Can low-cost support programmes with coaching accelerate doctoral completion in Health Science Faculty academics?
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Career development for full-time Health Sciences academics through to doctoral studies is a monumental task. Many academics have difficulty completing their studies in the minimum time as well as publishing after obtaining their degree. As this problem is particularly acute in the Health Sciences, the PhD Acceleration Programme in Health Sciences was piloted in 2009 by the Faculty of Health Science Research Office at the University of the Witwatersrand to provide deliberate support to staff members registered for a PhD to attain their goals. There is little research on such interventions using coaching and coaching-learning. This article discusses the programme structure, participants’ evaluation of the yearlong intervention and some longitudinal data, using semi-structured interviews in a qualitative paradigm. The findings indicate that staff found the research writing course the most valuable of the skills courses and noted that the individual, goal-directed coaching helped them in many different ways in completing the thesis and managing their professional lives simultaneously. This structured support programme with coaching provides a low-cost, sustainable innovation for full-time academics during doctoral studies.