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J. Nothnagel

Central University of Technology (SOUTH AFRICA)
The aspect of postgraduate supervision has been a very popular topic on the postgraduate research agenda in recent years because of its changing nature in the academic working environment, and has received considerable coverage in the literature both nationally and internationally. Postgraduate supervision involves a relationship in which the boundaries are negotiated, maintained, challenged and reconstructed around the relationship between the postgraduate supervisor, the postgraduate student and the Higher Education Institution. Since government funding of Universities of Technology (UoTs) has gradually become more linked to the student and the completion of his/her postgraduate research, there has been a growing interest in locating the factors influencing successful and timely completion. It is because of the funding aspect of postgraduate research that the postgraduate supervisor plays a very important role. Funding is also linked to quality assurance. In this regard Botha (2009:204) explained that quality assurance mechanisms may also include instruments that focus on specific processes or services and may demand sound leadership and management processes within a UoT. Furthermore, the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) (2010:94) referred to the important qualities of an effective postgraduate supervisor, which requires “committed and energetic leadership”. For postgraduate students to progress in their research, good leadership is required from the side of the postgraduate supervisor. A postgraduate supervisor with good leadership qualities can allow students to realise their full potential. The success of postgraduate supervision depends extremely on the commitment, energy, goal orientation and enthusiasm of the postgraduate supervisor. ASSAf (2010:36) also stated the importance of the “education of high-quality scholars and professionals in research and development activities” which can have an important influence in the workplace, whether in an academic environment or the private/public sector. Postgraduate supervisors should be able to engage with their students in ways that will nurture relationships to help students towards the completion of their studies.

This paper aims to provide a perspective of postgraduate supervision in a changing academic working environment. This perspective can be applied across different disciplines at UoT’s to provide a significant insight into the postgraduate supervision process.