UP congratulates all UP staff members who graduated during autumn season

Posted on May 14, 2021

The University of Pretoria (UP) has conferred more than 11 400 qualifications on students and staff members at 31 virtual graduation ceremonies, which were held from 13 April to 7 May 2021.

The autumn graduation sessions are the third of its kind to be carried out online over the past 12 months due to COVID-19 lockdown regulations, which prevent the gathering of large numbers of people. Of the qualifications conferred, 198 were doctorates, 1 289 master’s degrees and 1 141 certificates.

“[The graduates] have achieved this milestone during an incredibly challenging time across the globe; such an achievement is simply magnificent,” said UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe.

Congratulations to the following UP members of staff for their academic achievements:

Dr Joyce West, a lecturer in the Department of Early Childhood Education, graduated with a PhD in Education under the supervision of Professor Rinelle Evans. The title of her PhD is ‘Student teachers’ degree of ethnocentrism: Attitudes and beliefs about language’. “My PhD brought to light the interwoven nature of ethnocentrism and one’s social identity, and how it relates to a person's attitudes and beliefs about language-in-education issues,” Dr West explains. “My study’s findings can help universities to develop teacher-training curricula that challenge students to evaluate their own degree of ethnocentrism and to become aware of how it could impact their future classroom practices. My future plans are to complete a post-doctorate at the University of Granada in Spain.”

Dr Adebunmi Aina, a part-time lecturer in the Department of Education Management and Policy Studies, concluded her doctoral degree through the Department of Early Childhood Education. “My newly acquired knowledge will directly and indirectly have a positive impact on the way I carry out my responsibilities at the University,” she says. “My advice to colleagues who aspire to further their studies can be summed up very simply: plan, be disciplined and seek advice.”

Postgraduate coordinator in the Department of Business Management Batabile Msengana graduated with a postgraduate diploma in Communication Management. “I hope to inspire others to push hard to realise their dreams, no matter how challenging their circumstances.”

Senior lecturer in the Department of Taxation Dr Karen Stark also graduated. “Pursuing a PhD has always been daunting to me, but the journey has been worth the sacrifices,” she says. “I have learnt so much more than just the topic I was researching. Even though most of the research was done in isolation, with many ups and downs when supervisors send their feedback, remember that your loved ones and colleagues want you to succeed as much as you do, and you can always draw on their support.”

Dr Anculien Schoeman – a senior lecturer in Taxation who also does research and leads master’s students in their research – graduated with a PhD. “I enjoy my work: lecturing and researching,” she says. “I plan to get more involved in international research collaborations. I also want to improve my teaching by using new, innovative media to engage students.”

Senior lecturer in the Department of Taxation Dr Mpumi Monageng graduated with a PhD in Taxation. “I plan to focus more on conducting and publishing research that is relevant to my area of research interest. I also plan to study further in order to obtain further skills that will enhance my teaching and research skills.”

Dr Elmarie Louw of the Department of Financial Management received a doctorate for her PhD titled ‘Value relevance of goodwill impairment and its disclosure’. She says she is extremely grateful to her supervisors and her husband. “Lockdown was challenging, as I had to home-school my children and complete my PhD in the early mornings. But my supportive husband got me through.”

Muriel Serfontein-Jordaan, a lecturer in the Department of Business Management, graduated with a doctorate. Her PhD is titled ‘Designing an investor-focused communication strategy framework based on dialogic theory: An interpretive qualitative study of publicly listed companies in South Africa’“Academia holds a beckoning few others can relate to,” she says. “Knowledge and the inquisitive exploration thereof excite me; ever since I can remember, I have wanted to do nothing but gain knowledge to share with others. I hope to further my academic career, to become a well-rounded academic and perhaps one day an esteemed scholar in my field. However, for now, it is an honour and a privilege to be afforded the opportunity to impart knowledge to my students and hopefully inspire them.”

Information Specialist in the Department of Library Services Clara Ngobeni received her Master of Philosophy in Tourism Management. “I have been thinking about enrolling for a PhD, and this will help to expand my research skills and, in the process, help me contribute to the creation of knowledge. Hopefully, I will be able to acquire a PhD before retiring.”

Dr Eduard Toerien, a lecturer in financial management, graduated with a PhD in Financial Management Sciences. “I am ecstatic to have obtained my PhD and very happy to have finished this long process,” he says. “My research focuses on corporate risk management and the use of financial derivatives by companies. My PhD examined what influences companies to use derivatives and what the effect of the use of derivatives for corporate hedging has on firm value. Some of my biggest challenges were finding the balance between my teaching commitments as a lecturer and finding the time for research, as well as managing my time effectively to complete my thesis on time.”



- Author Xolani Mathibela

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