By Sihle Jack
There’s a rumour that’s been circulating the Rhodes Psychology Department that whispers that the quality of Organisational Psychology (OrgPsych) offered at Rhodes University is “watered down”. An OrgPsych major myself, I’ve listened in panic as the rumour promises that every other university in the country offers a better standard of the subject than Rhodes does, and that most other places will not accept a Rhodes graduate to do a post-graduate diploma because of this difference in standard.
Alwyn Moerdyk, a lecturer in the department was quick to dismiss these rumours as untrue. “I personally don’t think there is any truth in this story whatsoever. We have recently been told by a senior Org Psych person at Wits that our students who are accepted into their Honours programme are very good and do well,” said Moerdyk.
However, I am not the only student who still wonders whether this rumour has actually got some truth to it, and whether I’m wasting my time doing OrgPsych here at Rhodes. Ongezwa Maselwa a second year Organisational Psychology major student said she was unimpressed when she heard this rumour, and is still very uneasy about the situation. “I really enjoy org psych and for me to hear that the department only take a handful of students into honours and on top of that other universities do not accept Rhodes students was really distressing,” she said.
Moerdyk said that the department gets hundreds of applications into postgraduate psychology and they only accept about 75 students for the honours programme. Of that 75 only 12 to 15 are Organisational Psychology students. He says the reason for this is that the department has very few staff, and they want the staff to be hand-on when supervising honours students’ research projects.
Khayakazi Maphetshana, a third year Organisational Psychology student, said that when she heard students discuss the issue she did not listen to the rumour because it had not been said by any department official.
“Our degree structure is a little different because in many other universities there is a separate organizational or industrial course at first year level. However, I think our course is better for this as students have a broad view of the subject area than is the case in many other universities,” said Moerdyk. He also went on to say that, “every year, when planning for the following year, we examine the content of our courses in relation to those offered by other universities. We have recently changed our course structure to bring them into closer line with major institutions such as Unisa.”
When asked about what the students who cannot get into the class can do after finishing third year Organisational Psychology, Moerdyk said that there were various options available for them. Those options included and were not limited to: applying at other universities, getting a job of some kind, doing a teaching diploma, and perhaps doing various diplomas in Industrial Relations training and development, and Human Resources (HR) at places like Damelin.
While the rumour is still on the ground, Moerdyk ensures students that they are at an advantage because at Rhodes they get a, “far broader humanities-orientated flavour rather than a more business and technicist orientation.”
This has made me feel a lot better about doing OrgPsych at Rhodes, and I’m hoping that the rumour will continue to be shown as unfounded by the people who graduate here and go on to do amazing things.