Facilitator: Prof Eli Bitzer is past Director of the Centre for Higher and Adult Education and Emeritus Professor of Higher Education at Stellenbosch University (SU). He has successfully supervised more than 90 Master's and PhD graduates, has examined over 50 senior studies and has published extensively in the field of postgraduate supervision, doctoral education and different aspects of assessment and quality promotion in higher education. His latest publication is as co-editor of a book with Peter Rule and Liezel Frick (2021): The global scholar - Implications for postgraduate studies and supervision. He has also participated in the National Review of the Doctorate in South Africa in 2020/21.      


Target Group: Both novice and experienced supervisors who want to start or improve on the supervision of multidisciplinary studies.


Background: Multidisciplinary research takes place when academic staff and their students from different disciplines work independently on a common problem or research question. Hereby, researchers share research goals and work on the same problem but seek understanding and solutions from the perspective of their own discipline. The findings from each discipline are supplementary and one advantage to multidisciplinary research is that each aspect of a complex problem can be analysed by a particular speciality. There are times when the research needs to go a step further than multiple disciplines each looking at a problem through their own lens – that is when interdisciplinary research happens.

Supervising multidisciplinary research projects requires different forms of planning, cooperation, and management than disciplinary research. Teams of supervisors and cohorts of students are often required rather than individual students and supervisors. The current drive for multidisciplinary research is strong and increasing numbers of postgraduate students are undertaking projects that span disciplines. Involving multiple supervisors and students’ different disciplines can often generate both significant benefits and challenges for supervisors and their students.


Workshop Topics: This workshop will explore some key challenges associated with multidisciplinary supervision, including those of practical, academic, and epistemological nature. These challenges will be touched upon within a broader context of advocating for multidisciplinary research endeavours and their associated benefits. The workshop aims to prepare supervisors (and their students) for some likely difficulties associated with multidisciplinary supervision and to equip them with practical strategies for negotiating such difficulties.

Topics that will feature include:

  • The differences between disciplinary, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and convergence research
  • Examples of multidisciplinary research projects, their benefits, and challenges
  • Enquiring into the multidisciplinary projects and the students that participants currently supervise (or plan to supervise)
  • Team and cohort supervision strategies as possible options for multidisciplinary research
  • Skills for multidisciplinary project supervision
  • Developing a process framework for multidisciplinary supervision.


Pre-workshop Requirements: In addition to completing the online registration form, interested participants are also required to download, complete and submit the Participant Information Sheet to Jadine.Januarie@mandela.ac.za.


This workshop is funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) through the University Capacity Development Grant (UCDG)


Workshop Information

4-5 September 2023

- Day 1 09h00-15h00
- Day 2 09h00-12h30

To be confirmed

Registration for this workshop has closed.

Kindly note: The maximum capacity of this workshop is 25 participants.


Enquiries: Jadine Januarie