Faculty as quantified, measured and tired: The lure of the red shoes

academic men and their red shoes



[This is the text of my keynote on 31 May 2018 at the First Annual NWU Teaching and Learning Conference at the North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa.]

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the conference organisers for the invitation to join your celebrations. Looking at the conference program of yesterday and today, it is clear that there is a lot of passion and commitment in this room. The variety of topics presented at this conference reveal ample evidence of honest reflections to, among other things, increase the quality and effectiveness of learning experiences, for both student and faculty. Please accept my apologies for not being able to attend yesterday as I had another commitment.

Organising conferences is an increasingly difficult task. Not only does one have to ensure that the  budget of the conference breaks even or even make a profit, but one also needs to…

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writing a bio-note

wise words on who the bionote is for – the reader and the publisher, not the ego


federica-diliberto-57819-unsplash.jpgtheir  Dr F. E Line is researching which humans are attracted by a fixed gaze.

Most of us have to produce bio-notes. The bio-note is a little verbal selfie that goes with a book chapter, a journal article, or sometimes a conference presentation. Book authors also have to provide brief bio-notes which might go in their book as well as on the publisher’s website. The bio-note tells the reader some key information about you, the writer.

Most bio-notes are short. They often have a word limit of 100-150 words. So there is not much space in a bio-note to communicate a lot about you. And there’s not much room to be creative with them either.

Many doctoral and early career researchers struggle with bio-notes – they think that they have nothing to say about themselves that is particularly noteworthy.

But quite often, when you look at bio-notes, say in the…

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Learning how to theorise data in doctoral writing

learning to theorise…..


In this post our guest blogger, Kirstin Wilmot, explains how her research into thesis writing provides insights into how students can learn to move effectively between concrete data and abstract theorising. She uses the concept of ‘semantic gravity’ from Legitimation Code Theory to explore this movement in doctoral theses. Kirstin is a final year PhD student in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney.

By Kirstin Wilmot

Theorising data in PhD research is a daunting task. It’s easy to get lost in the wilderness of data, and when the commonly given advice is to just ‘apply theory to your data’, it’s easy to see where anxiety creeps in. What does ‘theorising’ even involve?

There is little consensus on how to theorise. Most studies tend to adopt a focus on the importance of using theory in research, but don’t provide much guidance on how to…

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