Workshop at UJ in South Africa: From PhD as Doctor of Philosophy to PHD as Process for Holistic Development

1 March 2017: Trans4m Workshop at the University of Johannesburg on how a PhD and Phd Supervision can be designed to create a research-to-innovation framework and process for societal transformation

Hosted by the Faculty of Education and Postgraduate School of Education, and with Prof. Juliet Perumal and Dr. Pia Lamberti as hosts, Prof. Alexander Schieffer of Trans4m was invited to share the theoretical foundation, design, practice and impact of Trans4m’s international “Care 4 Society” PhD Program for Integral Development that Trans4m runs together with Da Vinci Institute.

During this half-day workshop, Alexander Schieffer “unpacked” the underlying principles of the program, from Trans4m’s Integral Worlds approach, to the Integral Research framework and process, to the transformative trajectories that are built into the program to enable maximum social impact. An important emphasis was the necessary “expansion” from a PhD Program (primarily focussed on individual research-to-innovation) to a PHD Process (as per Process for Holistic Development), which engages a larger community in order to ensure the sustainable institutionalization of the research-to-innovation outcomes.

Filled with many practical cases from the Trans4m community, the research-to-innovation of Trans4m Senior Fellow Father Dr. Anselm Adodo from Nigeria on Integral Healing was particularly highlighted, to demonstrate the potential for large-scale impact of a PhD program in relation to enterprise and community transformation as well as educational renewal.

The workshop was embedded in UJ’s own research into innovative forms of supervision, as well as its aspirations to achieve a higher degree of Africanisation of the university’s curricula, and to increase the relevance of its own programs with regards to the socio-economic and cultural challenges of and potentials within South Africa and African societies.

A lively conversation on trust, superviser-supervisee relationships, learning and innovation ecologies, systemic challenges of universities and academic research, the need for increased social impact of education and research, as well as African identity enriched this live-streamed workshop enormously, visited by a large number of faculty as well as bachelor, masters, PhD and Post Doc students across various faculties and African nationalities.

Workshop Participants in front of the Postgraduate School of the University of Johannesburg
Workshop Participants in front of the Postgraduate School of the University of Johannesburg