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Thursday, 15 October 2020

Value of supporting evidence in Doctoral Review process

EVALUATION: The Council on Higher Education panel aims to measure the extent to which institutional strategies, policies, protocols and procedures for postgraduate study meet the Doctoral Qualification Standard for universities. EVALUATION: The Council on Higher Education panel aims to measure the extent to which institutional strategies, policies, protocols and procedures for postgraduate study meet the Doctoral Qualification Standard for universities.

The upcoming virtual site visit by the national review for doctoral qualifications panel will see CPUT providing evidence of acceptable practices and resources available to support the Institutional Self Evaluation Report (ISER), submitted by the University in April.  

The panel, under the authority of the Council on Higher Education (CHE), aims to measure the extent to which institutional strategies, policies, protocols and procedures for postgraduate study meet the Doctoral Qualification Standard for both public and private higher education institutions. The virtual site visit is scheduled for 19 to 22 October.

The ISER was written based on the faculties’ Self Evaluation Reports that were consolidated into one high-level document. It reflected the status of doctoral qualifications in the institution and detailed acceptable practices and facilities available to support doctoral students in achieving their qualifications.

The Manual for National Review of Doctoral Studies (April 2019) provided by CHE indicates what types of evidence each institution needs to produce to substantiate the findings, conclusions and claims of what the institution included in the ISER.

The panel then uses the evidence provided by the University to verify the validity of the claims provided in the ISER, says Dr Siyanda Makaula, the National Review of Doctoral Qualifications Institutional Coordinator at CPUT. The forms of evidence the University needs to have available include policies, procedures, guidelines, evidence of data from Higher Education Management Information Systems, faculty documentation, records of minutes, evidence of virtual tours of facilities, administration of supervision and support provided as well as other relevant information referred to in the ISER.

As this will be the first time a virtual site visit is conducted at CPUT, there was a need to re-think how the evidence will be presented digitally. Previously, panel members would walk about the campus for site tours of CPUT’s facilities.

“This is not possible now and the evidence resources need to be handled differently. This is likely to be the norm in the future,” predicts Makaula, “although at any given time a visit after lockdown by the panel and CHE could still be conducted.”

He confirms that Faculty Coordinators were appointed to compile the extensive evidence required and to make it readily available during the time of the review visit. “An extensive file plan has been produced and this evidence will be collated by the QMD [Quality Management Directorate] and will be made available, digitally, to the panel during the review”.

Evidence to show facilities and specialist laboratories will be filmed and the videos played to the panel during the review. Makaula adds that the Marketing and Communication Department will produce an overview video of CPUT and the research support facilities available to doctoral students as well as PowerPoint presentations of specialist faculty facilities.

“This will also include a snapshot of the resources available to postgraduate students from information supplied by the CPGS (Centre for Post Graduate Studies), Libraries and the Research Directorate. These will include the HDC [Higher Degrees Committee’s] digital system, the library and other resources and systems that are uniquely available to Doctoral students.”

The Research Directorate will provide evidence such as facilities available for the directorate across campuses, logistics and support for staff, writing and publication support, financial support to staff, virtual screen shots of the Research Information Management System, maintenance and upgrade plans, recent news items on doctoral research as well as graduation footage of doctoral graduates.

“CPUT faculties have been given the opportunity to provide images and explanation in the form of PowerPoints to showcase their support for doctoral students,” says Makaula.

“The University is currently responding to requests from the CHE panel for additional evidence they require to evaluate, and triangulate the discussion in the ISER and to establish that the process of developing the ISER was an all-inclusive process resulting in a balanced view of doctoral provisioning at CPUT.”

For further information and updates on the process contact Makaula on makaulas@cput.ac.za

Written by Kwanele Butana

Email: butanak@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Business and Management Sciences and Education Faculties, Student Affairs Department and Cape Town and Mowbray Campuses.