction in the five universities
The majority of academics engage with external partners
The 81% that do engage how?
Conclusion

4 International reputation and local relevance: community engagement as 
service at research university 1
A reputation-oriented research university
Formalising community engagement
Community engagement in the practice of academics
Conclusion

5 Connecting academic work to the public good: social responsiveness at research university 2
Social responsiveness and stimulating debate
An advocacy and brokerage approach to promote social responsiveness
Social responsiveness in the practice of academics
Conclusion

6 Community engagement and work-integrated learning: a paradigm shift at the university of technology
Distinctive features of the university of technology
A framework of community engagement and work-integrated learning
Distinct groups of academics interacting in different ways
Conclusion

7 Forging a new academic identity: engagement at a comprehensive university
Distinctive features of the comprehensive university
Distinct groups of academics interacting to different degrees
Differing frequency and intensity of knowledge fields
A variegated pattern of types of relationship and partners
Personal interaction and public research dissemination
Academic outputs and benefits to build institutional reputation
Conclusion

8 A more active development orientation: community engagement at a rural university
A development orientation
What were the main reasons why a small group of academics did not engage with external social partners?
Development-oriented social partners
More intense resource constraints the major obstacle
Development-oriented forms of interaction

Direct knowledge-intensive channels of interaction
A similar pattern of academic outputs and benefits
Conclusion: A more active development-orientation

9 Conclusion: Towards university interaction with external social partners
Mapping patterns of interaction across the higher education system
Mapping concepts in policy and practice
Towards differentiated strategic interventions
Towards a contextually and institutionally specific conceptual framework for engagement and building the national system of innovation
The contribution of universities to social innovation, poverty reduction and socio-economic development
Further research
Further empirical work
Further conceptual work

References

Appendices
Appendix A: Consent form and interview schedule
Appendix B: Chapter 4
Appendix C: Chapter 5
Appendix D: Chapter 6
Appendix E: Chapter 7
Appendix F: Chapter 8

Notes on the authors

Glenda Kruss is a research director in the Education and Skills Development research programme. Dr Kruss is an experienced researchers who has led projects and published widely in a range of educational fields. Her research over the past few years has focused on higher education, exploring the issue of responsiveness to economic and social needs. Her focus began on higher education in relation to the national science and technology system, research and innovation policy, and to national and regional development, with a specific focus on university-industry interaction.

She completed a study of university-industry interaction in sub-Saharan Africa, comparing conditions in South Africa, Uganda and Nigeria as part of an international comparative study with partners in Latin America and Asia. She has extended this work conceptually and empirically to research university interaction with social partners more broadly, whether government, communities, civil society organisations, firms or other productive agents.

Mariette Visser is a research manager in the Education and Skills Development research programme of the Human Sciences Research Council. She holds an honours degree in Mathematics from the University of Pretoria, a post-graduate National Certificate in Datametrics and a masters degree in Information Systems from UNISA. Mariettes research expertise lies in areas of planning and management of surveys, design and development of research instruments, database design and management, data mining, and data analysis. She was part of the teams that have undertaken large research projects for organisations such as the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, National Department of Science and Technology, National Department of Labour, National Department of Education, Gauteng Department of Education, Nelson Mandela Foundation and the European Union.

Mogau Aphane was a Junior researcher in the Education and Skills Development research programme. He obtained a BSc Agric (Agricultural Economics) from University of Limpopo in 2007 and a Masters degree in Economics from the University of the Western Cape in 2010. His Masters thesis entitled Small scale mango farmers, transaction costs and changing agro-food markets: evidence from Vhembe and Mopani districts of Limpopo province sought to estimate the impact of transaction costs on small-scale mango farmers participation in the formal and informal markets. Before joining the HSRC in January 2010, he was a Research Assistant and a Tutor in the Economics department at the University of the Western Cape. Since joining the HSRC he worked on data related activities which mainly involved gathering and analysing data on innovation studies and education data in South Africa. Mogau currently works at the Competition Commission of South Africa as a Junior merger analyst in the Mergers and Acquisition division. His work involves investigating merger cases notified to the Commission and making the recommendation to the Commissions Executive Committee and the Competition Tribunal.

Genevieve Haupt is a Research Trainee in the ESD Programme at the HSRC. She is currently registered for a PhD with Rhodes University. She holds a Masters Degree in Research Psychology from the University of the Western Cape. Her Masters thesis evaluated the group differences and item bias of an adapted English language proficiency test for use in South Africa across the English-and-Xhosa-first language speaking group. Before joining the HSRC in 2009, Genevieve worked as a practice manager at a Private Psychology Practice and registered with the HPCSA as an Independent Psychometrist. She is currently involved in various projects within ESD where she assists with data management and analysis as well as report writing. The projects she is currently involved in include Tracking the Trajectories of the Learnership and Apprenticeship system in South Africa, Promoting higher education-industry partnerships and collaborations, and Teacher Assessment Resources for Monitoring and Improving Instruction, just to name a few.

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