UKZN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING TEAM RACES IN SOLAR CHALLENGE

UKZN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING TEAM RACES IN SOLAR CHALLENGE

A group of mechanical engineering students and two academics at UKZN’s School of Engineering have built a vehicle for the SASOL Solar Challenge.

Team members, particularly excited as this is UKZN’s first entry in the event, are prepared for serious competition and some tough conditions as their car has to travel 5400km, across some of South Africa’s most demanding terrain.

The Challenge is currently underway, with the route passing through several major South African cities.

The team comprises two lecturers, Clinton Bemont and Kirsty Veale, and students Mohammed Mahomedy, Mitchell Meyer, Charles Raaff, Cameron McKenzie, Jason Canny, Adhikar Hariram, Ndivho Mmbengwa and Bongane Sandlane.

UKZN’s Apalis solar car was conceived as a final year design project in the School of Engineering under the Solar Energy Research Group (SERG) by lecturers Bemont and Veale. The car has a lightweight carbon fibre body and chassis supported by an aluminium and chromoly sub-chassis. It is powered by 6m² of state of the art silicon solar cells, charging a bank of 464 lithium-ion batteries, which drive a high efficiency electric motor.

Bemont and Veale said that they ‘would like the success of this project to create future opportunities for undergraduate and Masters students to continue the research into renewable energy methods and electric vehicles.

‘The project has been great fun and an amasing opportunity for young engineers. Our goal for this year's race is to successfully complete the 5400km course and then over the next two years refine the car for the 2014 race. It would also be great to be able to take part in the World Solar Challenge next year with a new group of students willing to work hard and learn,’ they said.

The project has attracted significant interest and sponsorship from industry. The major sponsors for UKZN’s entry in the race are the UKZN's School of Engineering, the Technology and Innovation Agency and Unilever. Other significant sponsors are Chemspec, Gochermann Solar Technology, Krank and Perry Yamaha.


author email : nathooa@ukzn.ac.za

DISCOVERY OF NEW SPECIES OF BATS

DISCOVERY OF NEW SPECIES OF BATS

The scientific community is going batty! Four new species of horseshoe bats have been discovered in east and southern Africa, after scientists pieced together clues such as DNA data and the most intense frequency of sonar calls of each of these flying mammals. 

The investigation was led by a team of bat experts which included Dr Corrie Schoeman of UKZN’s School of Life Sciences.    Lead author of the study was evolutionary geneticist Professor Peter Taylor of the University of Venda (South Africa).

Other team members were Dr Samantha Stoffberg of Stellenbosch University, Professor Ara Monadjem of the University of Swaziland, Dr Julian Bayliss of the Conservation Science Group at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) and the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust in Malawi, and Dr Woody Cotterill of Stellenbosch University and the Africa Earth Observatory Network (AEON).

The new species are Cohen’s Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus cohenae), Smithers’ Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus smithersi), the Mozambican Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus mossambicus) and the Mount Mabu Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus mabuensis).

Two of the species were named in honour of dedicated Southern African conservationists – Ms Lientjie Cohen, a scientist of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency in South Africa, and the late Dr Reay Smithers of Zimbabwe, author of Southern Africa’s most comprehensive mammal anthology.

The third species was named in honour of Mount Mabu, the largest rainforest in southern Africa, which is under threat and where the bats reside. The fourth new species is found only in Mozambique.

The discoveries are described in the latest edition of the open source journal PLOS ONE and can be downloaded freely from http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0041744

It was previously thought there was only one type of large horseshoe bat, Hildebrandt’s Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hildebrandtii), which is found throughout east Africa and the tropical habitats of Zimbabwe and the Mpumalanga province in South Africa.

‘We now know that five distinct species of large horseshoe bats occur in central and eastern Africa,’ said Taylor. ‘We also know that Hildebrandt’s Horseshoe Bat, the species initially known to science, only occurs in east Africa.’

The researchers compared key characteristics of the bats, including sonar calls, their skull shape, genitalia, and crucially divergence in DNA sequences to diagnose and classify the new species.


author email : frosts@ukzn.ac.za

ccrri STAFF MEMBER WINS HIGHWAY AFRICA NEW MEDIA AWARD

ccrri STAFF MEMBER WINS HIGHWAY AFRICA NEW MEDIA AWARD

Mr Niall McNulty, Resource Officer for UKZN’s Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity (ccrri), was part of a team which won the runner-up prize in the Innovative Use of Technology for Community Engagement category at the recent Telkom-Highway Africa New Media Awards.

These unique and prestigious awards were hosted by the 16th Highway Africa Conference which took place at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. Aimed at rewarding innovative use of Information Communication technologies (ICTs) in journalism which serve Africa and its citizens, the awards were pioneered to highlight the role ICTs play to enhance journalism and the media, and in the process, to uplift communities.

McNulty was recognised for his work with the Umlazi Programme, an innovative initiative of the eThekwini Municipality which uses Web 2.0 technology, the local community and the public library infrastructure to collect and disseminate indigenous knowledge.

This is achieved by training citizen journalists in digital media production and oral history skills, who then return to their communities and collect stories, which are entered onto the Community Memory website (developed as a wiki) through computers at any of the municipality’s 90 public libraries.

According to McNulty, the project has been in operation for four years and has made a real difference to the community it serves, through the preservation and dissemination of culturally-specific local knowledge and the development of useful and transferable ICT skills.

Local knowledge and ways of doing things in Africa have historically been transmitted orally from one generation to the next. In South Africa, various factors such as urban migration and the AIDS pandemic in younger generations have contributed to a disruption of these chains of cultural transmission.

‘Digital technologies, in particular, mobile phones, offer some ways in which this information can be recorded and circulated. These technologies can facilitate the preservation and dissemination of local knowledge through audio recordings, photographs and articles. The technology allows for multiple contributions from a variety of perspectives - male, female, young and old,’ said McNulty.

A focus of the project is to record the knowledge of the older generation and make it available to the younger generation. This includes the history of local areas, details of traditional practices and ceremonies, and the ways in which things were done in the past.

‘The project has been a great success, receiving up to a thousand visitors a day. Most of these visitors are interested in Zulu-language content (the local vernacular) and information on traditional ceremonies and practices - such as umemelo, a traditional 21st birthday celebration for girls - which suggests a need for local content online,’ said McNulty.


author email : crookesv@ukzn.ac.za

RESEARCH EXCELLENCE AT COLLEGE OF HEALTH SCIENCES’ ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM

RESEARCH EXCELLENCE AT COLLEGE OF HEALTH SCIENCES’ ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM

The College of Health Sciences (CHS) showcased research excellence by its broad-based disciplines when selected oral and poster presentations were presented at the annual Research Symposium at the Graduate School of Business.

A forum for undergraduate and postgraduate research output in the College, the symposium united a critical mass of novice and seasoned researchers along with CHS leadership whose work reiterated the College’s mission: ‘…to prepare graduates who are excellent scholars, who function holistically, ethically and in a socially responsive manner within the African health care environment while actively engaging in international collaboration and partnerships for education, research and service’.

Professor Rob Slotow, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of College, said the symposium was an important activity in the life of the College, emphasising the critical role research played in developments in healthcare provision.

Slotow said he was pleased to announce the post of College Dean for Research had been filled by the former Deputy Director of the Okavango Research Institute at the University of Botswana, Professor Moses John Chimbari.

An eminent and prolific researcher, Slotow's work focuses on strategies for the management of ecologically and economically important large mammals such as lion, elephant and rhino as well as processes influencing biodiversity and conservation management.

Slotow’s presentation on stress physiology in elephants was titled: “Managing elephants:  do we really know what we are doing, and why?”

Results of clinical and community-based research conducted on HIV and TB co-infection, and on the various stains of TB, its management and treatment were presented at the symposium.

Mr Natsayi Chimbindi, an epidemiologist based at the Africa Centre for Population and Health Studies, said understanding factors influencing optimum healthcare utilisation in TB patients was essential in providing comprehensive healthcare services, including HIV testing, and also critical for ensuring timely HIV treatment initiation and optimum TB care.

A study conducted by the Centre examined patient-reported barriers associated with healthcare utilisation in TB patients, including HIV testing offer uptake, in a devolved to primary care rural programme in Hlabisa in KwaZulu-Natal.

In some cases they found patients spent an average of two hours travelling to and from the clinic ‘most of them travelling by public transport or walking’.

The study lobbied for the provision of subsidised transport to and from clinics which provide integrated TB and HIV care.  Researchers said the World Health Organization-recommended tuberculosis control strategy, DOTS (directly observed treatment), needed some improvement to minimise utilisation barriers that patients were currently facing.

A study presented by young researcher, Ms Salona Moodley, focused on the tolerance of mycobacterium TB for drugs with potential use for the treatment of extremely drug resistant TB (XDR-TB).

Moodley said the emergence of XDR-TB in KwaZulu-Natal led to limited treatment options and this sparked renewed interest in the development of new drugs and evaluation of previously used anti-TB drugs, particularly capreomycin.

Although a novel observation on multidrug resistant and XDR-TB isolates, Moodley said the study needed further investigation as drug tolerance could thus be related to the poor survival rate of XDR-TB patients in the province.

Mr Yoshan Moodley of the Discipline of Anaesthetics’ perioperative research group, presented a study titled: “Clinical Predictors of Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events Following Vascular Surgery”.

The study, aimed at identifying predictors of major adverse cardiac events (MACE) in a cohort of South African vascular surgery patients, concluded that preoperative diagnosis and optimisation of ischaemic heart disease in vascular surgery patients could reduce risk of perioperative cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Confronting an area of study which she said many people steered away from, Ms Jessica Pakin, a PhD candidate in the Discipline of Audiology, presented her masters research investigating hearing loss as a resulting of drug therapy. She said: ‘Even though people may not show neurological problems immediately, there may already be neurological changes taking place, and research in this area is critical.

In a study conducted by a researcher and lecturer in the Sport Science discipline, Dr Terry Ellapen, staff members who spend most of their time working on desktop computers were alerted to poor ergonomic work posture that resulted in a high prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal, lower back, shoulder and neck pain 

Ellapen said technological advancements may revolutionise office work, making tasks easier, however ‘they pose new problems of a different nature’.

Professor Fanie Botha, Director for CHS Professional Services, said the research symposium was an ideal forum to showcase research in the College and it created the right environment for informal discussion on new ideas and the formation of research collaboration initiatives.

‘For many young researchers it may be their first opportunity to present research findings at an academic/scientific meeting.’

Other academics said they were impressed by the quality of work they had seen and said the symposium shed light on potential interdisciplinary collaboration for certain research areas.


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

EDGEWOOD RESEARCH COMMONS OFFICIALLY OPENED

EDGEWOOD RESEARCH COMMONS OFFICIALLY OPENED

UKZN staff and students descended on the Edgewood campus recently to witness the official opening of the Research Commons - a state of the art facility designed to serve masters and doctoral students as well as academics and researchers.

The Research Commons is a large, dedicated space with physical resources including 30 thin-client computer workstations, running up-to-date software such as word processors, bibliographic software, browsers, and e-mail clients.  The facility also provides access to extensive online resources, wireless connections, an electronic classroom, a conference room, printing and scanning equipment, and areas for discussion and relaxation. 

Access is gained through a swipe card and the area will be monitored by closed circuit cameras.

The project was headed by the former Deputy Dean of Postgraduate Studies in the School of Education, Professor Deevia Bhana, with funding provided by the School.

Officially opening the Commons, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for the College of Humanities, Professor Joseph Ayee, said the School of Education had the highest enrolment of postgraduate students.  ‘The Research Commons will help train young researchers as well as nurture the culture of research and research outputs.’

Dean and Head of the School of Education, Professor Gregory Kamwendo, said the facility would ensure staff and students were able to finish their theses on time hopefully leading to more proposals, project grants and postgraduate initiatives being developed.

According to campus librarian, Ms Roshini Pather, the Research Commons will be staffed by a dedicated IT specialist and specially-trained librarians, offering services which directly support research endeavours.

‘The Commons is not only about supporting research but also about showcasing research done at UKZN. The title page of the theses and dissertations of recently graduated Masters and Doctoral students in the School of Education are displayed in the different spaces in the Commons,’ said Pather.

‘There’s still some way to go before realising the full vision of the Commons.  More conference room furniture and technology will be added to the space this month. The ICS will later install an AV system in the electronic classroom and conference room that will allow for technology-enhanced presentations and workshops.’The Commons is located adjacent to the Edminson Library with operating hours similar to those of the Library.


author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

ABAFUNDI BABE YINGXENYE YESIFUNDO SOCWANINGO SAPHESHEYA

ABAFUNDI BABE YINGXENYE YESIFUNDO SOCWANINGO SAPHESHEYA

Abafundi abathathu abaneziqu abenza izifundo eziphakeme abavela esikoleni sakwaBuilt Environment and Development baqede isifundo socwaningo esithathe inyanga yonke eNyuvesi yaseMichigan eUnited States.

Ongusihlalo socwaningo kwa-Economic Development yakwaNRF, uSolwazi Dori Posel, uxhase loluhlelo kusukela ngo2009 kubafundi beDevelopment Studies ne Population Studies ukuthi bathamele loluhlelo olubizwa ngeSummer Institute Research Techniques eNyuvesi yaseMichigan.

‘Loluhlelo luhlanganisa abafundi abaneziqu abenza izifundo eziphakeme emikhakheni eyahlukene abavela emhlabeni wonke. Inhloso yokuyisa abafundi kuloluhlelo ukuba bayofunda kabanzi ngezindlela zokuqoqa ucwaningo nokuthi zibe sezingeni lwamanye amazwe, befundiswa ongoti lulomkhakha,’ kusho uPosel.

Abafundi, uNksz Gail Robinson, Mnu Ndumiso Ngidi noNksz Thembalethu Shangase bathe bayabonga kuPosel, ongumhleli wabo wocwaningo, ngokubanikeza imali yokuba bakwazi ukuya kuloluhlelo.

‘Simangele kakhulu ukuthi abanye abafundi basebenza kanzima kanjani enyuvesi. Wonke umuntu uzimisele futhi bayasisebenzisa sonke isikhathi sabo,’ kusho uRobinson.

‘Besingekho isikhathi sokudlala ngoba besinomsebenzi omningi kakhulu, ukufunda nemisebenzi ebekufanele siyihambise. Ngikujabulele kakhulu ukuthi sitshelwe ngokuthi umsebenzi wethu unjani ngalesosikhathi okusenze sazizwa ukuthi bayasikhulisa kanye namakhono ethu.’

Ngaphandle kwamakilasi anzulu nemisebenzi eminingi, abafundi bakwazile ukuthola isikhathi sokuyobuka indawo kubalwa nokuvakashela eNew York ukuyoguba usuku lokuzalwa lukaShangase.

‘Bekunguhambo oluhle kakhulu. Ngiyawathanda ama - quantitative methods nama statistics. Loluhlelo selungifake umfutho wokucwaninga kabanzi, lungisize kakhulu,’ kusho uNgidi.

Click here for English version


author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

CREATING STATISTICALLY LITERATE EDUCATORS

CREATING STATISTICALLY LITERATE EDUCATORS

More than 450 teachers graduated from the Maths4Stats Programme run by UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science this year. 

Maths4Stats is an innovative programme to help primary and high school Mathematics teachers engage with basic statistics as it appears in the data handling component of the school syllabus. The Programme is a joint initiative of UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, the Department of Education (DoE) and Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

The lecture series forms part of ISIBALO, a capacity building initiative conceived as an International Statistical Institute (ISI) legacy project in 2010. The University provided lecturers, lecture venues and course notes; the DoE selected teachers to participate in the training, and Stats SA provided co-ordination, funding and logistical support.

Teachers travelled from all over KwaZulu-Natal to attend the lecture series held from May to September on both the Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses. ‘We had teachers from as far away as Nongoma, Richards Bay and Dundee,’ said Academic Leader for Statistics and originator of the project, Professor Delia North. 

Educators who attended all the lectures in the series were awarded attendance certificates and were given a bulging goody bag of useful items to take back to the classroom, including a Casio calculator, sponsored by Stats SA. For the first time this year, educators were also given the chance of being formally assessed on the data handling they learned in the lecture series.  Of those who took up the challenge (it was voluntary to opt for assessment), more than 90 percent achieved over 60 percent in the test and were consequently awarded special certificates for their efforts as well as a lazer pointer for use in the class room.

The awards ceremony was conducted by the Stats SA Provincial Co-ordinator, Mr Lusanda Mkwenkweni, who was in charge of all logistics for the lecture series over the 10 weeks that the programme ran. Certificates were presented by representatives from the three participating institutions, including the Dean and Head of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science at UKZN, Professor Kesh Govinder; Statistician-General of South Africa and Head of Stats SA, Mr Pali Lehohla, and the Senior General Manager of Curriculum Management and Delivery from the Department of Education, Mr Edward Mosuwe.

Teachers were united in their praise for the lessons they received from staff in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science.  Staff were equally complimentary of ‘their fellow passionate educators’. 

‘You are the people who will lay the foundation for statistically literate school leavers,’ said North. ‘The children in your schools are very fortunate to have people like you to educate them.’

Maths4Stats is an on-going annual collaborative project between UKZN, Statistics South Africa and the Department of Education, with strong support from the Institute of Applied Statistics, Casio and SAS Computer Software. 

The 2012 programme ended with a series of three seminars presented to teachers prior to the awards ceremony. Teachers were shown how to apply the data handling skills that they had acquired over the weeks.

General Manager of Corporate Affairs from SAS, Mr Murray de Villiers, presented a talk on free SAS software for teachers and learners; Mr Ravi Naidoo of Stats SA presented a workshop on the census@school initiative, and Casio’s Ms Lauren Izaacs demonstrated the effective use of a calculator in a mathematics classroom environment.

‘We will be back even bigger next year,’ promised North!

* For information about the 2013 Maths4stats lecture series contact Professor Delia North at northd@ukzn.ac.za or Mr Lusanda Mkwenikweni at Lusandamk@statssa.gov.za


author email : frosts@ukzn.ac.za

FUNDAMENTALS OF NEUROSCIENCE EXPLAINED AT TEACHING TOOLS WORKSHOP

FUNDAMENTALS OF NEUROSCIENCE EXPLAINED AT TEACHING TOOLS WORKSHOP

The 5th annual Neuroscience Teaching Tools Workshop at UKZN brought together international researchers and young African academics involved in neuroscience, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and related disciplines.

Sponsored by the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences organised the event which was aimed at developing teaching modules on several specific topics.

The workshop was attended by the Dean and Head of School, Professor William Daniels, with proceedings being opened by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for UKZN’s Teaching and Leaning Office, Professor Renuka Vithal.

Targeting postgraduate students, the workshop covered themes including the basics of neurons and glial cells, receptors, the organisation of sensory pathways and functions, nerve conduction, action potentials, organisation of higher centres mediating sensations, plus other related topics. Strategies for enhancing students’ comprehension and retention of these topics were included.

In his address, the academic leader for research in the School, Dr Musa Mabandla, said South Africa’s shortage of experts in neurosciences was the main reason why the country’s neurological disorders often went undiagnosed.

Mabandla described neuroscience as a study of the human nervous system, the brain, and the biological basis of consciousness, perception and memory. He said Alzheimer's disease, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, alcoholism, dementia, Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia were among the most common neurological disorders in South Africa.

It was important to accept and understand these disorders as society often feared they were contagious. However, unless hereditary, neurological disorders could also be due to viral or parasitic infection.

Mabandla said the School trained graduates for understanding through various research and outreach endeavours. ‘It is important for undergraduates to fall in love with neuroscience.’

‘The workshop taught me new ways of teaching students to think critically and to think innovation,’ said Mr Lihle Qulu, a Masters candidate at UKZN whose study focused on febrile seizures – convulsions triggered by a fever that occurs most often in otherwise healthy children aged between nine months and five years.

Dr Ludo Badlangana, a young scientist from the University of Botswana’s School of Medicine, said the workshop was exactly what she needed to become better a teacher of neuroscience.

‘No other machine can mimic the brain and its efficiency. The workshop was a great platform for networking and forming collaborations. It’s inspiring to see what colleagues are doing.’

Participants heard a stimulating presentation by Dr Sharon Juliano, a Professor of Anatomy, Physiology, Genetics and Neuroscience at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in the United States.

‘It’s exciting to see how engaged the students have been throughout the duration of the workshop,’ said Juliano, founder of the International Teaching Tools Workshop.

Passionate about teaching the subject, she said neuroscience education was often seen as something challenging and complex to understand thus it was necessary to introduce an appropriate set of neuroscience teaching tools to assist the generation attending the workshop.

Professor Raj Kalaria, Deputy Director of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Brain Ageing and Vitality at Newcastle General Hospital in the United Kingdom, said South Africa made a huge contribution to the reputation of neuroscience and he hoped the workshop participants would realise that in academia teaching alone was not enough as ‘research and public service are equally important’.

Kalaria said the brain was one of the largest organs in the human body - ‘You either use it or lose it!’


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

LECTURE BY AUSTRALIAN SEXUAL HEALTH MEDICINE EXPERT

LECTURE BY AUSTRALIAN SEXUAL HEALTH MEDICINE EXPERT

A sexual health medicine specialist from the University of Sydney in Australia, Professor Adrian Mindel, recently presented a guest lecture at UKZN titled: “Herpes – hope or hype”.

Mindel, who was hosted by CAPRISA, has been involved in teaching and researching sexual health for more than 30 years.  His main areas of expertise include the epidemiology, diagnosis and management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) - more specifically genital herpes (HSV2) and human papillomavirus infection (HPV) - and the interaction between HIV and STIs.

He has also written or co-authored more than 120 peer-reviewed manuscripts and recently authored a chapter in a CDC publication discussing a case study on Australia’s public health response to HIV.

Mindel said although population based data on the prevalence of herpes was limited, several studies had been conducted among selected high-risk groups (HSV-2). ‘Comparing available data from Australia and South Africa, studies demonstrated that in Australia HIV +ve men who have sex with men were predominantly affected by the HSV-2 epidemic whereas in South Africa sexually active women, commercial sex workers and HIV positive men were most likely to have been exposed to HSV-2. HSV-2 is also associated with a doubling in the risk of HIV acquisition,’ said Mindel.

Other risk factors included a high number of sexual partners, a history of other sexually transmitted diseases and sexual debut at a young age.  Inconsistent use of condoms also posed a risk, although they only provided 30 percent protection even if used in 100 percent of sexual encounters.

‘Among the challenges of identifying and treating HSV are the limitations of current blood tests.  A positive test indicates previous exposure to the virus, but the patient would not necessarily be infectious at the actual moment of the test.  Nor would a positive test imply that a particular clinical sign or symptom is due to herpes.

‘Most herpes transmission occurs from subclinical viral shedding from lesions and from intact skin and mucous membranes.  Shedding can occur in short bursts or over longer periods with or without symptoms,’ said Mindel.

‘HSV is treated with antiviral drugs (acyclovir, valaciclovir, famciclovir, or helicase-primase inhibitors). Control and management of herpes is supported by education, counselling, abstinence, or no sexual intercourse during HSV recurrences.  Condoms and male circumcision also provide partial protection. Whilst there is still hope for an HSV vaccine, clinical trials to date have not yielded significant results.’

Mindel’s presentation concluded with suggestions for possible research studies in South Africa - where data was currently lacking - on HSV in pregnancy, population based sero-epidemiology and the use of prophylactic HSV treatment to reduce HIV susceptibility.


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

MBA GIVES STUDENT A CAREER BOOST

MBA GIVES STUDENT A CAREER BOOST

Second year Masters of Business Administration student Mr Praneel Nundkumar attributes his recent appointment as Chief Operations and Financial Officer at the Durban Chamber of Commerce Industry to the vast practical business knowledge gained from his MBA studies at UKZN.

While his honours degree in accounting and passion for business and entrepreneurship have  paved a successful career path for Nundkumar,  research into the benefits of postgraduate studies offered by the College of Law and Management Studies convinced him to pursue his MBA studies with the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L).

Nundkumar is now reaping the benefits of possessing skills which have enabled him to become a well-rounded practitioner with a competitive edge over his peers.

‘This position is a high level one and the MBA has really groomed me to be able to positively contribute in all aspects of business management. I will be in charge of the operational side of the Chamber, including marketing, HR and IT while the CFO aspect of my role will require me to take a firm grasp of the finances of the Chamber and make decisions to ensure the continued sustainability of the organisation,’ said Nundkumar.

Nundkumar encourages students to consider embarking on postgraduate studies after completing their degrees and look at pursuing interdisciplinary qualifications to make them specialists in their fields.

‘To me, an MBA complements the CA qualification very well and adds a very solid credential to my CV which makes it difficult for anyone interviewing me to turn me away. Every student should think about ways of making themselves indispensable in their career fields,’ said Nundkumar.

Commerce in Leadership Studies masters alumnus and Chief Executive Officer of the Durban Chamber of Commerce, Mr Andrew Layman, said Nundkumar had a significant strategic role to play in the progress of the Chamber as it sought to update its systems and practices.

In an effort to improve postgraduate enrolments at the College of Law and Management Studies, the GSB&L will host an MBA Open Evening. For more information on this event visit: http://gsbl.ukzn.ac.za


author email : jumo@ukzn.ac.za

RAISING AWARENESS ON HEARING LOSS AND DEAFNESS

RAISING AWARENESS ON HEARING LOSS AND DEAFNESS

An energetic group of final-year Audiology students conducted a campaign on the Westville campus to coincide with Deaf Awareness Week.

The students - whose activities were commended by Dean and Head of the School of Health Sciences Professor Sabiha Essack - engaged the University community with fun-filled activities aimed at educating participants about hearing loss including its causes and treatment. Screening services were offered to test the hearing levels of students.

Mr Zandile Blose, Project Facilitator and Clinical Tutor in the Discipline, said: ‘Audiology is the study of the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of hearing and balance disorders.

‘Audiologists are health care and educational professionals who deal with the prevention of hearing disorders, identification of hearing problems, treatment and management of biological disorders of the auditory and balance system, auditory processing disorders (CAPD) and developmental or acquired speech disorders caused by hearing loss.

‘One of the aims of the campaign was to raise awareness about the consequences of exposure to loud sounds and to highlight measures to protect hearing,’ said Blose

Participants learned that dangerous noise levels were present when:

-someone trying to communicate with them had to raise their voice
-they could not hear someone a metre away from them
-speech around them sounded muffled or dull after they left a noisy area
-they experienced pain or ringing in their ears – ‘tinnitus’ - after exposure to noise.

Early signs of noise induced hearing loss would include having trouble understanding what people say, especially in crowded rooms; needing to turn the television sound higher; having to ask people to repeat what they said, and not being able to hear high-pitched sounds such as a baby crying or a telephone ringing in the next room.

Students listening to music on their iPods and cell phones were encouraged to take good care of their hearing. ‘It is advisable to get your hearing tested annually,’ said Blose. ‘Students or the general public can get their hearing assessed at UKZN’s Audiology Clinic in E-block, 6th floor on the Westville campus.’

First and final-year students held a Campus March and ran activities including charades, sign language and a dance competition which were aimed at heightening the awareness of participants and observers about the importance of treasuring their hearing as well as giving them more information about how the hearing mechanism functions.

The Audiology Clinic offers the following weekly services held in the mornings - except on Wednesdays when they take place in the afternoon - for hearing assessment and therapy:

-Monday: Advanced Hearing assessment for specific diagnosis (ABR)
-Tuesday: Hearing assessments for the child and adult
-Wednesday: Audio therapy for children with hearing impairment
-Thursday: Paediatric clinic (babies 0-5 years hearing assessment)
-Friday: Clinic for the assessment and fitting of hearing aids.


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

THE COLLEGE OF LAW AND MANAGEMENT STUDIES GROWS ITS OWN TIMBER

THE COLLEGE OF LAW AND MANAGEMENT STUDIES GROWS ITS OWN TIMBER

Improving postgraduate enrolments and improving research are some of the key priorities in the College of Law and Management Studies. To ensure that these priorities are addressed the College has embarked on an internal marketing drive to promote postgraduate studies to current students.

Events targeted at top performing students were held on the Howard College, Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses in August and September. At some of these events the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College, Professor John Mubangizi unpacked the financial and personal benefits associated with postgraduate studies.

Mubangizi encouraged the students to take advantage of the College Honours Bursary scheme for students who are interested in pursuing Honours studies in management studies. He informed them about the various scholarship packages; a fee remission for a full research Masters or PhD available to UKZN students; and employment prospects as a tutor.

He said that the College had earmarked R1.4 million to provide financial assistance to students who were interested in pursuing Honours and Masters studies in management studies and law. ‘The College has the money to fund your Honours, Masters and PhD studies - it is up to you to take advantage of these opportunities,’ said Mubangizi.

The Deans and Heads of Schools attended the events and highlighted the benefits of delaying entering the job market and the importance of acquiring a postgraduate qualification.

Acting Dean and Head of the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Professor James Fairburn, gave examples of how a postgraduate degree could lead to students being specialists in their career fields including becoming an economist.

Dr Maxwell Phiri, an Academic Leader in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, spoke about the importance of investing in oneself through postgraduate studies and gaining a competitive edge over one’s peers. He cited many examples of people in the private and public sectors who have had to come back to pursue postgraduate studies in order to advance their careers and emphasised the importance of taking advantage of being a youth.

At the Westville campus event, the Dean and Head of School of Management, IT and Governance Professor Henry Wissink gave students pointers on how to decide on a postgraduate degree and how such study helped to build professional networks.

Ms Tashna Moonaisur, recipient of the Special Honours Bursary told students how easy it was for her and her sisters Ashmika and Dimishka (triplets) to pursue studies towards honours degrees in Human Resource Management, knowing it was not going to cause a financial strain to their family.

BCom HR and Marketing student Ms Thembalethu Mhlongo was guided on how to pursue her honours degree in economics management and said: ‘I really appreciate the expert advice I got from academics today because it has empowered me to make an informed choice for my future.

It is envisaged that this initiative will enable the College to generate a pool of postgraduate students who will work with academics and in the long run improve the research productivity and enrolments.


author email : jumo@ukzn.ac.za

APPLIED SPORT SCIENCE NURTURES DURBAN’S FOOTBALL TALENT

APPLIED SPORT SCIENCE NURTURES DURBAN’S FOOTBALL TALENT

UKZN’s Sport Science Discipline has changed the lives of many young boys from local communities in Durban who play in youth divisions of the premier league soccer team, Golden Arrows Football Club.

A successful pilot programme called Golden Arrows Meals (GAMes) was recently initiated by the discipline’s Dr Andrew McKune, an advanced trainer for Speed, Agility and Quickness (SAQ®) International, and Mr Mike Kemp, an honours graduate of exercise science who is now the strength and conditioning coach for the club’s U15, U17 and U19 teams.

McKune conceptualised GAMes after Kemp approached him saying many of the players who are from local townships attend training without having had a meal. ‘They tire easily and cramp during practice and games,’ said Kemp, ‘and often coaches mistake this for lack of fitness in the players.’

McKune then developed a community service project mutually beneficial for both the players and sport sciences students at UKZN.

‘The programme involves students forming groups with a team name, captain and vice-caption, who are then responsible for providing a nutritious pre-match meal for one of the three Golden Arrows Youth teams playing each week,’ said McKune.

A pilot project was held where the second-year class provided a meal for the U17 Golden Arrows team which participated in the ENGEN Knockout Tournament.

The group of students raised funds to make packages of chicken sandwiches with salad and two boiled eggs. ‘On Friday afternoon, dressed in their Sport Science kit, they travelled with Mike Kemp to the tournament,’ said McKune.

‘The cherry on top was that the team won the tournament! The whole experience was fantastic for them.’

McKune said the success of the pilot programme had generated a lot of excitement for 10 student groups who will work on a roster for the remainder of the year to raise funds, make food and hand it over to the players on match days.

‘Students will learn how to work as a team of sport scientists, see how sport science is applied through interacting with Mike in a real world setting, and provide an opportunity to interact with and possibly become mentors to young, disadvantaged football players.’

Professor Sabiha Essack, Dean and Head of the School of Health Sciences, described the project as “an exceptional initiative”, while Professor Johan van Heerden, School Academic Leader for Research, said it was an excellent outreach and youth education initiative which also provided students with real-world experiential exposure.

McKune said the students also approached him with an idea about forming a UKZN Sport Science Student Community Service Committee.

‘The aim of this committee would be to develop and co-ordinate community service projects, managed by staff. Many other ideas have been discussed and I really feel this programme has a lot of potential to develop further.

‘I am excited about the enthusiasm of the students. They are so keen to be involved and to work with the community.’

Kemp lauded the project saying it was a great way to get hands-on experience. ‘When working in a sporting environment you often have to think on your feet - you can’t always refer to the book.’


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za