School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences

UKZN academics (from left) Drs Siphiwe Mqadi, Zoleka Ncoyini and Edmore Ntini.

Accelerated Academic Development Programme Bears Fruit

Three emerging academics who were part of UKZN’s Accelerated Academic Development Programme (AADP) have graduated with their PhDs.

Dr Siphiwe Mqadi graduated with a PhD in Accounting, Dr Zoleka Ncoyini with a PhD in Agrometeorology and Dr Edmore Ntini with a doctorate in Sociology.

The AADP is an initiative to transform the academic sector and improve representation at UKZN through the accelerated development and promotion of emerging academics. It targets young or aspiring academics with no or limited experience but the potential and interest to pursue an academic career. Candidates are expected to register for a doctoral degree and complete it within five years of their tenure.

Mqadi an Auditing lecturer in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance said he ventured into academia because of its appeal and his desire to study further. ‘An opportunity to study for my Master of Science in International Accounting and Finance at the University of Liverpool in Europe presented itself and I grabbed it with both hands. Upon my return in 2012, UKZN was the obvious choice to pursue my interest in academia, as I was born and bred in Margate, south of Durban.’

He revealed that losing both his parents during his studies was extremely hard and required exceptional strength and mental readjustment. He said that his qualification has opened various doors in academia and he plans to expand on his research and publish more articles in accredited journals.

Mqadi thanked his supervisors Professor M Mkhize and Dr B Nomlala for their guidance and support and acknowledged Professor Sibanda, Dean and Head of the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance for being his sounding board and giving him a push in the right direction. He also thanked his siblings.

Lecturer in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Science, Ncoyini said that her passion for research led her to a career in academia and that, as a research-led institution, UKZN is the place for her to grow. She added that, while she enjoyed learning new concepts and methodologies, her PhD journey was an emotionally-draining roller-coaster ride. Her plans for the future include being more involved in practical research activities and seeing her research findings and recommendations implemented by communities: ‘I’m interested in research that will uplift poor South Africans, shift their thinking and eventually change the narrative.’

She thanked her family for their support and her colleagues and supervisors Professor Clulow, Professor Savage and Dr Strydom: ‘I will forever cherish the way they welcomed me and taught me everything relating to Agrometeorology.’

Ntini a Community Development lecturer in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies and a trained teacher said his interest in creating and imparting knowledge attracted him to academia. ‘UKZN provides me with the space to teach, supervise research, publish and contribute to the University’s various forms of community engagement.’

His achievements include supervising 45 honours and postgraduate diploma students as well as four master’s students and publishing 15 articles in South African Post Secondary Education (SAPSE) accredited journals. He plans to step up his rate of research and publication output as well as graduate more master’s and PhD students.

Ntini thanked his colleagues in the Department of Community Development; his PhD supervisors Professor Radhamany Sooryamoorthy and Professor Oliver Mtapuri; Dr Muzi Matse the Head of Department, and Professor Ernest Khalema, Dean and Head of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies for their trust and unwavering support.

He added, ‘All credit goes out to the departed, living and yet to come members of our lineage, and a special thank you to my family for the encouraging and homely atmosphere that prevailed throughout my PhD journey.’

Commenting on the academics’ achievements, Mrs Busisiwe Ramabodu, Director for Human Resources Development, said: ‘I congratulate all the AADP colleagues that have achieved this important milestone of completing their PhDs. The journey continues, and I wish you success in your careers, and encourage you to use your PhDs as a stepping stone towards building a successful publication career. The University will continue providing support and development programmes to see you rise through the academic ranks; utilise them and drive your own success towards being an impactful academic.’

Words: Hlengiwe Khwela

Photographs: Supplied