Title page for ETD etd-05242011-111543


Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Brown, Vanessa Jane Kathleen
Email brownvjk@gmail.com
URN etd-05242011-111543
Document Title How university academics respond to the introduction of new quality policies in South African higher education
Degree PhD
Department Education Management and Policy Studies
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof V Pillay Supervisor
Keywords
  • evaluative state
  • historically disadvantaged universities
  • performance indicators
  • audit culture
  • managerialism
  • quality assurance
  • academics’ responses
  • quality evaluation
  • performativity
  • quality
Date 2011-04-12
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
This study explores the consequences for a historically black university (HBU) of the South African state’s focus on routine and strategic quality evaluation within a policy framework that views higher education as a lever for social change and economic development. It analyses the changing nature of academic work and probes the motivations and understandings of institutional managers and academics in an attempt to explain their responses to policy requirements.

The theory of the Evaluative State is employed to examine the nature and consequences of overzealous responsiveness by a historically black university in transition in South Africa. It suggests that the changing relationship between state and university is characterised by contradictions and ambivalence, a result of the interplay between a strong sense of loyalty to the state on the one hand and a recognition of the failure of the state to recognise and reward achievements valued by the HBU. This study suggests that state steering, through the use of output evaluation and efficiency-directed performance indicators, has resulted in failure to achieve central policy goals of development, equity and social justice.

The study is guided by one main research question: How do academics in a historically black South African university in transition engage with and implement internal and external quality assurance processes and policies?

The literature review reveals significant gaps in understanding the consequences of the rise of the Evaluative State in higher education. A major limitation has been a lack of focus on higher education systems in developing countries and on the consequences of imposing neo-liberal frameworks upon local realities which require redress to remedy historically constructed economic and social disadvantage.

The descriptions of academics and institutional managers that emerge in this study highlight stark differences between the two groups in perceptions of and approaches to quality improvement and university work. Significantly, institutional history, context and mission emerge as strong factors shaping academics’ and managers’ responses to change, factors that have largely been disregarded by state policy which focuses more on output achievement than on input variables.

© 2010 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Brown, VJK 2010, How university academics respond to the introduction of new quality policies in South African higher education, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05242011-111543/ >

D11/140/ag

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