Professor Cheryl Potgieter (fourth left) with Deans,
College management staff and new lecturers.

The College of Humanities welcomed 50 new lecturers who have recently been appointed in the College. Nationally the number of Black African academics within the university system is low and the number of African Black Professors is even lower.

The latest available data from the Department of Higher Education and Training from 2012 show that nationwide, 76% of Professors are White, 5% are Indian and 4.5% are Coloured. The National Development Plan states only 194 Black or African South Africans are Professors out of the country’s total of 4?000. This number translates to 4% of the total.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, said the College is committed to increasing the number of Black academics in the system and thus build the next generation of academics. She made it clear that this transformation will contribute to the knowledge production of the University and the country and indeed the continent. The College believes that the overall contribution is contributing to the development goals of the nation and the continent. 

‘We at UKZN and the College of Humanities do transformation through excellence.’

She presented a power point titled “Managing Your Career” and academics new and old felt that it was an extremely useful and important presentation and she has been requested to present it at other forums. All Deans who spoke had a similar message.

Also addressing the new academics, Director of Professional Services, Mr Kishore Gobardan said: ‘As a College, we are really excited about having 50 new academics join us. This sets a new direction for the College and the University. Take each day at a time. Being at UKZN is both challenging and rewarding and as a College, we are confident you will succeed.’

College Human Resources Manager, Mrs Nonhlanhla Kunene stated that it took almost a year to get the new academics on-board and her Human Resources team will continue to be involved in developing them. She believes that the academics will aid in transforming the University.

Kunene thanked the DVC Professor Potgieter for being the driving force behind the event. Thereafter, she thanked the new academics, the Human Resources team, Public Relations team and the College team for their support.

Newly appointed Lecturer within the School of Applied Human Sciences Dr Maud Mthembu stated that she felt welcomed and part of the bigger community of the University and she even managed to connect with other colleagues, built relationships and even shared research interests for future collaborations.  

‘I think the DVC articulated clearly how we can prioritise our work, improve our productivity and output. I particularly like the fact that she was not apologetic about our core business as lecturers while taking into account that we are still new in the academic space.’

‘For me, the take home message was that I can now map my progress and priorities better. All Deans spoke from the heart; personal stories and sharing with us how best to adjust in such a dynamic environment. I felt they really wanted us to succeed and perform better. They were open, approachable and eager to point us to the right direction.’

Lecturer within the School of Social Sciences Mr Siyanda Kheswa said: ‘I was grateful and honored to be part of a good initiative that allowed me to network and get to know more about the College and its organogram. The event made me feel special and I also began to realise that it is no longer a dream but a reality that I am a University staff member.’

‘It is not every day that one meets with the DVC because of her busy schedule but her words of wisdom will allow me to draw inspiration from it. She made us comfortable by letting us know of the challenges that one may encounter yet also giving positives that one will experience.’

‘It was nice to hear from the Deans and HR personnel. The Deans conveyed messages of support and words of encouragement and assured us that we will never be alone since there are structures to consult for support.  I felt that the Deans did a great job in outlining exactly what one should expect during his time as an academic, whose ambition is to grow to full professorship.’