PhD supervisors

Professor Chrissie Boughey




Chrissie Boughey has been involved in the leadership and management of teaching and learning in South African universities for more than twenty-five years. She has extensive experience as a supervisor and researcher having supervised more than twenty doctoral studies to completion. From 2010 to 2014 she led the NRF funded Social Inclusion in Higher Education project which saw the completion of six doctoral studies using a ‘project team’ approach to supervision and student support. Her research interests lie in the student experience of higher education (especially in relation to literacy demands), teaching and learning, quality assurance as well as in higher education more generally. All her work is located within an interest in social justice but, beyond this, she is willing to work within a wide range of theoretical and methodological perspectives. She is NRF C-1 rated.  Chrissie has also been involved in the Strengthening Postgraduate Supervision project and the Enhancing Postgraduate Environments project funded by NUFFIC and the DHET and the EU respectively. 




Professor Sioux McKenna



Sioux McKenna started the CHERTL PhD programme in Higher Education Studies at Rhodes University in 2010. This programme has seen more than thirty academics complete their PhD studies since then and has established a strong community which uses online platforms and “Doc Weeks'' to ensure that supervisors and candidates are well supported. Sioux has supervised more than thirty M and D students to graduation. She is a C2 NRF-rated researcher and has regularly been listed in the top twenty most productive researchers at Rhodes University. Sioux has also acted as project leader or project partner in a number of international and national initiatives related to doctoral education such as the “Social Justice and  Quality in Higher Education''coursework-PhD programme, the “Strengthening Postgraduate Supervision” project, the “Enhancing Postgraduate Environments” project, the Phakamisa US-SA project, and the “Creating Postgraduate Collaborations” project. Her research interests include the nature of universities, institutional differentiation, and the role of higher education as a public good. She is especially interested in postgraduate education and supervision. Sioux is theoretically and methodologically eclectic and willing to learn alongside the students she supervises but all her work takes a strong social approach. She has drawn extensively on the work of academic literacies research and often uses Critical Discourse Analysis, Legitimation Code Theory and Social Realism.



Associate Professor Mags Blackie 


Professor Mags Blackie


Prof Mags Blackie is relatively new to supervising higher education students, although she has been publishing in the field of higher education since 2010. Before moving to CHERTL she worked in a chemistry department. She has supervised 6 PhDs and 10 MScs in Chemistry and served as external examiner on around 10 higher education MA and PhD. Her research interests are on tertiary science education and on general interrogative of educative practices. She has used Legitimation Code Theory to investigate chemistry knowledge building, and the question of decolonisation in STEM education. More recently she has turned her attention to Bhaskar to show the importance of paying attention to the knower in the practice of chemistry. 



Dr Amanda Hlengwa





Amanda (Mandy) Hlengwa’s work as an academic developer in the field of higher education has focused primarily on two areas: curriculum development concerns, with a particular focus on the relationship between disciplinary knowledge and teaching and learning, and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) funded initiatives such as, the New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP), and Nurturing Emerging Scholars Programme (NESP) which Mandy co-ordinates at Rhodes University.  Mandy’s supervision experience to date has largely resided in curriculum development research, seeing two PhDs and two Master’s candidates to completion. Her own research interests are in national interventions related to academic staff development and in particular in the institutional adoption and implementation of programmes focused on developing early career academics.  She is interested in supervision of studies focused on induction and mentoring of early career academics into the academy, and more broadly the field of academic development. Mandy draws on sociocultural theories of learning and teaching, curriculum and pedagogies, Legitimation Code Theory, Archer's social realism and Sen's Capabilities Approach.



Professor Lynn Quinn



Lynn Quinn is a senior staff member in CHERTL where she has been actively involved in designing and facilitating a formal postgraduate diploma in higher education for lecturers and one for academic developers. Lynn conducts  research on various aspects of academic staff development, teaching and learning, curriculum and assessment in higher education.She has supervised masters and doctoral students in the field of higher education studies on a range of topics including  academic literacy, curriculum, assessment, quality assurance and academic staff development. Lynn’s own work, and that of some of her students, has been underpinned by social realist theories. She has experience of using academic literacies, critical discourse analysis and Legitimation Code Theory. She is interested in supervising research which will contribute to building knowledge in the field of academic development and which may shed light on some of the many vexing problems that beset higher education. 



Professor Jo-Anne Vorster



Jo-Anne Vorster is the current head of CHERTL and has played a central role in growing the field of academic development in South Africa, particularly in conceptualising and designing a postgraduate diploma in higher education for academic lecturers and academic developer practitioners. Jo-Anne conducts research on various aspects of teaching and learning and academic staff development. She supervises masters and doctoral students in the field of Higher Education Studies. Her research interests include curriculum development, knowledge and the curriculum, academic staff development, induction and mentoring of new academics into higher education, the field of academic development, student learning. She is interested in socio-cultural theories of learning and teaching, social realist perspectives on knowledge, curriculum and pedagogies, Legitimation Code Theory and Archer’s social realism.  



Dr Sherran Clarence




Sherran Clarence is a Research Associate in CHERTL, and is affiliated to the CPGS. Before moving into Education, after her MA, her research focused on gender and immigration studies, particularly the experiences of women migrants in the EU. She also worked as the coordinator of the UWC Writing Centre at the University of the Western Cape for a number of years focusing on tutor development and mentoring, academic writing development with students and staff, and pedagogic practices in the disciplines. Sherran’s practical work revolves around developing academic writing practices at postgraduate and postdoctoral level, and developing theorised yet accessible approaches to helping students make sense of the ‘rules of the game’ and produce more successful written texts. Her research and supervision interests include academic literacies and writing development in the university, widening student success through theorising discipline-based teaching and learning and academic staff development work, gender equity in higher education, and the affective and emotional dimensions of doctoral studies. She writes a blog for postgraduate and postdoctoral students and supervisors entitled ‘How to write your PhD in a hundred steps or more’ ( She holds a Y2 rating from the National Research Foundation.


Dr Nicola Pallitt


Nicola coordinates the efforts of the Educational Technology Unit in CHERTL and co-designs professional development opportunities for staff, encouraging socially just informed approaches to technology use with their students. Nicola is passionate about supporting critical and scholarly approaches to educational technologies research in Higher Education among educators, practitioners and fellow researchers. She also seeks ways to create opportunities for participation by scholars in educational technologies, especially African scholars and women who are notable ‘marginalised voices’ in the field. She does this through her involvement in online professional development networks and professional organisations (e/merge Africa, AECT, HELTASA TEL SIG). Her research interests stem from practice: online facilitation, online supervision, learning design, online professional development, teaching portfolios, student video projects, networked scholarship and digital storytelling. While her PhD research was on children and gendered gaming practices, Nicola continues to draw on critical and social theories from Cultural Studies and Social Studies of Science and Technology Studies across her work. Nicola is new to PhD supervision. She has supervised instructional design Masters students researching diverse topics, from lecture recording to quality and online materials design.   


Dr Kirstin Wilmot 




Kirstin Wilmot is the coordinator of the Higher Education Studies doctoral programme in CHERTL, where she also works as a senior lecturer in staff development. Kirstin has a background in socio-linguistics (MPhil, Cantab; MA, UCT) and has conducted research dealing with issues of identity, accent, social class and language/literacy practices. Her PhD research at the University of Sydney, under the supervision of Prof Karl Maton, shifted her research focus into the sociology of higher education and the framework of Legitimation Code Theory (LCT). Kirstin’s current research focuses on developing theoretical tools for analysing and understanding disciplinary knowledge-building practices, with a strong focus on the practice of doctoral writing and the supervision of doctoral research. Kirstin’s work has a strong social justice agenda in that it seeks to make explicit the often tacit disciplinary literacy practices that act as gatekeepers to becoming members of a discipline. Kirstin’s theoretical expertise lies in LCT and academic literacies but she has a strong interest in working with other social realist theories (e.g. Margaret Archer). She also has experience in mixed methods research and critical discourse analysis. She is interested in supervising research concerning epistemological access in higher education, academic literacies and research relating to teaching and learning. 

Dr Roxana Chiappa 




Roxana is Research Associate in CHERTL. Her research agenda is centred around the question of how and to what extent social and economic inequalities, manifested among social groups, institutions and countries, are (re) produced in the scientific and higher education systems. Roxana obtained a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Washington, Seattle. Her dissertation is a mixed-method study that analyzed the effects of the social class of origin on careers of academics in Chile. While conducting her PhD, Roxana participated in several projects that analyzed international graduate experiences in the USA and the notions of interdisciplinarity in the scientific system. Before that, Roxana worked as a journalist (Chile) and institutional researcher at the University of Santiago (Chile) and the University of Washington, Seattle (USA). In her role as an institutional researcher, Roxana developed extensive experience in quantitative data analysis and performance evaluation of higher education institutions and scientific policies. Roxana’s current research focuses on unpacking the effects of gender, race and class in the process of formation and the career outcomes of academics in South Africa and Chile. Currently, Roxana is interested in supervising PhDs interested in looking at how racism, classism and sexism operates in the structures of higher education. Topics around critical analysis of the internationalization of higher education are also part of her agenda.  She has extensive experience in research design, and is quite versatile in the quantitative as well as qualitative case-studies. 

Roxana is currently based at the University of Tarapacá, Chile, where she works as a Postdoctoral Researcher.


Emeritus Professor Kathy Luckett


 2023 Kathy Luckett


Kathy Luckett is Emeritus Professor in the Centre for Higher Education Development, University of Cape Town and Honorary Professor in the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching & Learning, Rhodes University. She serves as Executive Editor for ‘Teaching in Higher Education’. She has worked recently as Researcher, Policy Development in the Institutional Planning Department, UCT and Director of the Humanities Education Development Programme, UCT. She supervises in Higher Education Studies and Sociology and has supervised about 20 Masters and 5 doctoral students. Her research interests are sociology of knowledge and curriculum studies with a focus on the Humanities, Africana, decolonial and postcolonial studies; higher education policy on equity and multilingualism; and a range of qualitative research methods that include discourse analysis, Legitimation Code Theory, applications of critical/ social realism to higher education. She is NRF rated at C-2.




Last Modified: Fri, 03 Feb 2023 13:51:03 SAST