An investigation into Dental Technology lecturers' discourses of academic identity formation within the emergence of Universities of Technology in South Africa
Gumbi, Thobani Linton
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Post-apartheid restructuring of the South African Higher Education system has brought about significant changes. Institutions of Higher Learning have implemented minor and major changes in their objectives, delivery of knowledge, functions, accreditations and overall outcomes (Du Pre 2006, Reddy 2006, Department of Education 1997). One of the more significant transitions within South Africa’s Higher Education landscape has been the conversion of technikons into universities of technology (UoTs) (Powell & McKenna 2006). This thesis investigates the discourses of academics within a university of technology, exploring their responses to and constructions of institutional shifts. The study has an ontological focus in that it is interested in the ‘being’ of Dental Technology academics. It is interested in the discursive constructions not only of themselves as academics, but also of their work in this changed institutional context. By conducting interviews with the Dental Technology academics lecturing in universities of technology in South Africa, it was the intention to explore these academics’ discourses on institutional shifts. Adopting discourse analysis as the primary method of data analysis enabled the exploration of how academics constructed the notion of academic identity, how they discursively constructed students and knowledge, as well as other core issues related to their work.