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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



2023 CODESRIA College of Mentors Doctoral Students Mentorship Institute

Program Activities and Institute Syllabus 



Prof. Abdul Karim Bangura (American University, USA) Coordinator 

Prof. Josephine Ahikire (Makerere University, Uganda) 

Prof Amy Niang (Research Program, CODESRIA) 

Coordinated by CODESRIA Secretariat 

Email: tgf@codesria.org 

Seminar Description 

This seminar is meant to augment other efforts by CODESRIA to support doctoral education in the Social Sciences and Humanities in African Universities. The goal of the seminar is to provide participants with various intellectual resources, including reading and commenting on their works and exposing them to academic writing, public presentations, and publishing. It is important to note that the support provided during the seminar will not override the advice participants receive from their primary supervisors. Rather, and is expected of academic advising, this is a complementary process whereby participants’ interests and academic development will be emphasized. 

Seminar Foci 

The foci for this seminar are the following: 

(a) Trying to understand what the doctoral scholars are doing and how to assist them to articulate this better and deepen their understanding. This may require a broad discussion to the conventional theories and methods that scholars would have started using but still fumbling around how to get them right. 

(b) Grounding the doctoral scholars in emerging theories and methods that they may require to deepen their intellectual insights, especially in terms of developing perspectives within African contexts. 

(c) Mentoring the doctoral scholars on the practical ways of going about with their doctoral work and getting into productive intellectual cultures. 

Seminar Outcomes 

For successful completion of the seminar, the participant should: 

  1. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the tools needed to organize, develop, and complete a doctoral dissertation. 
  2. Demonstrate better knowledge of a diversity of approaches to conducting scholarly research; 
  3. Strengthen their understanding of the epistemological and theoretical issues and challenges in conducting and reporting a doctoral study or dissertation. 
  4. Have enhanced his/her comprehension of the role of research methodology and theory application in scholarly research. 

Integrative Teaching/Learning Mode 

The major teaching/learning mode will be a combination of lecture-discussion-application, in-class conference approach. This major strategy will be supplemented by 

  1. Out-of-class assignments, 
  2. Independent reading and writing referrals, and 
  3. Computer exercises

Multicultural Pedagogical, Andragogical, Ergonagical, Heutagogical, Tirbyi and Ubuntugogical Style 

Since this is a seminar, lecturing will be kept to a minimum (at least by the mentees). The multicultural pedagogical, andragogical, ergonagical, heutagogical, tirbyi and ubuntugogical style is to let the readings do the lecturing while the class does the doing, thinking, creating, rejecting, building, etc. This means that we will need real-world data in front of us to work on, think about, analyze, organize, etc. 

Rationale for In-class and Take-home Exercises 

Linguists have long realized that in order to effectively evaluate the cognitive, metacognitive and social affective skills that are crucial to the successful learner, a mixture of take-home and in-class exercises is called for. The following presuppositions seem to support their suspicion. 

1. In-class exercises are to acquaint those unfamiliar with time limit and written directions but without disaster, and take-homes are not timed. Suggestive evaluations, individual notes, and comparing the comments should give a better idea of what is expected. 

2. Questions presuppose FACTS involved are familiar and so set a framework for discussion. Many questions have no one solution, and sometimes the ‘best’ answers are those with no single answer everyone would accept. 

3. The lectures presuppose you have studied the texts beforehand and read other sources referred to, just as tests presuppose you have thought about the topics, and discussed them with others. It is taken for granted your initial, sole, and final acquaintance with the matter is not just the lecture. 

4. Take-homes are to help, not annoy. They are done at your pace, with any kind of aids you find helpful. Take them as learning opportunities, not just chores. Cooperation is indicated: you will not have to answer every question, but group-members can cover the lot. Hardy workers take on questions where the answer is not obvious, since that’s how we learn. COMparing results helps, PREparing for likely questions helps even more. 

5. We all have personal ways to study and review, but it is sensible to go review what you have spent time on, by keeping, reading, and revising what you have written. If your work isn’t worth rereading and reworking, it wasn’t worth doing in the first place. Knowledge is cumulative—be your own severest critic. Regarding assignments as something to be forgotten when handed in wastes your time. Rewriting isolates essentials, shows what is peripheral, and which writing habits waste time. Supplementary Reading illuminates what was obscure, provides better examples, and brings up references you couldn’t consult when you first discussed it with others. 

6. COOPERATIVE READING can be even more profitable than COOPERATIVE STUDY: we report in minutes what took hours to read and tell others what we think is not worth reading or what they just have to read for themselves. Setting brief but regular times for informal reports about Supplementary Readings multiplies your “reading”—there is only so much one can do alone. 

7. To foster that kind of discipline, an obligatory take-home format forces you to make your own work re-identifiable, reliable and worth rereading. The take-home assignments then constitute a text of your own for final in-class review, future study and updating. Duplicating and exchanging results with others makes them complete.

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