Research 2002

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Faculty of Humanities

Prof ME Muller, Dean

Telephone number: 012 420 2318
Fax number: 012 420 4501
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Preface by the Dean

During 2002 the emphasis in the Faculty of Humanities on the rationalization of the undergraduate offering in particular, the extension of postgraduate teaching, comprehensive quality improvement and control, the development of the research culture, and the facilitation and encouragement of research and research output continued.

The Faculty’s Research Committee intensified its initiatives aimed at stimulating research activity in the Faculty as well as the delivery of subsidised research output. Particular emphasis was put on international exchange programmes, bringing excellent academics from abroad to lecture and do research in the Faculty, the encouragement of a variety of faculty and departmental seminars and international and national conference participation. Various departments and centers organized and/or played a leading role in international subject conferences. In addition, publications that emanate from postgraduate study are actively encouraged and supported and attention given to the development of young researchers. More established researchers are beginning to publish with their students and other young researchers in an effort to encourage and give impetus to young researchers. The teaching of research methodology from undergraduate level remains firmly in place in the Faculty.

Publication in a wider variety of particularly internationally recognized specialist journals is encouraged for all, but in particular for more established researchers. In addition, some departments have been actively supporting scientific publication in South Africa by taking on editorial responsibilities and looking into possibilities for electronic publication. In addition, the Faculty is particularly proud of its researchers who managed to produce books during the past year.

An earlier initiative to determine criteria for recognising creative output pertaining to inter alia arts and literature, and to improve output in the field of creative writing, was taken further. The Faculty places equal emphasis on basic and applied and socially relevant research. Though research is increasingly undertaken in a coordinated fashion and some group research is beginning to take place, a high premium is still placed on individual research. More research is, however, taking place in conjunction with overseas partners.

The Faculty succeeded in enhancing its research output considerably for the second year running. This applies to its subsidized research output, but also to other categories of research output. A number of researchers received awards and recognition as excellent researchers and were elected or re-elected as members of professional associations and boards. More internal and external funding for research projects for staff and post-graduate students is beginning to flow into the Faculty.

There are a number of nodes of excellence in research in the Faculty. One of these is in the Department of African Languages, a leader in the building of electronic machine-readable (text) corpora for all the official South African languages. Building electronic corpora for especially the African languages represents pioneering work in this field.

The Faculty has attempted, in various ways, to deal with changes to the accreditation system for professional journals and has seen its first group of researchers rated by the National Research Foundation in the first round of rating for social/ human scientists. Research and research output remain one of the strategic focus areas of the Faculty for the coming year.


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