Given the current global health emergency, the need to innovate within higher education is more pertinent than ever. Universities across the world are demonstrating agility and openness to change as they adapt to new ways of teaching and learning. Midlands State University (MSU) seeks to do justice to the goals and aspirations of students and staff, even in times of such crisis to ensure their safety and wellness. Responding to the educational disruption due to COVID–19, the Midlands State University’s Research and Postgraduate Studies Office has conducted a virtual orientation programme for the new Masters and Doctor of Philosophy students.
The orientation programme was spearheaded by the Executive Dean of Research and Postgraduate Studies, Professor Laurine Chikoko, who welcomed students to the University and gave them guidelines on what is expected of postgraduate students. Prof. Chikoko also assured students that they will be assisted every step of the way. ‘‘We are interested in the successful completion of studies by our postgraduate students’’, she said. To achieve that, Prof. Chikoko highlighted that there will be a series of research capacity development workshops which are mandatory for postgraduate students.
Dr Upenyu Guyo, the Deputy Dean of Research and Postgraduate Studies was among those who participated in the virtual programme. In his presentation, Dr Guyo emphasised the importance of supervision and the roles of students and supervisors during the research tenure. Candidates are allocated supervisors and these can be from MSU or any other recognised institution of higher learning. ‘‘Supervision is meant to assist the supervisees to develop scientific thinking and identity as a researcher, and integrate the supervisee into national and international research communities”, he said.
Students who took part in the orientation programme, which marked the commencement of their research journey had an opportunity to ask questions related to various aspects of their studies and University processes such as registration, accessing e-resources and deferment of studies.