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Message from the Head of School

- Professor David Everatt

The chilly weather has arrived, but with it comes some great news from the Wits School of Governance.

Our staff complement is further enriched by two Senior Lecturers, Dr Chelete Monyane and Dr Jacqui Poltera. By the time this newsletter is published, our new Associate Professor Erin McCandless, formerly at the New School, will also be with us (bringing two New York cats with her), and in a month or two, Professor of Public Governance, Robert van Niekerk, will be here as well (without cats). At that point, the reorientation of WSG into a true school of governance will be close to complete.

But with the new staff come exciting new developments on the delivery side. Firstly, our online offerings - the ‘PDM PDM’ (the post-graduate diploma in management in the field of public development management) - start rolling out in July, when we pilot the first four modules of the diploma. Learning the techniques of online teaching has been a learning curve for all involved, since we have to learn a new pedagogy, new techniques, far closer focus on teaching outcomes, and a reliance on technology. Led by Professor Alex van den Heever and Murray Cairns, we are very excited to see how these take off - they will be followed, in 2019, by the entire PDM PDM going live online.

At the same time, our new degree architecture has been approved. We will now offer a series of Masters in Governance, with specialisations - in social policy, monitoring and evaluation, security and so on - and will allow students to graduate in and receive certificates reflecting their specialisation. The degree will be further elaborated by offering a mix of compulsory modules, and electives - the latter are key in allowing students to navigate their own intellectual journey, and in allowing all WSG staff to offer electives in their own area of strength. This really will propel WSG to the forefront of the field.

Among our staff, it is exciting to note that Odile Mackett is the first Faculty staff member to be successfully enrolled in the joint PhD programme between WSG and the Institute for Social Studies at Erasmus University in the Hague. This will involve meeting and passing all appropriate PhD milestones at both universities, and being awarded a joint doctorate - we wish Odile all the best on her journey!

Finally, and most importantly, our students. You will read some of their stories of how WSG has helped change their approach to work, their approach to life, and their appreciation of complexity in their own sector. It is for them that we have gone through a lengthy and complex process of re-imagining our degree architecture, creating more flexible and challenging pathways for them, and raising standards across the board so that we ensure they graduate with aching brains but a hunger for more knowledge, and an enhanced capacity to apply what they already know. The students and their experiences lie at the heart of any School, and we really hope that the work we’ve done bears fruit for them.

Chilly outside, but gosh it is warm inside WSG!