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Call for DAAD PhD Scholarships in Higher Education Studies


Howard College
3rd Floor Denis Shepstone Building
University of Kwazulu-Natal
Durban, 4041

Tel. 031 260 3257

Research Initiatives

We've moved permanently!

The Higher Education Training and Development Unit which was part of the University Teaching and Learning Portfolio has been reconfigured and effective January 1, 2018, its staff has been integrated in the School of Education in the Cluster of Education and Development Studies.

Staff in Higher Education are currently engaged in several projects as described below. In some instances, those where there are asterisks, it is possible for interested parties to participate in these. Contact details are given in these instances, or you can contact Sheryl Jeenarain jeenarains@ukzn.ac.za for inquiries.


  1. Strengthening Institutional Capacity for Higher Education Leadership and Management in sub-Saharan Africa

The Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently granted 500,000 euros to support the implementation of an institutional capacity building initiative entitled “Strengthening Institutional Capacity for Higher Education Leadership and Management in sub-Saharan Africa” (LMUU II) for three years to five partner institutions including the Universities of Helsinki, KwaZulu-Natal, Makerere, Tampere, and Uganda Management Institute. The Pan African Institute of University Governance in Cameroon as a link to the Francophone Africa and the MARIHE Erasmus Mundus Programme “Management of Research and Innovation in Higher Education” are associate partners.

The rationale for the LMUU II project is to create sustainable knowledge bases integrated within well-planned education pathways for the development of higher education leadership and management. This will be pursued through developing new and/or strengthening academic and professional masters and doctoral programmes in the field of higher education leadership and management at: (1) Uganda Management Institute and (2) Makerere University in Uganda and (3) University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The host of research and teaching activities will be integrated with the Universities of Tampere and Helsinki, in particular with the national HEAME PhD programme, MARIHE master’s programme and KOHA-professional programme.

In summary, the LMUU II project will mainly focus on nurturing a new generation of scholars in higher education leadership and management by developing academic and professional programmes of similar strength in terms of quality and delivery. This draws on facilitators from all the partner institutions as well as associate partners. This is likely to remain one of the flagship programmes of transforming higher education leadership and management in sub-Saharan Africa.


Partner institution primary contacts:

  • Uganda Management Institute – Dr. James L. Nkata – jlnkata@yahoo.com
  • Makerere University, College of Education and External Studies – East African School of Higher Education Studies and Development  - Dr. Ronald Bisaso – bisaso@uta.fi or rbisaso@educ.mak.ac.ug
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal - Higher Education Training and Development (HETD) – Professor Damtew Teferra – teferra@ukzn.ac.za or teferra@bc.edu
  • University of Tampere, School of Management, Higher Education Group (HEG) – Professor Seppo Hölttä – hölttä@uta.fi and Elias Pekkola - elias.pekkola@uta.fi
  • University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Higher Education Governance and Management (HEGOM) – Dr. Turo Virtanen - virtanen@helsinki.fi






Dr. Turo Virtanen

University of Helsinki


Dr. Pascal Doh


University of Tampere, School of Management


Elias Pekkola

University of Tampere, School of Management


Dr. Proscovia N.


Senior Quality Assurance Officer, Uganda Management Institute


Dr. Betty Ezati      

School of Education, Makerere University


Dr. Ronald Bisaso

Makerere University, East African School of Higher Education Studies and Development/ Project Manager, University of Tampere



Galega Samgena               

Younde II,   University Cameroon

Faculty of Law & Political Science


Professor Seppo Hölttä

University of Tampere, School of Management


  1. Opportunities and challenges of assessment feedback in South African universities: A study of staff and students’ perspectives in two colleges of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The project aims to investigate educational assessment practices, opportunities and challenges at this university through the perspectives of staff and students in the Colleges of Health Sciences and Law and Management Sciences.   Data and analyses from this study will inform professional development initiatives within the university, and provide evidence for further developments and interventions in assessment feedback.  In addition, the study will serve as a pilot for comparative work across South African universities. The Research Team comprises:


  1. Assessment of doctoral and masters dissertations

In this project, we will explore the criteria reflected in the examiners’ and coordinators’ reports on research Masters and PhD dissertations. This will also enable us to comment on the consistency of the criteria across dissertations and to some extent disciplines, which would ultimately inform institutional initiatives such as the development of clearer forms or supervision workshops for staff. Hopefully, it would also point us to areas of weakness in our doctoral supervision.

  • Project leader: Prof Iben Christensen
  • Researchers: Ruth Searle


  1. Inter-institutional research:  Curriculum renewal - choosing a qualification level

The study seeks to inform the curriculum renewal processes, in particular decisions in relation to the level of qualifications.  The context of the study is the changing legislation in relation to the National Qualification Framework and curriculum development for a newly professionalised field of work.

Researchers:  Mrs C du Toit (DUT) and Dr F. O’Brien (UKZN)


  1. Community engagement:  community academic writing project

An initiative comprising small groups of community organisation personnel, students and academic staff members who collaborate to research and publish on an issue of relevance to the community organisation.

  • Project leader:  Ms N. Thabethe (UKZN). 
  • Research group 1:  Dr F. O’Brien (UKZN); Ms Dina Daniels (YMCA); Ms N Mdlalose (UKZN student)


  1. University/Community Engagement for the generation and utilisation of knowledge

The study aims to explore the nature, generation, usage and impact of knowledge in diverse university/community engagement initiatives.

Project leader:  Dr F. O’Brien


  1. Recognition of university community engagement

The institution, UKZN, is committed to recognising staff’s engagement with communities in terms of its policies in this respect.  There remains, however, a need to develop clearer criteria for assessment purposes.   This study seeks to address this issue.

Project leader:  Dr F. O’Brien


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