Developmental Lecturer Programme Highly Successful in College of Health Sciences
The promramme was introduced with the aim of raising the profile of UKZN as an institution of choice by developing young candidates with an interest in becoming Developmental Lecturers (DLs).
The CHS prioritised the project and it has resulted in high performing staff leading in various research projects.
Since the inception of the project in the CHS, two Developmental Lecturers have been appointed as permanent full lecturers. They are Dr Lihle Qulu and Dr Phikelelani Ngubane both of the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences.
A further two lecturers have credentialed with PhDs and the CHS expects more DLs to graduate with their doctorates in April next year.
Obstetrics and Gynaecology Developmental Lecturer Dr Wendy Dhlomo Mphatswe said the position had given her the opportunity and support to take her research career forward. ‘The flexibility has allowed me to strike the difficult balance between clinical work and research activities which would be difficult had it not been for this position,’ she said
Mphatswe is currently working on a health systems improvement project with the Centre for Rural Health and the Africa Centre. ‘I am also at the early stages of my PhD work which is in collaboration with two researchers from the HIV Pathogenesis Programme and CAPRISA on identifying the underlying immune factors that drive treatment outcomes in patients with HPV and pre-cancerous lesions of the cervix,’ said Mphatswe.
Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Science’s Developmental Lecturer Mr Musawenkosi Joe Xaba has been in the position for a year, ‘This has been a good learning experience and I am still in the process of establishing how everything works in Higher Education since I come from a basic education background,’ he said.
According to Xaba, the position has provided him with more time to work towards his PhD. Xaba’s research interest includes physical education with a focus on the increasing levels of obesity among schoolchildren.
Xaba appreciates the support he has received from the college and students.
Another Developmental Lecturer in the Physiotherapy Discipline at the School of Health Sciences, Mr Ntsikelelo Pefile, said the position had been most exciting, ‘I could not have asked for better colleagues. There are great opportunities and support for Black academics.’
Pefile is currently working on his study on developing a model to guide employment among people living with spinal cord injuries in KwaZulu-Natal. ‘Phase one of the study is nearly complete and there are two more to go,’ he said.
He said the College Dean of Research, Professor Moses Chimbari; Professor Sabiha Essack and Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of College, Professor Rob Slotow, had given him support way beyond his expectations. He was also grateful to his supervisor, Dr Saloshni Naidoo.
Slotow expressed his excitement with the progress made by the DLs, ‘Our Developmental Lecturers have been given the full support of the College and have made huge strides both in the process of developing as academics but also by making significant contributions to the research productivity of the College. Some of their projects are novel with the potential to contribute to health policies and this is in line with our goal to enrich the health research agenda thereby enhancing healthcare and the delivery of services, especially within our own KZN community.’