An inter-institutional postgraduate diploma for university teachers: exploring formative feedback data from the position of socially just pedagogies
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In January 2014, after many years of preparation, the Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education Teaching and Learning [PG Dip (HETL)] – a collaboration between the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the University of Stellenbosch and the University of the Western Cape – was offered. The qualification is a two-year part-time course, and the first cohort of participants graduated in December 2015. The question that this paper seeks to address is whether a collaborative qualification, offered to academic staff across very different institutions, can make a contribution towards socially just teaching and learning in higher education. The study draws on Nancy Fraser's (2003) conceptualisation of social justice, with its three dimensions of redistribution, recognition and representation, as a framework for reflecting on the extent to which the programme contributed towards the development and understanding of socially just pedagogies in professional learning. This paper draws on data collected from participants' and facilitators' formative feedback on the postgraduate diploma over a two-year period (2014 – 2015). We conclude that offering a single PG Dip (HETL) collaboratively across three universities was socially just in that knowledge and resources were shared, differently placed institutions were brought together, with their different attributes being valued, and participants were given opportunities to interact with and learn from one another across differences. Applying the research findings to practice suggests that programmes in support of socially just professional learning should enhance alignment across the redistribution of facilitator and participant resources, recognise and address participants' concerns and build participants' academic voices – elements key to participatory parity.