Pre-doctoral Programme Certification Ceremony for Staff
A certification ceremony was held for the second cohort of staff graduates in the 2012-13 UKZN-SANTRUST Pre-Doctoral Programme.
The programme provides structured support to staff engaged in doctoral studies and contributes towards efforts to achieve the University’s goal to increase the proportion of permanent staff with doctoral qualifications to 70 percent by 2016.
This modular-based intervention consists of a total of seven weeks of contact learning facilitated by local and international scholars, and covers areas such as orientation to theories; literature review and proposal; research problems and questions; research designs; qualitative and quantitative methodologies; dealing with data and supervision workshops.
The programme was pioneered through the South Africa-Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development Research Capacity Initiative (SANPAD RCI) which began in 1997. It rests on a track record of 90 percent of candidates completing their degrees within three to four years, as opposed to the national average of seven to eight years.
The ceremony was opened by SANPAD CEO, Dr Anshu Padayachee, who stressed how the Santrust programme was a leading programme globally which had proven results in increasing doctoral throughputs.
Keynote speaker and Deputy CEO of the National Research Foundation (NRF), Dr Gansen Pillay, said doctoral candidates should remain focused not only on their research, but also on how their research was able to contribute to the national and global bodies of knowledge.
Pillay spoke of a PhD as not only an intellectual endeavour, but also an area of persistence, hard work and sheer determination. A PhD is written “one word at a time” and, to this end, he suggested candidates write 100 words a day. He invited candidates to use support offered through SANTRUST and - depending on their research excellence - to also look to the NRF for continued support.
UKZN’s Dean of Research, Professor Urmilla Bob, said supporting the development of staff members was an investment for the Institution as well as the country as a whole. While the Institution was committed to continued support, there were high expectations that the candidates complete their PhDs and use their expertise to further the University’s research objectives and contribute to postgraduate supervision to ensure transference of skills and ongoing capacity-building.
Staff from across the Colleges acknowledged the Research Office, in particular Dr Nthabiseng Motsemme for her efficient co-ordination and sustained support throughout the programme.
- Sithembile Shabangu