By Themba Nyovane 28 July 2022

Facilitator and Former Executive Dean: FMS- Professor Roy Dhurup

On Tuesday, 19 July 2022, the Vaal University Technology’s (VUT’s) Faculty of Management Sciences (FMS) held a postgraduate workshop, at the VUT’s Quest Conference Centre.

The gathering focused on the reflections of postgraduate supervision under the theme: Enhancing the postgraduate environment and healthy postgraduate supervision”.

The workshop was opened by Dr Gauda Maseko, the Head of Department:  Accountancy Department, VUT. Delivering the welcoming address, Dr Maseko introduced the former Executive Dean:  Professor Roy Dhurup, who was the facilitator.

“Prof Dhurup served at VUT with a passion for teaching and learning, which includes publishing research articles locally and internationally. Prof Dhurup supervised over 60 postgraduate students at various universities,” echoed Dr Maseko.

Addressing the audience, Prof Dhurup expressed a message of gratitude to the FMS supervisors and co-supervisors who were present at the supervisor’s forum. He recognised the role and extra effort they make academically. “Being a tower of strength to the faculty amidst heavy loads of academic work, within the midst of a pandemic, you continued to ensure that deadlines on assessments/portfolio are met with data availability that is limited, your contributions as supervisors will never go unnoticed,” he said.

Prof Dhurup further gave insights on the qualities and critical fundamental skills supervisors must consider when working with their students. “The working relationship between postgraduates and supervisors is key to successful supervision throughout the entire journey of research projects, and the aim is to inspire and care for the student”.  According to him, the application of critical thinking skills by the supervisors when dealing with postgraduate students provides a smooth enculturation and integration into the academic community.

Prof Dhurup provided guidance on how to tackle some of the problems faced by postgraduate supervisors, and they include:

  • Ensuring the correct misapplication of statistics in the analysis of data.
  • Addressing multicollinearity concerns.
  • Performing a comprehensive literature review.
  • Correct application of correlations and regression analysis.

Furthermore, he urged the supervisors and co-supervisors to have an eye for detail when it comes to the types of research design used and the use of vague research questions. “When it comes to supervision, we need to understand and have an affinity with some of the background challenges that our postgraduates face within their academic calendar.”

“Feedback is a contentious topic in higher education.  When it comes to theory, supervisors and co-supervisors are encouraged to provide guidelines to scholars (postgraduates) to avoid loopholes and shortfalls that will discourage their interest in their academics,” he said.

During an interaction session, the supervisors and co-supervisors shared some of the challenges they face with postgraduate students, among them the conducting of literature reviews, which is a prerequisite in research.

Participants narrated their academic structural plans while sharing their in-depth knowledge on research with each other. The supervisors and co-supervisors within the faculty raised the need within their academic work, for teamwork and collaborations, group discussions, meetings and sharing of communication via social media platforms.

Closing the programme with a vote of thanks was Dr Johannes Van der Westhuizen: Acting HoD- Logistics and Supply Chain Management.  He thanked all academics, members of staff who attended the workshop and particularly, Prof Dhurup for availing himself for the programme and providing in-depth knowledge, wisdom, and guidance to the VUT Faculty of Management Sciences.

“We look forward to more programmes and relationships in future,” concluded Dr Westhuizen.