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Wits welcomes 12 000 future researchers

- Wits University

The University held its annual Postgraduate Orientation Programme from 4 – 6 March in the Great Hall and online.

The journey commenced with a warm welcome from Jerome September, the Dean of Student Affairs, who set the tone for an insightful exploration into the world of academia.

"At the postgraduate level, you must take charge. You are also going to learn some of the skills around how to find your academic voice. That voice will help you make a difference in your area of study," says September, alluding to the exciting horizons of research and emphasising the pivotal role postgraduates play in shaping the future.

Postgraduate Orientation Programme 2024

Okuhle Mafrika, the Chairperson of the Wits Postgraduate Association (PGA), gave voice to student perspectives and towards fostering a sense of community and collaboration: "As advocates for all postgraduate students, the PGA works diligently to address student needs, serving as a beacon of support, promoting academic excellence, and ensuring accountability and transparency within the Wits community,” says Mafrika. “We have been working hard for the last two months to ensure postgraduate students are able to register for the 2024 academic year.”

Having raised R2 million, the PGA was able to help around 300 postgraduate students to register.

The PG Orientation Programme delved deeper into the academic landscape with an expert panel discussion led by Professor Brett Bowman, Head of Postgraduate Strategy, and featuring distinguished panellists from various fields.

Discussions ranged from future thought leadership to research impact and innovation, offering students a comprehensive understanding of the academic landscape. Dr Daisy Selematsela the Director of Wits Libraries and Gita Patel, the Head of Wits International Office, provided invaluable insights into Wits' research support frameworks and internationalisation efforts, to equip students with the tools for success in their academic pursuits.

Postgraduate Orientation Programme 2024

The orientation continued with engaging sessions on research methodologies, funding literacy, and the holistic postgraduate experience to ensure students were well-prepared for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Dr Adam Pantanowitz, Director of the Wits Innovation Centre and Dr Yolanda Davids, Deputy Director of the Research Office  illuminated the path towards impactful research and securing funding, thereby empowering students to navigate the academic landscape with confidence.

The programme culminated in the lively Cocktails on the Concourse to encourage networking among students and lay the groundwork for a vibrant postgraduate research community.