New humanities students encouraged to explore all the opportunities available in their first year at Wits, as there won’t be a similar chance.

Dean of Humanities, Professor Garth Stevens, has encouraged first-year students to “be creative and stretch your minds with new ideas” by exploring research centres such as the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER) and the Society, Work and Politics Institute (SWOP) which form part of the faculty.

He told the new Witsies that these units do research, outreach or cutting-edge work and offer vibrant programmes every week.

“We are trying to build an intellectual climate that is stimulating, vibrant and attracts you, that stimulates you and generates a kind of critical thinking amongst a cohort of young people that will lead to the future.

“The humanities is a place for the development of robust thinking. Wits is a powerhouse of intellectual and academic activity but we’ve had our fair share of social protests and, of course, those critical thinkers, generally come from here,” Prof Stevens said.

The dean told the first-years that the faculty encourages critical and independent thinking, but, “We encourage you to do that all in a respectful way that tolerates the diversity of views. We all do not come from the same historical place.”

The Dean of Student Affairs, Jerome September, told the students that the humanities faculty is important in understanding the human race. “It is here where we understand human relations and how society works, and it is here in the arts where we have an opportunity to find true expression.

“My job is to make sure each one of you is supported,” he said, and encouraged the students to get involved in clubs and societies. He added that students should never doubt their place at Wits. “You belong here.”

FEATURED IMAGE: Professor Garth Stevens, Dean of Humanities addresses the first-year students. Photo: Lwazi Maseko