Experiences of Expatriate Academics at UKZN Investigated in Doctorate Research

Experiences of Expatriate Academics at UKZN Investigated in Doctorate Research
Dr Ashika Maharaj celebrating her achievement with her husband.

UKZN academic and former Leadership and Equity Advancement Programme (LEAP) beneficiary, Dr Ashika Maharaj, was awarded a PhD for her thesis titled: “Expatriate Academics and Expatriate Management in a South African Higher Education Institution”.

Maharaj’s research was supervised by Dr Karen Ortlepp and Dr Given Mutinta.

She dedicated her research and degree to the memory of her late father.

Maharaj’s study focuses on the experiences of expatriate academics at UKZN, both from the perspective of the individual as well as those directly responsible for their management ie line management and HR specialists.

Even though the LEAP Programme no longer exists at UKZN, Maharaj says it lived up to what it promised - the nurturing of young academics, and their integration into academic life within the University.

‘The LEAP Programme opened up the opportunity to travel and meet with academics from the Academy of Management, who started a faculty development workshop in Accra, Ghana for African academics beginning their PhDs in 2011. Through the friendships fostered here many opportunities were created for networking and mentorship.’

Maharaj is one of eight academics in the College Law and Management Studies to obtain a doctoral degree this year. She understands the importance of the PhD project at UKZN however she cautions: ‘Increasing the number of PhDs is commendable but management needs to ensure proper development and training occurs to ensure we produce graduates of a high academic calibre if we truly want to be a global academic player.’

She concurs with most doctoral graduates that the journey is arduous, however with the support of her parents and her husband nothing could stand in her way.

In the midst of her studies she went through the loss of her father, and had to take care of her mother, while being a supportive mother to her three teenage children.

Her professional life was also tested when the University underwent the reconfiguration process and her supervisor resigned from UKZN in 2013.

Maharaj plans to expand her research work in the near future but for now she will focus on her children. ‘I think what my children missed the most was my baking during these four long years. Before the PhD, I was an avid baker, with home baked goodies a regular feature, and creative birthday cakes. Now mum’s back!’

Hazel Langa

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PhD Study Analyses Power of SA Women Business Leaders

PhD Study Analyses Power of SA Women Business Leaders
A proud family - Dr Lisa Kinnear with her family.

“A Critical Analysis of the Emerging Models of Power Amongst South African Women Business Leaders” was the title of a thesis which earned Dr Lisa Kinnear a PhD in Human Resource Management (HRM) at a College of Law and Management Studies 2015 Graduation ceremony.

Kinnear’s research highlights the fact that despite efforts to create gender equality in organisations, transformation will not occur without fundamentally shifting perceptions of power to include these emerging models.

Kinnear is a well-known Organisational Development (OD) Practitioner with vast experience in the private and public sectors. Running her consultancy business, Leadership Insight, with her business partners keeps her abreast of the latest developments and trends in the field of Human Resource Management.

On what motivated her to tackle this topic she said: ‘Firstly, despite increases in the number of women managers at senior or executive level in organisations, this does not appear to have had an affect on the transformation of organisations or the empowerment of other women within organisations. This led me to question the way in which transformation efforts typically focus on the numbers of women in senior positions, but not on women leaders’ ability to shift the status quo.

‘Secondly, through my work I am privileged to coach many women leaders and am witness to their stories of grappling with their leadership identity within patriarchal environments. I wanted to understand and give voice to those grapples and uncover the alternative models that many women can and do bring to their leadership role which are valuable to organisations.’

Kinnear’s supportive family is pleased with her academic success. ‘My husband is thrilled for me but has asked that I never do it again! My 15-year-old son was the first to broadcast the news to everyone, so I think he is really proud. My 11-year-old daughter felt sorry for the person who had to read my 300 page thesis. She has acknowledged recently that I have been quite good at helping her with her study skills, probably because I have a PhD!’

Her journey was made manageable by the support of her supervisor, Dr Karen Ortlepp. ‘Karen was a phenomenal supervisor and is a wonderful colleague and friend. I have huge respect for her academic insight and integrity,’ said Kinnear. ‘We have worked extremely well together over the past 10 years in our consulting practice and I was very grateful to have a supervisor who understood the demands of all the roles I was juggling and gave me just enough encouragement and motivation to help me make progress without applying unnecessary pressure. I could not have completed this journey without her by my side.’

Kinnear said research work that is not shared with others has no real value hence she plans to publish the findings of her thesis and to contribute to the creation of new knowledge in the field of HRM through post-doctoral research.

‘I would like to continue transferring my observations from the applied world of my consulting work to the academic world where ideas can be challenged and the dominant management discourse can be critiqued. This is important if we want to create organisations which are sustainable beyond short term profit motives alone.’

Hazel Langa

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Graduation a Family Affair for PhD Candidate

Graduation a Family Affair for PhD Candidate
PhD graduate, Dr Sophia Mukorera with baby Jaden and family.

It was a double celebration for UKZN staff member Dr Sophia Mukorera who not only celebrated graduating with her PhD but also the birth of her third baby boy,  a few days before the College of Law and Management Studies Pietermaritzburg Graduation ceremony.

Mukorera, an Economics Lecturer is used to juggling her academic duties and motherhood. Her second born son was only 18 months old when she embarked on her doctoral degree. Although her busy schedule as a student and a teacher meant that she missed a lot of the baby’s milestones, the qualification was important for her family’s future.

‘Due to my studies, I had to put my son in pre-school during a critical time of his growth. I missed some of his ‘firsts’. I really felt like I had transferred my parenting roles to a stranger but I thank my husband because he always assured me that I was doing the right thing and doing a good job at both being a student and being a parent. I actually developed excellent time management skills which helped me juggle between parenting, studying, working and also social life,’ said Mukorera.

Mukorera’s love of academia has seen her make a lot of sacrifices to career growth, especially giving up a career as an Economist in the Ministry of Agriculture in Zimbabwe. Her motivation to pursue her doctorate came after she had spent almost a year without a job when her family moved to South Africa in 2010.

‘Failure to get a job in SA was frustrating, so I decided to advance on my studies whilst I continued with job hunting. Studying for a PhD was my first choice because the programme was more flexible to juggle with work. Secondly, it is a requirement for an academic career or being a researcher or policy adviser. These are some of my career aspirations and I feel with this qualification, I have moved a step ahead,’ said Mukorera.

With her home country still on her mind, Mukorera’s dissertation titled: “The Rise of Micro and Small-Scale Entrepreneurial Activity in a Meltdown Economy: A Case of Zimbabwe”, assessed entrepreneurial activity during the abnormal economic situation the country found itself in between 1999 and 2010. The aim of the study was to investigate the source of the sudden growth in entrepreneurial activity and analyse how the existing enterprises can be utilised in the recovery of the Zimbabwean economy post the meltdown.

‘This research provides policy recommendations on how Zimbabwe can utilise the existing entrepreneurial activity in both formal and informal sectors in its recovery from the effects of the economic meltdown. The findings of the study suggests that this can be achieved by targeting sector specific growth inhibiting factors and avoiding a common-policy approach when addressing the needs of micro and small-scale entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe,’ said Mukorera.

‘The assessment of entrepreneurial activity in an abnormal economic situation is something that had never been done before creating the original aspect of my study. My biggest challenge, just like with any African study, was the availability of sound secondary data. However, by employing different analytical techniques I managed to come up with some sound results. This made it possible to make policy recommendations that I feel can help my country. I am passionate about Zimbabwe because it is home for me and I also know the potential that the country has,’ she added.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Masters Graduate Conducts Study on UKZN

Masters Graduate Conducts Study on UKZN
Excited Masters in Administration graduate, Ms Nobuhle Mkhize.

Even though her journey in achieving her degree was not easy, Ms Nobuhle Mkhize says graduating with a Masters in Administration from the College of Law and Management was worth every effort.

'I’ve always wanted to be where I am right now. I was aware of the challenges that come with the whole research process but I was so determined to overcome those. What motivates me more now is that I did well during examinations,’ said Mkhize.

Mkhize conducted a unique study on the University’s Facilities Management Unit. Her study measured the high expectations from both staff and students for quality service delivery by the Unit.

‘Quality service provision has become a more prominent issue at UKZN since these various institutions have been functioning under UKZN’s policies, regulations and strategies, and since, as suggested by Lavy (2008) and Prior (2011), each institution is a unique entity with different objectives and practices,’ said Mkhize.

She said the merger brought a lot of challenges as it meant the centralisation of a number of departments. 

She said the Durban campus’s service some providers had to be shared among Westville, Howard College and Edgewood, as well as the Medical School.

Mkhize said this poses a challenge to service provision owing to time loss and movement of service providers from one campus to another within a limited space of time.

‘Through this study, levels of satisfaction for both staff and students were measured to identify gaps and offer prominent recommendations to address same.

‘Costs may be minimised with efficiency gains and priority afforded to close the gaps in the service quality, and contribute to the overall vision and mission of the University in respect of teaching and learning,’ said Mkhize.

‘As a Masters student, I learnt that hard work and determination pays off “big time”. With the knowledge and experience I gained from my Supervisor and from the study itself, I was able to assist other Masters and PhD students with their basic study needs.’

She attributed her success to her supervisor, Dr Given Mutinta. ‘He allowed me to own my study but guided me through the whole research process.’ Mkhize is continuing with her studies and is in the process of registering for her D Administration degree.

UKZNdaba Online

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Masters Dissertation Aimed at Contributing to Development of SMMEs in SA

Masters Dissertation Aimed at Contributing to Development of SMMEs in SA
Congratulations to Ms Lindiwe Kunene pictured with Acting Registrar Mr Baatile Poo.

Obtaining a Master of Commerce degree has enabled Marketing and Management academic Ms Lindiwe Kunene to fulfil her desire to contribute to the development of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in South Africa.

Her dissertation titled: “Brand Naming Strategies by Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises in the eThekwini Municipal Area”, sought to discover current processes being implemented by SMMEs in eThekwini, including knowledge on the role of linguistics in this process.

Kunene’s study was supervised by Dr Maxwell Phiri.

She is pleased with the outcome of her research as she feels it will benefit the SMME sector which often lacks the skills and the ability to conduct research before embarking on a business venture. She says academia plays a crucial role in bridging the knowledge gap through research aimed at enabling the SMME sector to prosper.

Kunene is following in the footsteps of her parents - her father is a retired academic who was involved in the Higher Education sector while her mother is a retired school teacher. Even though they were unable to witness her graduation, they were very pleased with her academic achievement which has also motivated her younger brother to consider pursuing tertiary studies.

‘I have started working on my PhD and hope to do my proposal presentation by the end of this year. I am doing this firstly for my own development, for SMMEs in my country, and not forgetting the University’s strategic goal to increase the number of academics with a PhD.

‘For us to be better academics and master our art, the secret lies in developing knowledge through research. We can thus not just practice what we preach but also that which we create.’

Kunene’s classroom interaction with her students is enriched by the invaluable insights she imparts to them from her experience of serving on two non-governmental boards in the creative arts and in rural economic development sectors.

She has taken heed to the call from the College management to disseminate academic knowledge by presenting her findings in 2014 at three conferences and closing off the year with her first international journal article. ‘I have opened the year with a motivational piece for SMMEs in South Africa in the January issue of the Entrepreneur Magazine. I will continue on this path and share knowledge wherever I can.’

Hazel Langa

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Summa Cum Laude Graduates Empowered for Success

<em>Summa Cum Laude</em> Graduates Empowered for Success
Summa cum laude graduates Mr Joshua Chipangila, Mr Yusuf Vawda, Ms Justine Lindsay and Mr Benjamin Meadows.

The academically talented Ms Justine Lindsay, Mr Benjamin Meadows, Mr Joshua Chipangila and Mr Yusuf Vawda celebrated graduating with Bachelor of Commerce degrees summa cum laude from the College of Law and Management Studies in Pietermaritzburg.

For the group, the qualification is their first step towards successful careers. Lindsay and Vawda plan on pursuing careers in Chartered Accountancy; and Meadows who is currently studying Law, plans on becoming an Attorney.

For Lindsay, losing her mother to cancer during the second year of her studies was a heavy blow. She dedicated her degree to her mother whose struggle against cancer inspired her (Justine) to overcome life’s challenges and persevere against all odds.

‘The day my mom passed away after a six-year fight with cancer was the day I lost my heroine,’ said Lindsay. ‘She had always been my main source of motivation and strength, especially with regards to my studies. My mom was extremely proud of my achievements, she knew that I aimed to achieve summa cum laude. Although she was not here to see me graduate, I know that she has been with me every step of the way.’

Lindsay’s plans for 2015 include completing her BCom Honours Accounting degree and a Certificate of Theory in Accounting as the next step towards her dream of becoming a chartered accountant. Then in 2016 she intends to write the SAICA ITC board exam and become a trainee accountant.

Vawda said graduating summa cum laude was a reward for his hard work.

‘A summa cum laude pass was not on my mind seeing that I was studying towards an Accounting degree which is notorious for its difficult exams. This achievement is something that will assist me as I progress in my professional career. I don't only attribute this achievement to myself but to God and my parents and teachers who over the years assisted me in numerous ways throughout my undergraduate career,’ said Vawda.

Meadows said the achievement had steered him to a new academic path as he was currently studying towards an LLB in the hope of becoming an attorney with a commercial background.

‘My BCom degree will give me a good grounding and perspective for Law. We all interact with companies and the commercial world on a daily basis. Therefore, obtaining some level of insight into what goes on behind the scenes was a fascinating experience.

‘That experience was enhanced by the knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication of the lecturers as well as my most memorable moment of representing UKZN Athletics at the 2014 USSA competition. It was great to be a part of the spirit and camaraderie of a university sports team – it isn’t all about the academics,’ said Meadows.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Personal and Financial Sacrifices lead to Academic Success for PhD Graduate

Personal and Financial Sacrifices lead to Academic Success for PhD Graduate
Dr Abayomi Adeoye Olarewaju (left) celebrating academic excellence with his supervisor Dr Ziska Field and friend Dr Sulaiman Atiku.

Leaving his family in Nigeria and getting a loan to finance his studies are some of the sacrifices that make graduating with a PhD that much sweeter for Dr Abayomi Adeoye Olarewaju. As a Business Administration Lecturer at Nigeria’s Lagos State University, Olarewaju’s need to broaden his knowledge and progress as an academic made a doctoral qualification from UKZN the obvious choice.

‘There are lot of sacrifices like not being with my family and getting loans to complete the programme which means I have to deny myself comforts. I took study leave from my employer which gives me leverage to concentrate fully on my studies. Pursuing this qualification was worth it as it will enhance my career growth and grant me opportunities internationally,’ said Olarewaju.

Olarewaju’s dissertation titled: “An Assessment of Compensation Management and Motivation on Organisational Performance in the Insurance industry in Nigeria” under the supervision of Dr Ziska Fields consolidates that organisational performance, employees motivation, satisfaction, self-actualisation is all a function of compensation management.

Olarewaju explains that the study’s findings reveal that compensation management and motivation is of paramount interest to the major players of industrial union, that is, the state, employers and employees.

‘This will lead to economic growth of the society and also reduces the rate of industrial strike of the workers. I managed to stay passionate about this topic because I conceived it in my undergraduate days and the encouragement I got from my supervisor, Dr Fields.

With this qualification, Olarewaju is looking forward to a successful career.

‘I was motivated to pursue this qualification to get to the apex of my career and to fulfil the requirements in academics. My experience for studying for a PhD is a remarkable one which will linger for a long time, the challenges are enormous but to God be the glory, it is over,’ said Olarewaju.

Thandiwe Jumo

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LLB Summa Cum Laude Graduate’s Life-Long Dream Realised

LLB <em>Summa Cum Laude</em> Graduate’s Life-Long Dream Realised
Candidate Attorney Ms Ntokozo Majola was awarded an LLB degree summa cum laude.

For Durban born LLB summa cum laude graduate Ms Ntokozo Majola, becoming an attorney has been her life-long dream. She is currently serving as a Candidate Attorney at Bowman Gilfillan in Cape Town and enjoys learning about the practical side of the legal profession on a daily basis.

The LLB degree is perceived by many to be an academically challenging programme because of the high volume of reading and writing associated with it. However this did not deter Majola who is passionate about reading and has a keen interest in history.

She candidly said: ‘I can be quite talkative and persuasive when the occasion calls for it and as I discovered more about what a career in Law entails I became more and more convinced that being an attorney was the right path for me and this is what motivated me to pursue an LLB.’

Over the years spent at the UKZN School of Law, Majola scooped several awards for academic excellence including the Dean’s Commendation from 2011 until 2014, being awarded the UKZN Academic Scholarship between 2012 and 2014, being a Golden Key Society Member since 2012, and receiving several Certificates of Merit for 18 Modules between 2011 and 2014.

After being capped at a UKZN graduation in April which was attended by members of her family she said: ‘I feel proud of myself and everyone who supported me through the process of getting my degree for the accomplishment. I always aspired to do my best throughout my degree but being awarded my degree summa cum laude is an accomplishment I had never set my sights on specifically, making it even more of a reward for the years I spent at UKZN. I am happy to know that this achievement is one that I will have standing behind my name and that will follow me wherever I go in years to come.’

On pursuing postgraduate studies she said: ‘I love the idea of furthering my knowledge in Law and have an interest in the Banking and Finance and Maritime areas of Law. I am however, open to pursuing any other area of interest that may arise,’ she added.

Hazel Langa

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PhD Study on Marketing in the Beer Industry

PhD Study on Marketing in the Beer Industry
Dr Roger Salisbury with his wife Frances.

School of Management, Information Technology and Governance Lecturer Dr Roger Salisbury’s students and colleagues applauded with enthusiasm and ululated when he was awarded a doctoral degree during the April Graduation ceremonies in Pietermaritzburg on 21 April.

Salisbury and his family are passionate about studying. He said: ‘My wife has graduated with an MSc in Chemical Engineering. One daughter is writing up her DPhil in Electronic Engineering, another an MSc in Veterinary Science and the third is starting her Masters in Civil Engineering.’

“An analysis of Complementary Competence Co-Branding Potential in the Beer Industry” was the title of his thesis which was supervised by Professor Charles O’Neill.

His study explores how small businesses could overcome the barriers to entry and compete in the South African and international brewing industries dominated by large multinationals.

An important provision of the SA Liquor Act that came into effect in 2004 attracted him to the brewing industry. He explained: ‘The Act seeks to promote the development of a responsible and sustainable liquor industry that facilitates the entry of new participants and diversity of ownership in the industry with an ethos of social responsibility.'

‘Previously my interests lay in exploring supply chain strategies that can assist smaller companies to compete with larger companies and multinationals. However, in the brewing industry the major challenges that new entrants and smaller players face relate to marketing,’ added Salisbury.

Salisbury’s study also investigates the potential role that co-branding can play in overcoming these challenges and describes some interesting synergies that benefit both large and small players party to a co-brand.

While conducting his research, he had the opportunity to spend time at the brewing institute attached to Berlin University. He is planning to publish parts of his thesis and to continue the process of generating new knowledge.

Hazel Langa

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Sugar Industry in Focus in PhD

Sugar Industry in Focus in PhD
GSB&L Lecturer and PhD graduate Dr Cecile Gerwel-Proches.

UKZN Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) Lecturer Dr Cecile Gerwel-Proches, was awarded a PhD for her thesis titled: “An Application of Systems Methodologies to investigate Social Complexity at the Felixton Mill area”.

Her research, supervised by Dr Shamim Bodhanya, focused on applying Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) as a means of comprehending social complexity in the mill area which is an important component of the South African sugar industry and characterised by diverse stakeholders who have multiple and often competing objectives.

The research highlighted the value of applying SSM to comprehend social complexity in this type of context, and contributed to social complexity theory, systems and complexity theory and leadership literature.

In 2010, Gerwel-Proches participated in the multi-disciplinary project her PhD forms part of. ‘The larger project was aimed at finding improvement processes for use in the sugar cane supply and processing system, and included a focus on the hard and soft aspects of the sugar industry. I was excited to engage in research which draws on my areas of expertise, which include leadership, organisational behaviour, systems thinking and complexity theory.'

‘I had a chance to do real research into issues in complex organisational systems, such as leadership, power, organisational culture, decision-making, and values,’ she said. ‘My research involved constant interaction with the participants, who included growers, millers, hauliers, and industry partners.

‘The study involved numerous interviews and SSM workshops which provided me with an opportunity to eventually move from a point of gaining an understanding of the issues to engaging stakeholders on their recommendations for moving forward and taking action. This corresponded to the collaborative, participatory action research nature of SSM, as moving from expert to process facilitator,’ she said.

As an academic in a research-led institution, Gerwel-Proches has already published parts of her thesis in academic journals and has presented at local and national conferences.

During her studies Gerwel-Proches continued to excel academically, professionally and personally. On completion of a full research Masters in 2010 she began her PhD journey and during the same year started as a lecturer in the GSB&L. In the midst of her studies she gave birth to her daughter.

At home she worked under the watchful eye of her husband who is also an academic at UKZN.

‘I was kept motivated by so many people, including my family, supervisor, colleagues and even students, who were constantly asking me about my PhD. Being in an academic environment, and having a husband who is an academic, naturally helped.’

The Dean and Head of the GSB&L, Professor Theuns Pelser, congratulated Gerwel-Proches on her achievement which will enable the College of Law and Management Studies to meet its goal of increasing the number of staff with PhDs.

Hazel Langa

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Poultry Products Feature in PhD study on Consumer Behaviour

Poultry Products Feature in PhD study on Consumer Behaviour
PhD graduate Dr Charles Makanyeza.

Avid sports enthusiast Dr Charles Makanyeza was awarded a PhD for his thesis titled: “Consumer Awareness, Ethnocentrism, Attitude and Purchase Behaviour toward Imported Poultry Products: A Zimbabwean Perspective”, at a Graduation ceremony of the College of Law and Management Studies.

Makanyeza, a Lecturer in the Department of Marketing at the Chinhoyi University of Technology in Zimbabwe, recently published papers from this study.  The Journal of International Consumer Marketing published a paper titled: “Consumer Awareness, Ethnocentrism and Loyalty: An Integrative Model” which he co-authored.

Another paper titled “Examining the Measurement and Dimensionality of the Construct of Consumer Awareness in a Developing and Transition Economy” will be published in a forthcoming publication of the SA Journal of Industrial Psychology (AOSIS OpenJournals).   

Makanyeza’s study, which was supervised by Dr Francois Du Toit and Dr Manduth Ramchander, focuses on consumer awareness and ethnocentric tendency - it explores how these two concepts influence the attitude and purchase behaviour of consumers regarding imported poultry products in Zimbabwe. His research also examined factors considered by consumers when purchasing imported poultry products.

His study was motivated by the nature of consumer behaviour especially in a business environment plagued by heightened competition because of increased international trade in poultry products. Consequently he believes that a sound understanding of consumer behaviour in the global competitive environment is a key strategy consideration for the survival of organisations.

Makanyeza said he was excited and humbled by his academic achievement. ‘It is a dream come true! Looking into the mirror I see a great difference in myself. This degree is going to boost my confidence and precision as I embark on the journey of improving the wellbeing of communities, individuals and businesses.’

He is indebted to his family for the moral and spiritual support they gave him. ‘I cannot adequately describe how elated the family feels. After all the years of tolerance and support, it is also their achievement. They are immensely excited,’ he said.

Makanyeza intends to spread his new knowledge through publishing more articles. ‘Armed with the skills I acquired in the process of earning my PhD, I intend to continue publishing works that can improve the lives of individuals and the wellbeing of organisations.’

He plans to unwind by catching up on his favourite sports - golf and soccer. ‘My favourite golfer is Rory McIlroy and my favourite football club is Manchester United.’

 Hazel Langa

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PhD Journey Results in Career Growth for Zimbabwean Graduate

PhD Journey Results in Career Growth for Zimbabwean Graduate
Dr Fanny Saruchera (left) and his supervisor, Dr Maxwell Phiri.

PhD graduate Dr Fanny Saruchera’s decision to do a doctoral degree at an internationally recognised institution such as UKZN has opened up a world of diverse professional networks which have played a vital role in his career growth.

Saruchera, a Lecturer at Chinhoyi University in Zimbabwe, said the qualification gives him a competitive edge over his peers in academia and is the first step towards fulfilling his aspiration of attaining professorship.

‘My new qualification places me on the world map and enhances my chances of enhanced career choices anywhere in the world. Besides working closely with my supervisor, Dr Maxwell A Phiri, I have worked with other renowned experts and scholars in the field and have made important contacts during international conferences, all of whom can serve as excellent career references for any job positions,’ said Saruchera.

Through his thesis titled: “Determinants of Commercialisation of Technological Innovations in Developing Economies: A Study of Zimbabwe’s Research Institutes”, Saruchera aims to address the misconception that Africa is not innovative through highlighting the technological innovations that Africa can offer to the world. The study’s findings reveal that successful commercialisation of a new product is influenced by perceptions consumers hold of it, correct application of launch decisions and the level of customer involvement.

‘Although it emerged that Zimbabwe’s technological innovations are perceived to be meeting customer expectations, the study revealed that successful commercialisation is being hindered by financial constraints, lack of proper commercialisation infrastructure, limited consumer access to new products, poor sectoral support, patents mal-administration, and long-time lags between new product development and market introduction, among other hindrances. Thus the study proposed a model for the commercialisation of Technological Innovations in developing economies such as Zimbabwe’s,’ explained Saruchera.

Commuting between Zimbabwe and South Africa was stressful but the rewards along the PhD journey have been worth it for Saruchera, including getting a full fee remission at UKZN.

Saruchera presented two papers alongside Phiri at the Forum on Industrial Organisation and Marketing in Munich, Germany in 2014, thanks to the financial assistance of the College of Law and Management Studies Research Office. This motivated him to strengthen his relationship with UKZN embarking on a post-doctoral programme.

Thandiwe Jumo

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LLM Cum Laude Graduate doing her bit to Protect the Environment

LLM <em>Cum Laude</em> Graduate doing her bit to Protect the Environment
Ms Felicity Elliott.

Completing a Masters of Law degree at UKZN has reignited Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s bioregional conservation planner Ms Felicity Elliott’s passion for biodiversity and environment conservation.

Elliott, who graduated with her LLM in Environmental Studies cum laude, says the qualification gave her the perfect opportunity to learn more about Environmental Law in South Africa and internationally.

‘I have worked in the environmental field and I am currently working in conservation, both these required me to make use of a number of environmental statutes. Working with and interpreting these statutes got me interested in the legal field and environmental law in particular,’ said Elliot.

‘My other qualifications are in the sciences/environmental field. The LLM thus although not allowing me to operate as an attorney, does provide me with a greater understanding of Environmental Law, which I can put to use in my day-to-day work,’ said Elliott.

Elliot hopes her research work will help to find solutions to habitat destruction as a result of agriculture and urban development which poses a huge threat to South Africa’s biodiversity and environment.

Her dissertation titled: “A critical Assessment of Specific Aspects of South Africa’s Laws Relating to Biodiversity Offsets and Suggestions for Improvements”, explores biodiversity offsets in the environment field and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Process: The Fairbreeze Conundrum.

The study’s specific focus was on whether South Africa’s legislation currently provides an adequate framework for the implementation of biodiversity offsets, through the EIA process, and how this framework could be improved.

‘Biodiversity offsets are contentious because they are seen either as a much needed opportunity for mainstreaming biodiversity into sustainable planning or as a means for developers to get away with destroying the environment. Further it needs to be understood how legislation can be used to ensure that all possible benefits for biodiversity and the environment can be implemented when biodiversity offsets become an option,’ said Elliott.

The research’s findings reveal that there is a strong argument which suggests the current environmental legislation does not provide adequate protection to biodiversity and that further provisions need to be provided in legislation to ensure that when biodiversity offsets are utilised they are adequately managed and implemented - an issue that Elliott feels strongly about.

‘The greater argument of whether biodiversity offsets will turn out to be good for or detrimental to South Africa’s biodiversity is something that still needs to be determined and this can perhaps only happen after South Africa has fully implemented and audited the offsets approved in the last couple of years,’ she said.

Elliot said studying part-time had been challenging and required a delicate juggling act between work, studying and her personal life, but the achievement of graduating with an LLM and being awarded the Lexis Nexis LLM prize at this year’s School of Law Students Awards Ceremony made all the sacrifices worthwhile.

Thandiwe Jumo

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The Sky is the Limit for Cum Laude Graduates!

The Sky is the Limit for <em>Cum Laude</em> Graduates!
From left: Cum laude graduates Mr Dornu Kpagih, Ms Perpetua Ngulube, Ms Yumna Asmathullah and Mr Muhammad Ismail.

UKZN Graduates excelled at the College of Law and Management Studies’ Pietermaritzburg Graduation ceremony with seven receiving their degrees cum laude.

Ms  Yumna Asmathullah, Mr Steven Gurney and Mr Muhammad Ismail graduated with Bachelor of Commerce degrees while Ms Lauren Canham, Mr Dornu Kpagith, Mr Jonathan McElwee and Ms Perpetua Ngulube graduated with Bachelor of Commerce Honours degrees.

Ismail, who is doing his honours degree, said he believed the qualification was a stepping stone to a successful career in Chartered Accountancy.

‘I will be serving my articles with PwC next year. The CA qualification in South Africa is highly regarded, providing a diverse skill set, enabling one to branch off into a variety of fields. I would like to proceed with my masters and perhaps enter the academic environment as well as develop entrepreneurial skills. As a South African citizen, it is my duty to contribute to the upliftment of the underprivileged and impact positively on their lives,’ he said.

Gurney is studying for his honours in Economics at the University of Cape Town, while Ngulube is already involved in an exciting career opportunity. ‘I am currently on the Unilever Future Leaders programme and in my current role, I am an Assistant Brand Manager taking care of the Knorr brand. I am walking in the dream of any marketing graduate. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,’ said Ngulube.

Thandiwe Jumo

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