Coaching and Institutional Support for Law School Academics During Postgraduate Studies and for Increased Publications

By Hilary Geber and C.J. Visser.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Career progression for Law academics from probation through to doctoral level studies often seems like a dimly lit obstacle course. Why do many academics find difficulty in completing their studies in the minimum time and publishing afterwards? As the University of the Witwatersrand has a strategic goal of increasing the number of academics holding PhDs from the current 48% to 70% by 2022, the ‘The Research Boot Camp Programme in the School of Law’ programme was launched in 2010 by the School of Law to address PhD completion and increase publications. Only 23% of permanent School of Law academics hold PhDs, so PhD candidates on the staff were invited to join the programme. This article discusses the programme structure, the coaching, the outcomes and participants’ evaluation of the year-long intervention. It is evident in studies conducted in South Africa (Geber, 2006) and elsewhere (Kearns, Gardiner, & Marshall, 2008) that institutional support including mentoring and coaching is necessary for enabling aspirant academics to establish successful careers.

Keywords: Full-time Academics, Mentoring, Coaching, Research Publications, Postgraduate Degrees, Accelerated Completion

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp.173-186. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 806.679KB).

Dr. Hilary Geber

Staff Development Specialist, Centre for Learning, Teaching and Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Hilary Geber is an Industrial Psychologist specializing in staff development and mentoring at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She has published widely, locally and internationally. She works with other South African Universities, public and private organisations implementing mentoring strategies and programmes. She has been involved in collaborative work with international mentoring experts like Professor David Clutterbuck (Sheffield Hallam University) and Professor Colleen Chesterman (University of Technology, Sydney). She is an evaluator of mentoring programmes and external examiner of postgraduate students in many institutions. She completed a six month study leave period at the University of Dublin, Trinity College in 2009 and was involved in a several mentoring programmes there. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring. She is responsible for several mentoring and coaching projects for accelerating the attainment of doctorates at Wits and increasing research productivity.

C.J. Visser

Lecturer, School of law, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Cornelius Visser is a lecturer at the Wits School of Law specializing in communications law and the legal profession. He has published in the fields of media and privacy law. Cornelius has presented lectures to the public broadcaster on the role of the media to expose the private lives of public figures and celebrities. He is involved in the curriculum development of the School of Law’s academic qualifications which specifically focuses on the incorporation and developments of skills programmes in the various qualifications.


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