This research study examines the factors influencing the motivations of faculty at three Malawian public universities across six campuses in conducting community-engaged scholarship. The study employed a mixed-methods approach in which data were collected using a survey of community-engaged scholarship and in-depth interviews with a total of 110 faculty members who conduct community-engaged scholarship. Analyses of both quantitative and qualitative data reveal the influence of personal, institutional and external community incentives, including but not limited to the desire to teach well, personal commitments to specific issues and people, a perceived fit between community engagement and disciplinary goals, and availability of internationally funds by donors. This mixed-methods study found that faculty in Malawi, like elsewhere in African and the United States, have a rich reservoir of motivations that are rooted in personal goals, cultural background, and institutional norms of practice. Findings suggest that motivation for community-engaged scholarship likely varies by type of engagement and the overall proportion of time faculty members consider to spend on community-engaged scholarship. The study also finds that the increasing marketization of community-engaged scholarship and higher education in general has a paradoxical influence on what faculty report as motivations for conducting community-engaged scholarship in the Malawian context. While community engagement has forced faculty to plod the new territory that views scholarship as entrepreneurship, it has also cast faculty as “intersectors” bridging various stakeholder interests and needs to solve scholarship and societal problems. As main actors positioned at a significant scholarship position, the study reveals how faculty aspirations intersect at the need to improve their personal knowledge, students’ capacity to learn, transform society and contribute to their disciplines. However, these faculty motivations and aspirations are contradicted and limited by incomprehensive institutional and government support and the overreliance on external community supports which are competitive, tied to donor goals and very time specific.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.September 2015. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisors: Andrew Furco, David Chapman. 1 computer file (PDF);xi, 253 pages.
Community-Engaged Scholarship in African Higher Education: Exploring Faculty Motivations and Barriers to Community-Engaged Scholarship in Malawi.
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