Jump to content
  • Sign Up
  • Create New...

Study shows how to develop strong graduates who want to make a difference

Pelican Press

Recommended Posts

Study shows how to develop strong graduates who want to make a difference

Credit: Global Health Action (2023). DOI: 10.1080/16549716.2023.2272392

The challenge for universities is to produce graduates who can work with others to produce knowledge and research that can change institutions and societies for the better.

That is the basis on which the

This is the hidden content, please
began developing an approach to teaching Ph.D.s 12 years ago. The
This is the hidden content, please
supports faculty members of public universities and research institutes on the continent who want to pursue a Ph.D.
This is the hidden content, please
covers a range of research methods to ensure graduates value multidisciplinarity. It also includes a focus on stakeholder and community engagement and prepares students for life after their Ph.D. To date 245 fellows have been through the program. So far 160 have graduated.

We are members of the consortium. Since its inception it has run, evaluated, changed and reevaluated its curriculum. A body of evidence has accumulated that suggests its approach has merit.


This is the hidden content, please
we set out to understand what impact the program had had on fellows. The survey was part of an evaluation process initiated by the consortium in 2019. There have been
This is the hidden content, please
This is the hidden content, please
interventions that have been
This is the hidden content, please
as well as reflections on the impact of the program.

In the most recent

This is the hidden content, please
Ph.D. fellows were asked what significant change in themselves they attributed to their experience under the program. They reported changes in their sense of self; worldviews; beliefs about knowledge; their experience of life; behavior; and capacities.

Their responses showed that the training had a positive impact on their lives in three critical ways. It improved their research capacities and their teaching; and it affected how they saw themselves and how they saw and experienced the world.

The findings suggest that it is possible to create a curriculum that can produce excellent graduates committed to making an impact in their worlds.

Approach to teaching

The results of the survey suggest that the consortium has achieved some of the challenges it set out to address. Among these were:

  • how to produce graduates with the potential to be researchers and use research to lead change at institutional or societal level, nationally or internationally
  • how to teach graduates to have an appreciation of and ability to work in a multidisciplinary way
  • how to teach graduates in a way that is value-based and instills a commitment to equity.

In setting up the program, we hypothesized that the way the consortium designed its interventions could be transformational. Transformational learning

This is the hidden content, please
“a deep shift in perspective during which habits of mind become more open, more permeable, more discriminating, and better justified.”

The results of the latest survey suggest that this is indeed the case. Fellows reported a sense of empowerment and responsibility, and an appreciation of who they were in the world and how they might be able to have an impact on it. They viewed themselves as critical thinkers, change agents and committed to passing on their knowledge to the next generation of researchers.

They reported on what they had learnt and reflected on how it was taught to them, and shared examples of how they were applying those same methods to teaching and supervising the next generation.

We concluded in our paper that these positive outcomes were a result of the way in which the consortium developed its approach to teaching.

Those of us who developed the curriculum think that what sets the program apart is that most of our teaching methods are interactive in nature, are participatory and use peer learning. This approach allows us to use the knowledge and skills that our students bring with them.

To give one concrete example of what we do, we make overt how we teach. At the end of a session we reflect on what we have done and how we’ve done it—we make our pedagogical approach clear to our Ph.D. fellows. There are many more

This is the hidden content, please

Key lessons

The theory of change that the curriculum was developed around includes the assumption that a natural network will arise from developing a critical mass of graduates in each member institution who meet regularly over a number of years and train as cohorts which include people from various disciplines, institutions and countries. That network will support them in fostering change in their home institutions and societies.

We believe that our approach has relevance internationally for those who want to produce multi-potential, multidisciplinary change agents who want to make a positive impact in their worlds.

All curricula are available

This is the hidden content, please
. We believe this work can be adapted to multiple disciplines and have evidence that this approach—a taught component to all Ph.D. training—is beneficial.

But the institutions in which the graduates are employed have to nurture and value them. They have to create an enabling environment in which graduates can, and want to, stay and work and lead.

Provided by
The Conversation

This article is republished from

This is the hidden content, please
under a Creative Commons license. Read the
This is the hidden content, please

*******’s Ph.D.s: Study shows how to develop strong graduates who want to make a difference (2024, April 1)
retrieved 1 April 2024

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

This is the hidden content, please

Science, Physics News, Science news, Technology News, Physics, Materials, Nanotech, Technology, Science
#Study #shows #develop #strong #graduates #difference

This is the hidden content, please

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

Important Information

Privacy Notice: We utilize cookies to optimize your browsing experience and analyze website traffic. By consenting, you acknowledge and agree to our Cookie Policy, ensuring your privacy preferences are respected.