Stellenbosch University
Welcome to Stellenbosch University
DLTE TLA Seminar: 14 March 2024
Start: 28/02/2024, 11:00
End: 28/02/2024, 11:00
Contact:Dr Karin Cattell-Holden -
Location: MS Teams

You are invited to attend the first quarterly TLA (Teaching-Learning-Assessment) seminar of 2024, offered by the Division for Learning and Teaching Enhancement:


Speaker: Prof. Susan van Schalkwyk (Director: Centre for Health Professions Education (CHPE), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences) (SU Teaching Fellow)

Topic: Models of doctoral supervision in health professions education: process and power

Date: 14 March 2024

Time: 12:45-14:00

Place: MS Teams: Click here to join the meeting


Summary of seminar

Doctoral studies are about pushing the boundaries of what is known with the intention of making a knowledge contribution to the field within which such studies are undertaken. Knowledge that is seen to be valued by those who are held in high regard in the field is inherently powerful, directing the science and informing the canon. The pursuit of such knowledge is central to doctoral endeavour characterized by a process of 'being and becoming' as the student transitions into a chosen disciplinary community—a community that is defined by a set of norms and values that have been developed over time, and by what constitutes knowledge within it. The notion of border crossing provides a lens through which the transition can be explored. Doctoral writing, for example, represents a specific border that students must negotiate as they seek to inscribe the body of work emerging from their academic endeavours, and ultimately become powerful writers (Van Schalkwyk & Jacobs, 2021). The process of supervision is central to the doctoral journey and seeks to facilitate this negotiation, while still maintaining the integrity of the disciplinary canon. This raises questions about the nature of that supervision, the way it is organised, and how it is practiced.

In this seminar Prof. Van Schalkwyk will describe insights gleaned from work on doctoral supervision which, amongst others, explored the experience of being supervised, or supervising others, during a series of interviews (some online) with 23 doctoral candidates and 10 supervisors across 10 countries. The ever-evolving nature of the supervisory relationship, including drivers for new models and approaches, will be shared. This work has implications for opening up conversations about doctoral supervision, revisiting the approaches we adopt, and critically engaging with notions of knowledge and power.

Biography of speaker

Susan van Schalkwyk, M Phil, PhD., is Professor in Health Professions Education and Director of the Centre for Health Professions Education in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Apart from her involvement in postgraduate studies, two main strands of her work relate to doctoral education, specifically doctoral writing, and curriculum renewal informed by transformative learning theory. Susan is a B2 NRF rated researcher and a Fellow of the international Association of Medical Educationalists (AMEE). She received an SU Teaching Fellowship in 2019. Currently she serves on the editorial boards of two leading journals and has authored or co-authored more than 90 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.



  • McKenna, S; Van Schalkwyk, S. (2023). A scoping review of the changi​ng landscape of doctoral education. COMPARE.
  • ​Van Schalkwyk, S; Jacobs, C. (2021). Borders and tensions in Doctoral Writing. In: Badenhorst C; Amell and B & Burford J. (eds). Re-imagining doctoral writing. WAC Clearing House: Colorado.​