About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2297-2303
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1487

Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain

POTENCY OF TECHNICAL INTERVENTIONS TO SUPPORT RESEARCH CAPACITY IN A COMPREHENSIVE UNIVERSITY IN SOUTH AFRICA: A CASE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ZULULAND

N.B.W Mlitwa, R. Bappoo

University of ZuluLand (SOUTH AFRICA)
A belief that a vibrant research environment yields potent outputs is widely held in academia. This has seen research ambitious universities placing their research support-base higher in their institutional development agendas, and the University of Zululand (UNIZULU) is no exception to this rule. Success however, requires an environment that is holistically conducive to research potency, and the necessary enablers according to the literature include relevant research competencies, motivation, potent management, a supporting collaborative peer network, research facilities and infrastructure. Financial and administrative support, the enabling policy (and guidelines) framework, vibrant institutional processes and systems, and most significantly – awareness of (and compliance to) effective coordination and operational procedures are equally significant. Despite its noble resolve to the quality and quantity of research, UNIZULU still lacks factors necessary to fast-track research potency. Shortages of skilled researchers in core niche research areas remain a major challenge at UNIZULU. To this end, the aim of this paper was to explore the adequacy of institutional processes and systems as basic enablers across academic faculties and departments. We also wanted to understand the researchers’ awareness of (and compliance to) operational procedures to facilitate their research transactions and processes. An interpretive approach, using qualitative methods, including document analysis and semi-structured interviews with officials across the 4 academic faculties, and officials in the university research support office were used to source data. A mixed picture has emerged from the findings, with the academic community of the university divided between the few highly motivated and skilled researchers, and the majority that lack motivation, skill, and are ultimately, not participating in research. There are also researchers who do not lack motivation, but skill, time and awareness of support solutions. A lack of enabling systems across academic departments and faculties also emerged as a strong impediment to research at UNIZULU. Heavy teaching loads with many academics teaching extremely large classes, leaving most of them with or no room for productive research. Drastic measures, specifically geared to redress skills shortages in the core research niche areas are recommended. UNIZULU must revive potency in academic faculty/departmental research support systems. Teaching work-loads must also be revised to allow research time and space for willing researchers. Targeted recruitment and increased collaborations should be included in a resultant redress initiative.
@InProceedings{MLITWA2016POT,
author = {Mlitwa, N.B.W and Bappoo, R.},
title = {POTENCY OF TECHNICAL INTERVENTIONS TO SUPPORT RESEARCH CAPACITY IN A COMPREHENSIVE UNIVERSITY IN SOUTH AFRICA: A CASE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ZULULAND},
series = {10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-5617-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2016.1487},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2016.1487},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {2297-2303}}
TY - CONF
AU - N.B.W Mlitwa AU - R. Bappoo
TI - POTENCY OF TECHNICAL INTERVENTIONS TO SUPPORT RESEARCH CAPACITY IN A COMPREHENSIVE UNIVERSITY IN SOUTH AFRICA: A CASE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ZULULAND
SN - 978-84-608-5617-7/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2016.1487
PY - 2016
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2016
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2016 Proceedings
SP - 2297
EP - 2303
ER -
N.B.W Mlitwa, R. Bappoo (2016) POTENCY OF TECHNICAL INTERVENTIONS TO SUPPORT RESEARCH CAPACITY IN A COMPREHENSIVE UNIVERSITY IN SOUTH AFRICA: A CASE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ZULULAND, INTED2016 Proceedings, pp. 2297-2303.
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