College of Humanities welcomes New Dean

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The College of Humanities has welcomed its new Dean of the School of Applied Human Sciences Professor Matshepo Matoane, who brings a wealth of experience in the higher education sector, specifically in distance education.

Before joining the University, Matoane spent 25 years at the University of South Africa (UNISA). Starting as a junior lecturer in the Department of Psychology, she worked her way up the ranks, becoming an Associate Professor of Psychology and ultimately, a member of the management team at Unisa, as a Director in the Directorate: Instructional Support and Services.

‘I feel truly honoured and humbled to be joining the management team of UKZN. The University holds a special place in my heart, especially because my last close encounter with it dates back to the early 1990s when I was studying towards a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. This is a special form of scholarship of engagement – to have the opportunity to reinvest years of experience (in both the professional practice and teaching of Psychology) into leading the School of Applied Human Sciences.’

DVC and Head of the College of Humanities Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize added, ‘A very warm welcome to Professor Matoane. We look forward to her leadership and she has our full support.’

Matoane’s contribution to the discipline of Psychology includes being appointed a member of the Standards Generating Body of Psychology by SAQA, and serving as Head of the Department of Psychology at Unisa, and as a Council member of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), the highest decision-making body and regulatory structure of the health professions in the country. She served on the Health Committee of the HPCSA, which is responsible for supporting health care professionals in need of medical or psychological support.

Having spearheaded instructional support programmes such as professional development of staff and student support in her previous career at Unisa, she has a sound understanding of the factors that influence student success. She led the implementation of a successful, one of its kind online tutorial programme at Unisa.

Matoane’s other key institutional contributions include leading University Capacity Development [DHET funded] projects on student support, including involvement with the First Year Experience project. Joining UKZN during the COVID-19 pandemic affords her the opportunity to strengthen the School’s teaching and learning practices, especially within an online context.

‘My vision is to strengthen the already excellent scholarship of the School of Applied Human Sciences, with special emphasis on the local context while remaining globally relevant,’ she said. ‘Transformation remains at the heart of addressing our local challenges and there is a need to establish strong development programmes within the School that will enable staff members from the designated groups, who are concentrated at junior levels, to climb the academic ladder.’

In addition to her Master’s in Clinical Psychology from UKZN, Matoane completed an Honours degree in Psychology from the then Medical University of South Africa, cum laude, as well as a Doctor of Literature and Philosophy at Unisa. She has presented numerous papers at national and international conferences and authored articles and book chapters in the field of indigenous psychology and instructional support.

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