The Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement (RIE) together with Research and Postgraduate Directorate (RPS) hosted its first-ever virtual Annual Postgraduate Induction and Welcome Day, recently, to welcome all Post-graduate students (Honours, Masters and Doctoral).
Programme Director, Vaneshree Govender welcomed all the guests to the webinar, saying that the information presented will aid postgraduate students with their Postgraduate journey at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and they will find that as they move from being an undergraduate to a postgraduate student, there’s a much stronger emphasis on self-directed learning and an expectation that only their intellectual curiosity will drive their studies to a far greater extent.
The Director of Research and Post Graduate Support at DUT, Dr Linda Linganiso gave a formal welcome and overview on the objectives and outcomes of the event, as well as a brief introduction to key members who formed part of the webinar.
“The aim of the Postgraduate Induction and Welcome Day programme is to acquaint and expose all current and prospective postgraduate students to the wide range of academic development and support programmes offered by DUT. The focal point of the Induction programme being centred on skills and resources needed to be an effective researcher, such as funding opportunities, capacity building, collaborations with other students and support provided by the university and its stakeholders,” she said.
The guest speaker of the event was Professor Witness Mudzi, the Director for Postgraduate School at the University of Free State. Prof Mudzi earned a BSc Physiotherapy (Hons) Degree from the University of Zimbabwe and a Master in Physiotherapy Degree and PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand.
He has published over 35 articles in peer reviewed journals and has graduated many Masters and PhD students. He has experience in policy implementation, teaching and learning and clinical/professional training.
He believes his strengths to be teamwork, strategic planning, attention to detail and ability to work with people from various backgrounds.
Prof Mudzi shared his expertise and experience as a Director of Graduate School. His topic of discussion was on the Transition from Undergraduate to Postgraduate, highlighting that some of the problems are not unique to DUT but are challenging South African Institution.
“There are alot of support put through your faculty and some of them includes a Proposal Development Workshop which consists of a Masters Session, Doctoral Session and a PG library Workshop and the purpose of these workshops is to assist students to understand research, assist students develop an acceptable proposal within the allocated timeframe,” he said.
He also spoke on issues pertaining to funding opportunities and the type of research that attract collaborators and funders.
Among DUT internal stakeholders and presenters was Vikesh Singh from the Registrar’s Office who spoke on the systems and processes at DUT. He presented on the general rules, registration process, fees for both local and international (instalments dates, fee remissions). He further spoke on the examination process for postgraduate students especially for (Masters and Doctoral), highlighting that all procedures start at faculty level- with intention to submit thesis, submission, results and graduation.
David Thomas from the DUT Library Service, focused on the services offered by the library as well as resources available at DUT. He also highlighted the fact that there are Postgraduate Librarians in various campus (Steve Biko Campus, ML Sultan and Midlands).
Also, presenting was the team from the Research and Postgraduate Support; stating their roles and responsibilities in supporting postgraduate and research while creating an enabling postgraduate environment through (funding, training and capacity building, publications and ethical consideration and research integrity).
Prof Fulufhelo Netswera, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences at DUT, presented on matters concerning Postgraduate Support at Faculty Level and developmental Programmes offered by the Faculty of Management Sciences.
Finally, previous postgraduate students, Mr Themba Zitha: President Postgraduate association (PGA) and Ms Lebo Ramakatsa, former President of PG Association (PGA), shared their experiences as well as highlighted what is being offered by the Research and Postgraduate Support Office and platforms such as PGA.
The session tackled further topics such as choosing a topic, research proposals, gathering data, writing up, registration of projects to Higher Degrees Committee, to name but a few.
A question and answers session then ensued followed by a vote of thanks given by Research Associate, Dr Kunle Oparinde. Also, special acknowledgements and thanks were given to all the participants (PG Students and staff members), the guest speaker Prof Witness Mudzi, DVC:Research, Innovation and Engagement, Prof Sibusiso Moyo, Director of Research and Postgraduate Support – Dr Linda Linganiso, Programme Director – Ms Vaneshree Govender (Acting Manager-Research Capacity Development) and RPS Team (Dr B Dzwairo-Grants, Prof J Adam- Institutional Research Ethics, Ms L Ramakatsa-Gatekeeper, Ms P Cele-Research Information Management-RIM, and Ms Nomnikelo Lundall – Acting Postgraduate Coordinator, Mr Themba Zitha- President of Postgraduate Association, Dr Kunle Oparinde, Research Fellow).
Pictured: Guest speaker, Professor Witness Mudzi, the Director for Postgraduate School at the University of Free State.
Dr Linda Linganiso/Waheeda Peters