Issues in Higher Education

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Rodrigo Abrantes da Silva, Student, Doctoral Candidate, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Levels of Depth on Critical Thinking: A Practical Approach to Critical Theory View Digital Media

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Luís Fernando Pacheco Pérez  

Several experts worldwide such as: Schön, Van Dijk, Paul, Ausubel, among others, have discussed critical thinking as a fundament to comprehend cognitive processes and to characterize society's attitude towards different ideologies. However, so far only descriptive theory about it has been settled; and there has been no approach to modeling, developing and assessing critical thinking, making it just a construct describing individual's mind set. In response to that theoretical construction, Levels of Depth on Critical Thinking (LDCT) is a self-proposed epistemological-practical path to comprehend the intellectual progress a person might go through when performing guided reflective pedagogical mediations. This approach aims at permitting professors to understand and to employ critical thinking as a competence to be constantly developed in classes, as a transversal skill that impacts all areas of knowledge, independently of the discipline it is included into. LDCT reflects upon stages of cognitive development regarding complex thinking and divides it into four levels: Fixed one-dimensional, Fixed-multi-dimensional, Dynamic multi-dimensional and Dynamic trans-dimensional. These levels prescribe organic characteristics of critical thinking which are witnessed within the discourse of an individual; and by knowing this, professor may now have enough tools to consider critical thinking as a skill that can be controlled, constructed, and promoted inside pedagogical encounters.

Supervisor-supervisee Relationships: Humanities Professoriate’s Perspectives on the Potential and Limits of Democratic Engagement in a Neoliberal Higher Education Space View Digital Media

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Suriamurthee Moonsamy Maistry  

In recent times, there have been increasing calls for a review of the dominant hard science-informed, master-apprenticeship model of research supervision towards reconceptualisations that consider how issues of power might be deliberately subverted to enable democratic supervisor-supervisory relationships. Freirean-influenced post-liberal scholarship in the field draws attention to the student as embodied subject and advocates for a pedagogy and ethic of care (Bozalek et al, 2013) that is both attentive and responsible. While these aspirations are laudable, and worthy of pursuit, supervisors who inhabit higher education contexts characterised by regressive neoliberal accountability and performance regimes, might encounter some level of dissonance as they navigate attempts at the democratic supervision as pedagogy ideal, and prescriptive inflexibilities as it relates to research proposal conceptualisation (and defences), time-to-completion regiments and throughput. In this chapter, I explore the perspectives on supervisor-supervisee engagement of a sample of twenty-two research-active humanities professors at a higher education institution which has ‘deliberately’ institutionalised transformation and decolonisation as policy yet overtly subscribes to the tenets of neoliberal governance of the qualitatively rich work of the academe. Theoretically, I invoke the Spinozian power as potestas (transcendental, authoritarian) and power as potentia (dynamic and immanent) as well as Stiegler’s notion of the ‘conditioned university’ to illuminate the multiple tensions at play when the academe inhabits an inherently contradictory higher education assemblage and the multiple vectors of immanent (ethical) flight they envision.

Advising For Persistence: Faculty Women of Color Reflect on Equitable Practices for Doctoral Student Program Completion View Digital Media

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Beatriz De Santiago Fjelstad,  Natalie Rasmussen  

In the United States, doctoral students of color do not complete their programs at the same rate as White doctoral students. The coursework is not usually the issue. The common point of the delay is almost always the time spent at all but the dissertation (ABD). This autoethnographic study is of three university faculty––all women of color––their experiences navigating their individual doctoral programs and ABD statuses, and how they now parlay those experiences into culturally constructing how they advise their doctoral students of color to persist until completion. The review of literature is woven among their stories to bring forth a collection of emergent themes and discussion points to reconsider best practices for advising doctoral students of color. Ultimately, this work aims to equip departments to better recruit, retain, and serve doctoral students in general and to enhance the skill set and cultural competency of faculty advising, particularly in the dissertation processes of doctoral students of color.

Digital Media

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