Producing relevant medical education through community-engaged scholarship
Nkhoma, Nelson Masanche
MetadataShow full item record
Some African higher education institutions (HEIs) were founded on the notion that they would serve the specific needs of African communities. Other HEIs have borrowed the concept of community-engaged scholarship (CES) from the USA as a strategy for achieving relevance. Nonetheless, African HEIs continue to be criticized as imitators of Western universities. Drawing on Bhabha’s (1985, 1994) concepts of “hybridity” and “resistance”, this paper explores Malawian faculty members’ perspectives on how they use CES as a strategy to make medical higher education relevant to their academic work. This study draws from postcolonial theory to show that faculty use CES to interpret truth claims around medical knowledge production and comply with the demands of a relevant and engaged university. The study also shows the complexities and paradoxes characterizing the ways in which academics strive to include subjugated knowledge or forge collaborations in higher education in order to promote multi-perspective. CES is oftentimes conceptualized as a hybridization of perspectives that are themselves caught up in crossfire of resistance. My research on CES noted that it is an important motivation to improving the relevance of higher education in Malawi in general and medical education in particular by bringing together the so-called ‘traditional knowledge’ and ‘biomedicine’, as well as interdisciplinary perspectives and knowledge from multiple actors. These were muddled intersections, which suggest a uniquely Sub-Saharan African (SSA) approach to CES and relevant medical education for Malawi. Therefore, the paper argues that faculty members resist the simplistic critique of their work as imitations of Western medical knowledge production as they perceive themselves as providing very complex and different ways of knowing in the field of medical education. Drawing from these faculty perspectives, the paper then concludes with two strategies that can enhance CES.