21 October 2015 Volume :3 Issue :48

Annual Student Post Graduate Conference

Annual Student Post Graduate Conference
Award winners with UKZN staff at the 4th annual Student Post Graduate Conference.

UKZN’s School of Applied Human Sciences (SAHS) recently hosted its 4th Annual Post Graduate Conference at the Howard College theatre under the theme, “Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Empowering Social Development and Transformation in Africa”.

The theme was in line with the vision and mission of the University and the College of Humanities.

Dean and Head of the School, Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize, said: ‘The Conference provides a unique opportunity for postgraduate students to showcase their research. It also trains them in a range of academic skills, including verbal and written communication of their research findings to the larger scientific community.’

Mkhize challenged the new generation of scholars to produce interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary knowledge for and about Africa in order to impact the paradigm of knowledge production globally.

Retired Professor Patrick Sibaya of the University of Zululand delivered the keynote address on: “Selected Research Designs and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS)”.

Sibaya said IKS was important for everyone, and that protection, development and management tools were crucial for it.

Merit Awards for the best abstracts were presented to four students.  They were:

·         Ms Caitlin Jade van Niekerk (Criminology and Forensic Studies) - An Exploratory Analysis of the Common Characteristics and Associated Risk Factors that Contribute to Juvenile Sex Offending in the South African Context. Supervisor: Dr Jackie De Wet

·         Ms Phiwe Babalo Nota (CCMS) - A Comparative Study of Students’ Attitudes, Preferences and Acceptance Levels Towards Microbiocide Products; the Tenofovir Gel and the Dapivirine Ring at UKZN. Supervisor: Dr Eliza Govender

·         Mr Talent Mhangwa (Social Work) - The Perceptions Concerning the Effectiveness of Aftercare Programmes Following Long Term Institutional Treatment for Female Recovering Drug Users. Supervisor: Professor Madhu Kasiram

·         Ms Wendy Corfe (Psychology): The Experience of Being a Student Mother whilst Pursuing Tertiary Education in South Africa. Supervisor: Dr Mary van der Riet.

Speaking on behalf of the award winners van Niekerk said: ‘We have all worked very hard and being recognised is quite amazing. It has spurred us to complete our research and we are motivated to do our best.’

Additionally, two senior academic staff members Dr Jean Steyn (Criminology & Forensic Studies) and Professor Douglas Wassenaar (Psychology) were each presented with an Award for outstanding contributions to the School while the Discipline of Social Work received the Award for Teamwork. 

Wassenaar said: ‘We weren’t expecting this award and we’re both surprised. But we take it as recognition of our hard work.’

Steyn said: ‘This is a step forward in recognising the abilities and efforts of staff members. We appreciate it and the award is dedicated to the entire team for their contributions to making the School of Applied Human Sciences so great.’

The Conference created a space for the postgraduate students to showcase their research while helping to enhance students’ presentation skills; to encourage peer support; to add interdisciplinary richness; to enable the members of the SAHS to learn more about the research projects running inside the School; and to encourage excellence in academic performance and teamwork of academic staff within disciplines.

Said Dr Thandi Magojo (UKZN Psychology): ‘Students are encouraged to work on their papers so as to later publish them in accredited journals, with the guidance and support of their supervisors. These papers, if accepted for publication, will benefit both the students and their supervisors.  This outcome will also enhance the standing and visibility of SAHS and UKZN.’

*The Conference was planned and organised by post graduate students, specifically masters and PhD students, who formed an organising committee to take care of the scientific programme and other aspects of the proceedings. The students worked collaboratively with the post graduate monitoring and support division led by Drs Thandi Magojo and Dr Jean Steyn, as well as the academic and support staff.

Melissa Mungroo

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