a fast track system for accelerated throuput at master'

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A methodology that could be used by university supervisors of Research Master's degree candidates to quickly complete their dissertations/theses in the shortest time possible.

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A FAST TRACK SYSTEM FOR ACCELERATED THROUPUT AT MASTER’S DEGREE LEVEL:

A FAST TRACK SYSTEM FOR ACCELERATED THROUPUT AT MASTER’S DEGREE LEVEL TM Ruhiiga School of Environmental & Health Sciences, Mafikeng Campus, North West University, 02 February 2011, ADC, Mmabatho, South Africa Available at http://wwwnahoninye.blogspot.html http://www.authorsteam/presentations

Format:

Format 1. Introduction 2. Institutional organisation 3. Faculty Postgraduate System 4. Departmental sub-systems 5. Supervision Structure 6. Internal System Re-design 7. Reflection & Feedback

1. Introduction :

1. Introduction 1. Low completion rates across universities 2. Postgraduate studies management systems- disjointed, diverse, limited inter-departmental collaboration, isolation & coordination problems 3. No standard progress tracking systems 4. Differentials in throughput rates at individual, departmental, programme, school, faculty levels, quality assurance protocols 5. Issues of continuity & time management

2. Institutional organisation:

2. Institutional organisation 1. Simplified protocols at the institutional, faculty, school & departmental level for handling applications, processing, admission & study commencement. Time not optimized 2. Administrative procedures between management & faculty. Lack of urgency 3. Administrative procedures at departmental, school & faculty level. Lack synchronization 4. Information transmission between faculty & management: sensitivity to time?

3. Faculty Postgraduate System :

3. Faculty Postgraduate System 1. Control and approval of research topics, 2. Appointment of examiners & supervisors 3. Postgraduate progress report cards..rationale & follow up. Target non-academic, instead administrative 4. Approval of proposals by the Faculty Exco 5. Ethics clearance for the research project 6. Is the system efficient in delivery terms?

4. Departmental sub-systems :

4. Departmental sub-systems 1. Role of HOD in handling quality applications 2. Choice of supervision & collaboration 3. Proposal preparation & defense?..optional? 4. Departmental Board approves proposals 5. Submitting proposal to FA for the Exco 6. Information transmission between supervisors & students 7. Reporting systems, progress tracking, responsibilities, study materials, internet support, postgraduate research labs etc

5. Supervision Structure :

5. Supervision Structure 1. Testing appropriateness : Matching the research topic with the academic interests of supervisors. Issues of quality, experience, relevance, choice of topics, independence, originality, knowledge recycling? 2. Internal Management : Possibilities for changing supervisors? Protocols? Communication? Withdraw of supervision? 3. Time Management : Timetable for consultation, contact frequencies, deliverables, output deadlines. Need for a paradigm shift? 4. Is the supervision structure effective?

6. Internal System Re-design :

6. Internal System Re-design Rationale: Internal inefficiencies in the s upervision practice, quality of students, research management account for low throughput rates across programmes and faculties Approach: Use process mapping to isolate & focus on specific tasks that waste time but do not contribute to progress Install new system: To over-ride and eliminate time wastage and standardize administration protocols Assumptions: Internal departmental system of academic discipline (staff & students) plus standard output deadlines are known Requirements: Effective communication of expectations by HOD, supervisors & directors

Cont’d:

Cont’d Assumptions: 1. The appropriate supervisor is appointed in time for each candidate? What criteria is applied? [ masterly of research methods, field of study, contemporary developments in the field of the discipline, active in relevant research, significant experience, decision structures at departmental level, external influences etc? 2. That a working environment between supervisor & candidate is built on a clear specification of responsibilities, methods, deliverables and is time bound. The role of the supervisor is to facilitate the learning process and to provide a long term guide map for the final dissertation? 3. That candidates are committed, respond to instructions, have a clear grasp of the research process, know what is expected, and have a target date for submission

Cont’d:

Cont’d 4. That every postgraduate candidate is responsible for his/her progress : a fact most universities fail to instill amongst postgraduates. Requirements: 1. Supervisors design an academic progress spreadsheet on which to capture the details of progress, discussions, tasks, comments, follow-ups etc for each student under them. Thereafter, every communication-be it oral ,face to face, telephonic or by e-mail, is captured and recorded on a continuous basis. Why? To keep track of the progress of individual students because every student is essentially a separate project

Cont’d:

Cont’d 2. That every supervisor should be able to assess the progress of each candidate and where need arises, take remedial actions. No supervisor should be tied down by a student except in the rare occasion where required equipment or apparatus for experiments are not available or where ethical clearance delays the research! 3. That a supervisor should be driven by output targets & should not shy away from demanding a reciprocal response from the candidate. The supervisor is not studying for a master’s degree!!!

Cont’d:

Cont’d 4. Supervisors should beware of “life students ” who are merely passing time! It is easy to identify these. Get rid of these as soon as possible. They are a disservice to the image of the programme and university!! They are likely to damage the academic standing and reputation of supervisors because they ultimately fail to complete the programme. 5. Supervisors do have the option of withdrawing their service at any time once they are convinced that they are wasting their own precious time!

Cont’d:

Cont’d 6. Students should be made aware from day ONE that while the university encourages postgraduate studies, the same university cannot be held at ransom by those incapable of doing their work 7. Finally, programmes should recruit & admit candidates whose areas of research interest are such that there is adequate supervision capacity and infrastructure . It is laughable to have large numbers where students never graduate!!

12. Reflection & Feedback:

12. Reflection & Feedback Consider your approach to supervision now and in the past? *How does your approach depart from the model presented? * How does your approach come close to or is similar ? * What do you think is a new insight into the practice of supervision that you intend to apply? * What role do you normally play in recruiting potential M- students?

Cont’d:

Cont’d * Does your department operate as an integrated unit when handling issues of postgraduate studies? Or are these simply left to the HOD? *How can you reduce time spent on supervision and yet achieve satisfactory throughput rates? * Do you think there is room within your work environment for experimenting with new supervision ideas and approaches? * Do you feel unduly burdened by the demands of supervision? *If yes, what do you plan to do about this, in light of this presentation?

Thank you for your participation:

Thank you for your participation

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