The integration of academic skills/support programmes into university department structures: a case study in the sociology of education

Drewett, Michael (1993) The integration of academic skills/support programmes into university department structures: a case study in the sociology of education. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

This research focuses on the extent to which the Rhodes University Academic Skills Programme (ASP), now known as the Academic Development Programme, is able to act as an agent of progressive change within Rhodes University. In so doing it concentrates on the potential of the strategy of integrated academic development for dealing with the academic needs of university students within the context of South Africa as a society in transition. The candidate considers the inability of structuralist educational theory to account for the potential of human agency at the site of formal education. It is shown that structuralist theories provide deterministic and pessimistic accounts of the role of institutions of formal education. In support of this contention this study explores the history of ASP at Rhodes University, demonstrating that significant change in student academic development has already taken place. ASP has contributed to change within the said University through challenging traditional notions of academic development. This thesis suggests that the non-structuralist critical theory of Jurgen Habermas provides a more holistic account of ASP than do structuralist theories of formal education. Through the incorporation of Habermas's theory of communicative action a process of critical integration is explored, showing that a strategy of integrated academic development has the potential to involve all those who have an interest in university education through a process of rational discourse. This potential is strengthened by the fact that many students and staff have expressed an awareness of the need for an integrated academic development strategy. This thesis subsequently explores the possibility of there being a process of democratic and rational discourse which could lead to a progressive integration programme in the Rhodes University Department of Sociology and Industrial Sociology. This thesis stresses the contested nature of the integration process within departments. It is indicated that Habermas's critical theory is able to account for the changes which have taken place in the past and which are presently under way. It is argued that it not possible to predict future outcomes, but that if ASP pursues a process of rational discourse, it will indeed be able to stimulate a critical integrative approach to academic development in the Rhodes University Department of Sociology and Industrial Sociology.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Rhodes University, South Africa, Academic Skills Programme, ASP, Change, Academic development, Students, Society, Transition, Human agency, Communicative action, Discourse
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Sociology and Industrial Sociology
Supervisors:Coetzee, Jan and Carter, George
ID Code:4055
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:19 Nov 2012 06:28
Last Modified:19 Nov 2012 06:28
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