Professor Derrick Armstrong at the Forum.
A successful Postgraduate Research Forum was held at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Japan-Pacific ICT Centre at the Laucala Campus on 16 March, 2017.
Professor Derrick Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovationn and International said it was a great opportunity to bring the research student community and supervisors together.
Postgraduate Research students at the Forum.
“This forum is an opportunity for research students to raise concerns, ask questions, engage, bring issues to light or share things you want to be improved or enhanced to support the successful completion of your studies,” Professor Armstrong said.
Professor Armstrong stated that research students add so much to the research culture of the University.
“In fact for supervisors, the best part of working in a University is having research students because they stimulate you and collaborate with you and sometimes push you to the end of your discipline and your own thinking as a supervisor,” he stated.
Sometimes the whole experience of working in a university as an academic can be overwhelming because of teaching and administration matters, but research students are a breath of fresh air, he explained.
“Research students are a precious commodity for supervisors and critically important for the University as a whole. They are at the cutting edge of research activity, and collaborations which follow on from that.
“Without research students there would be no research culture. Research students are bright people and future leaders in our society and to be able to work again with people like you is very stimulating,” he noted.
He also commended the work of supervisors.
Professor Armstrong paid tribute to the contribution of the Associate Deans for their continuous support to enhance student experience, saying it is a “massively important role”.
“The Associate Deans have a strong commitment to postgraduate studies and postgraduate research,” he noted.
On the work of the Research Office at USP, Professor Armstrong said they try to provide constant support for research students to enhance the quality of student experience and to improve completion rates.
“We have been active in working on the Programme Regulations, Postgraduate Supervision Guidelines and Policy, Postgraduate Research Handbook, Postgraduate Portal which is expected to go live shortly and a Directory of Experts, where academic staff list their areas of expertise. This will help students identify potential supervisors,” he added.
Professor Armstrong said it is fundamental to have an active culture of research where research students are seen as collaborators, innovators, creators and knowledge producers.
The USP Library was also lauded for its immense contribution to research students for the provision of important resources crucial to student’s research.
Ms Shaiza Janif, Research Student Coordinator said the roles of the Research Office include Research Policy Development, Research Promotion and Incentives, Research Funding, Research Performance Monitoring, Research Training and Postgraduate Research Support.
Faculty presentations were done by Dr Morgan Wairiu, Deputy Director at Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development, Dr Frances Vakauta, Associate Dean at the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education; Dr Gurmeet Singh, Associate Dean Faculty of Business and Economics and Professor Sushil Kumar, Associate Dean Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment.
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