PROFESSOR MOLETSANE APPOINTED AS DR JL DUBE CHAIR

PROFESSOR MOLETSANE APPOINTED AS DR JL DUBE CHAIR UKZN’s Faculty of Education is set to accelerate its efforts to develop rural education in South Africa with the appointment of Professor Relebohile Moletsane as Professor and Dr JL Dube Chair in Rural Education in September.


The Dr JL Dube Chair will endeavour to improve and advance rural education through the development of scholarship which would include preparing education students with a repertoire of competencies suitable for teaching in a rural environment.  To this end Professor Moletsane envisages interdisciplinary collaborations at UKZN, partnerships with other tertiary institutions in South Africa and augmenting existing rural development programmes within the Faculty to promote rural education. Initially, the rural community of Vulindlela will reap the benefits of activities implemented by the Dr JL Dube Chair in Rural Education, however this is likely to expand to other rural areas in time.

“Our focus will be on teacher education in rural schools. How exactly do we prepare our students to teach in rural schools is an on-going project but we want to take it further and establish how teachers in rural schools could mentor our students and how they (students) fit in rural schools. We’d like to establish reciprocal relations between our students and in-service teachers in rural schools,” said Professor Moletsane.

A second priority of the Chair would be scrutinising community well-being as a contributor to effective teaching and learning at rural schools.  According to Professor Moletsane illness, social problems and poverty experienced by rural children may result in absenteeism from school which in turn negatively impacts on their education.

Linked to developing community well-being is the empowerment of young and older women living in rural areas, a project of great importance to Professor Moletsane who said: “We need to understand how women view their poverty, economic status and the challenges they face…Our methodology is participatory in the sense that we believe that women themselves should identify the issues that most concern them and with our facilitation identify strategies to address their problems.”

Concerned by the fact that many young people are unenthusiastic about teaching in rural communities, Professor Moletsane hopes that her efforts would ultimately encourage more teaching graduates to consider filling vacancies in rural schools. “I would like to see change where young people from both rural and urban areas actually go and teach in rural schools,” she said.

Professor Moletsane believes that rural teachers overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness due to their experiences of teaching at poor resourced schools, and an acceptance of poor learning outcomes, needed to be empowered. She said the professional empowerment of rural teachers needed to occur so that they “see themselves as capable and empowered to change their own schools and teaching environments.”

In terms of research Professor Moletsane would like to see a theorised study undertaken to establish the growth of rural education. She encourages education students who are at the tail end of their masters studies to consider the possibility of embarking on doctoral research with emphasis on rural education.

Responding to her appointment Professor Moletsane said: “I am chuffed and really excited. A few years ago I thought to myself that I would like to dedicate the last 10 years of my career to rural development so this may sound like a cliché but this appointment is a dream come true for me.”

author email : maharajne@ukzn.ac.za

MAKING YOUR ACADEMIC RESEARCH RIGOROUS AND RELEVANT

MAKING YOUR ACADEMIC RESEARCH RIGOROUS AND RELEVANT “Never feel that South African academics are less worthy than overseas academics. South Africa has a huge range of academic accomplishments, both teaching and research, which are the match of anywhere else in the world.”

Those were the words of Professor Dan Remenyi who presented a seminar on Making your Academic Research Rigorous and Relevant, on September 7. The seminar was hosted by the Faculty of Management Studies.

According to Professor Remenyi, a Visiting Professor specialising in research methodology at the School of Systems and Data Studies at Trinity College Dublin and Visiting Faculty at Henley Business School in the United Kingdom, the seminar was aimed at academics who want to improve their research capability and present it so that is clear and both rigorous and relevant.  Another aim of the seminar was to highlight the issues which underpin rigor and relevance.

He said that some academics have already done the research but many of them are not confident that they do it as well as they can. “Increasingly, universities want their faculties to not only research but be published in good journals, and one of the tests that journals do is to look carefully at the rigor and  relevance of the research,” said Professor Remenyi.

Professor Remenyi works in both research methodology and the sociology of research, in which he teaches and researches. His area of research is largely on the topic of research itself, focusing on how it’s conducted and helping researchers understand the options available and what they mean. His impressive track record includes publishing 60 peer-reviewed articles and 30 text books. Professor Remenyi works with research degree candidates and supervisors at both doctoral and masters level.

He explained that relevance is being able to produce research findings that are important to someone. Research is relevant if there is a group of people for whom the research solves a problem. “The more important the problem, the better the relevance issue can be satisfied. One of the problems facing the issue of relevance is one has to ask ‘relevance to whom?’” he said.

Professor Remenyi added that sometimes universities can be more concerned about their own internal requirements than the community which they serve.

He said that rigor is about making sure that the research has been conducted in such a way that it complies with all the rules of the particular research paradigm that is followed. He added that it’s a question of making sure that the data that has been collected is relevant to the question, that the process of analysis is followed in terms of its rules and that the findings are converted to recommendations.

When asked what he thinks of the level of research produced at UKZN compared to international universities he said: “My impression is that UKZN produces a substantial stream of high quality research.

“I think South Africans are motivated well by the Department of Education’s research awards and academics really need to be mentored and perhaps even coached until they get the confidence to be able to produce more research papers.”
author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za

CCJ COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMME: AN OUTSTANDING MODEL

CCJ COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMME: AN OUTSTANDING MODEL When the Centre for Criminal Justice (CCJ) in the Faculty of Law introduced its community outreach programmes in Pietermaritzburg in 1997 their case load stood at between five and 35 per week. Thirteen years on the CCJ attends to approximately 9 000 cases annually, 75 percent of which involve individuals who have sought the Centre’s assistance for the first time.


CCJ Director, Dr Winnie Kubayi, has been at the helm of the organisation since 1997. The CCJ works in partnership with the police, paralegals trained by the Centre and community members to educate citizens about their legal rights and assist victims of domestic violence (mainly women). While the CCJ’s community engagement activities focused on the protection of women and children against violence at inception, it has now expanded to include cases pertaining to child maintenance; social grants for pensioners; labour disputes and general awareness of legal rights.

The Plessislaer Pilot Project was born in 1997 after CCJ field workers discovered that women in this community were reluctant to report cases of gender-based violence because of a “lack of sensitivity” on the part of police. An office was set up away from the Charge Office of the Plessislaer Police Station in Pietermaritzburg and manned by community members.

“It was a question of privacy and maybe a lack of sensitivity on the side of police. We looked at the possibility of involving civilians working with police to assist victims of (domestic) violence. If victims of violence are attended to in private, will it encourage them to report cases of violence?” said Dr Kubayi.

The demand for CCJ’s services from communities in the Midlands and Northern KwaZulu-Natal grew over the years and another 13 satellite centres were set up in these regions.

“The outreach programme has been regarded as a good model, a model that could easily be replicated, a model that actually offers practical solutions to people struggling to access justice and a gold mine for research.  We have a data base of almost 100 000 cases…Sharing our experiences and knowledge about issues of access to justice, issues of law that impact ordinary people, that has been a major milestone….we not only theorise the issue of furthering human rights with the law we also have practical experience of how it should be done,” said Dr Kubayi.

Dr Kubayi said she was proud of the CCJ’s hands-on approach to educating and encouraging citizens to exercise their legal rights. She added that the database of information collated by the Centre’s research team offered evidence-based information that could be utilized across disciplines and be useful to scholars of law, management and anthropology for example.  LLB students will also benefit from a course on Access to Justice which is set to commence in 2011.

Having focused on socio-legal issues in the past, the CCJ will now also turn its attention to socio-economic justice said Dr Kubayi: “As much as people have a certain level of awareness of their rights, we have been informed by them (communities)  that we need to start tackling economic emancipation. How do we access employment opportunities in the rural areas? How do we expose our children to employment opportunities? How do we develop as a community? were among the questions that would be addressed by the CCJ.”

According to Dr Kubayi legal and socio-economic justice issues are interlinked and cannot be dealt with individually.author email : maharajne@ukzn.ac.za

LECTURER’S APPROACH TO TEACHING HIGHLY VALUED BY STUDENTS

LECTURER’S APPROACH TO TEACHING HIGHLY VALUED BY STUDENTS Four years in the hallowed halls of academia has paid off for Mr Hans Salisbury, a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Supply Chain Management at UKZN’s Faculty of Management Studies on the Pietermaritzburg campus who has received excellent ratings from his students for his approach to teaching.


So what has worked for Mr Salisbury, who lectures at undergraduate and postgraduate honours level? Research-led teaching and balancing traditional and innovative teaching methodologies has been pivotal to his teaching and learning success.

“[Research-led teaching] is without a doubt the best area in terms of teaching. If you stand up with a text book written in America and quote American or European examples, students battle to see the relevance it will have in their working lives and in the South African context. If you’re able to come in as a lecturer and say this is the project we’re working on; this is what we’re doing and trying to achieve and demonstrate that you are applying some of the principles of the theory that you are teaching then one finds a reasonable amount of interest and the students get involved.  I would hate to have to stand up and simply quote from a text book because you’re unlikely to fool students,” said Mr Salisbury.

Mr Salisbury believes insights gained in the course of his time in the commercial world, where the majority of his students will eventually work, have also been integral to his teaching success.  The ability to blend practical experience with theoretical knowledge, has stood him in good stead with students. For the past eight years his research has been in the field of rural development and service delivery and in contributing to the foundation of a viable small-to-medium brewing sector. In 2004 he won second place in the UKZN round of the National Innovation Competition for developing a franchised microbrewery model.  An Honours Programme in the Faculty next year will focus on further aspects of this project; an event keenly anticipated by students.

Mr Salisbury suggested that the application of theoretical perspectives to fresh situations and problems inspires better responses from students than sterile assignment topics used year after year. Writing case studies on contemporary topics and using these in assessments has also worked well for him. With regard to assessment, Mr Salisbury believes a comprehensive marking memo with a clear indication of what each mark is awarded for solves a lot of problems. “If a student is unhappy with a mark you can return the script and your memo and ask if he or she can find anything you may have missed. It’s important that they see that your system is entirely fair”, he said.

Mr Salisbury indicated that his enjoyment of teaching in an academic environment grew as a result of a love for the discipline and the diverse approaches taken by students to learning. “Students have some entertaining perspectives. I come in contact with a range of students from those who are quite studious and committed, to others who come along for no apparent reason at all. It’s a fun, quite interesting discipline where something is always happening that you can talk about – current events, I enjoy that. Also students are not quite as reserved as they were in my day; they’re prepared to contribute and can get quite lively (during lectures),” said Mr Salisbury.

While supportive of certain technology driven teaching aids like Moodle (an online system that replaces the University’s OLS), Mr Salisbury was firm in the view that technology alone is no substitute for traditional lectures.  “There are some useful technological teaching and learning tools out there. Moodle is an excellent example which allows an opportunity for students who are shy in class and who don’t want to contribute (during lecture time) to interact freely through this medium in their own time. As a lecturer I don’t think you can say you’ve done your job if, for example, you find a brilliant lecture by a Harvard professor and put that up in place of sweating th
author email : maharajne@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN ACADEMIC RECEIVES IUPAC FELLOWSHIP INVITATION

UKZN ACADEMIC RECEIVES IUPAC FELLOWSHIP INVITATION

He received the Neale May Gold Medal Award from the South African Institute of Chemical Engineers (SAIChE) at the age of 75, has published a full-length book on Phase Equilibria: Measurement and Computation, and has now (aged 79) received a prestigious invitation to become Fellow of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

Professor Emeritus in the School of Chemical Engineering on the Howard College campus Professor David Raal said that this invitation came as a complete surprise to him and is a great honour. In his response to the Union he said: “I am honoured indeed to receive the invitation and gladly accept the offer of Fellowship. I will be happy to render to IUPAC any assistance that I can in its future endeavours.”

The IUPAC Fellows Programme recognises past service to the Union and facilitates continuing dialogue with individuals active in prior IUPAC programmes. The union’s project-based operating system is designed to encourage broad participation by the world’s scientists.

Professor Raal said that IUPAC was familiar with some of his work through his contribution of two chapters in the book, Measurement of the Thermodynamics Properties of Multiple Phases: Experimental Thermodynamics, Volume 7 (IUPAC, Elsevier). He has also just received his complimentary copy of the newly-published book Heat Capacities - Liquids, Solutions and Vapours (Royal Society of Chemistry, UK) , in which he has a chapter by invitation.

A project that Professor Raal is excited about and hopes to complete before the end of the year, is the construction and testing of a gas mixing apparatus for calibrating gas chromatographs. The latest version will be a PC controlled semi-commercial instrument, considered superior to other available methods or equipment in accuracy and versatility. It was patented in Europe, the USA and Japan. “Once I have completed my major projects I might call it a day,” he added.

Professor Raal formed the Thermodynamics Research Group in the 1980s. The Group is currently headed by Professor Deresh Ramjugernath. According to Professor Raal, it is now considered the largest and most productive thermodynamics research group in the Southern Hemisphere. With the vigorous efforts of Professor Ramjugernath the group has expanded to about 20 postgraduate and several post-doctoral students, with strong formal international co-operative agreements with several countries, including Germany, Sweden, France and Poland.


author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za

SUMMER SCHOOL OFFERS EXPOSURE TO GLOBAL BUSINESS TRENDS

SUMMER SCHOOL OFFERS EXPOSURE TO GLOBAL BUSINESS TRENDS Postgraduate students and academics in the Management disciplines will gain a global perspective of business and learn of international management trends while participating in the two week American-African-European (AAE) Summer School Programme at the Chemnitz University of Technology in Germany from September 12.
 
Eight students, Ms Sinenhlanhla Mkhize, Mr Takemore Katiyo, Ms Thandeka Mtshali, Ms Renika Papa, Ms Lutfiya Adam, Mr Amrit Kiral, Mr Manogran Naidoo, Mr Gregory Gearing; and academics Mr Taahir Vajeth, a Senior Lecturer in Human Resources Management; and Ms Vannie Naidoo a Lecturer in Management are the participants in this year’s programme which takes on the theme: Communication of Change and Development in Inter-Cultural Contexts.
 
The AAE Summer School Programme is a joint initiative between UKZN’s Faculty of Management Studies; the Faculty of Business Administration and Economics in the University of Texas, El Paso and Chemnitz University of Technology in Germany. The Programme encourages continuous international collaborative scholarly work between UKZN and partnering universities while at the same time presenting an opportunity for postgraduate students and academics to keep up with business and managerial trends globally.
 
Ms Lindiwe Kunene, the Internationalisation Programme Co-ordinator and Academic  for the Faculty of Management Studies indicated that the Programme creates a platform for both students and staff to discuss challenges facing business and management in the three continents where participating universities are located, with the intention of fostering critical and creative thinking among potential managers, and developing their problem-solving skills by tapping into international experiences.
 
Speaking on the significance of this year’s theme Communication of Change and Development in Inter-Cultural Contexts and its benefits to participants, Ms Kunene said  communication was the single most important function in an organisation that had the power to `either make or break’ a business by holding it together through a common vision.
 
“With poor communication, organisations run the risk of losing the essence of who and what they are. The issue of communication becomes even more relevant in dealing with both turbulent environments and globalised business exchanges, a phenomenon that has plagued almost all organisations in recent years … from all corners of the world. In order for communication to be institutionalised adequately within these globalised organisations cultural contexts have to be understood and strategised appropriately,” said Ms Kunene.
 
A participant of the Programme, Ms Mtshali a Schools Liaison Officer in the Corporate Relations Division who is pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership and Management said: “The theme of the programme is intercultural development so I do believe that it will offer me the opportunity to interact with other international students and experience interculturalism first hand in Germany. I’m excited about the programme. It’s a great opportunity and I’m honoured to be one of eight students representing UKZN in Germany.”

author email : maharajne@ukzn.ac.za

HEARD SEMINAR ON TRADITIONAL NARRATIVES AS A MEDIA FOR PREVENTION

HEARD SEMINAR ON TRADITIONAL NARRATIVES AS A MEDIA FOR PREVENTION UKZN’s Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD), hosted a seminar by Ms Rebecca Miller, a Masters in Health Science candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health on September 7.
 
HEARD conducts applied research and runs development interventions aimed at mobilising evidence on the impact of HIV in the SADC and East Africa region. 
 
Ms Miller, who hails from California, will be conducting qualitative research into the significance of traditional literature in Swazi life, the values and norms it conveys that affect HIV transmission and prevention, and its potential for adaptation as media for prevention and education. She first began working on HIV prevention and education in a rural village in eastern Mpumulanga.
 
“My experience in South Africa then (and now) was wonderful. The family I lived with was very patient with my terrible siSwati and everybody I met and worked with was extremely kind and welcoming. I've been looking forward to coming back ever since,” said Ms Miller.
 
Some of the research questions which will guide her work in Swaziland include: Who is the storyteller in Swazi society? What stories are people listening to, and in what contexts? She hopes to establish how these stories and their moral lessons can be adapted to present prevention and education messages.
 
Similar work has been done in African countries and abroad, shedding light on songs and storytelling, and drama theatre groups. Traditional stories have been used for HIV prevention with Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest; much of the argument for their effectiveness is based on psychotherapy. 
author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

AFRICA CENTRE’S IMPILO YAMADODA PROJECT HOLDS MEN’S HEALTH FAIR

AFRICA CENTRE’S IMPILO YAMADODA PROJECT HOLDS MEN’S HEALTH FAIR Young men from across the Hlabisa area in Northern KwaZulu-Natal were invited to Mgeza on August 29 to participate in a health fair that was part of UKZN’s Africa Centre’s Impilo Yamadoda project to find out what types of HIV prevention and health research interest young Zulu men.
 
In total 130 men attended. Throughout the day they were treated to presentations from representatives of the six organisations that volunteered their time to provide health education information specific to young men’s needs.
 
Mr Scelo Mngomezulu from Hlabisa Hospital discussed the importance of Medical Male Circumcision in preventing HIV. Reverend MT Biyase and Ms Ncengani Mthethwa of Umkhumbi kaNkulunkulu encouraged spiritual guidance in health decision-making. The Hlabisa HIV Treatment and Care Programme, in which the Africa Centre is a partner, discussed different HIV treatment options, demonstrated to young men the correct way to use condoms, and offered HIV testing through one of their mobile clinics.
 
EMRS’s Mr Njokweni came with several representatives to discuss the best ways to respond to medical emergencies in the community. Captain Mdletshe represented the SAPS and discussed community policing and the variety of employment opportunities in the organisation. Ms Zanele Zulu from KwaMsane Department of Social Development responded to a variety of questions about employment and tackled other topics on how men could improve the health and well-being of their families. Participating organisations and participants alike hailed the day as a great success. 

author email : info@africacentre.ac.za

HOWARD COLLEGE LIBRARY EXHIBITION

HOWARD COLLEGE LIBRARY EXHIBITION The repository of information aids available to the UKZN community in pursuit of scholarly activities was showcased at the Howard College Library Exhibition on September 8.
 
Academics and students attending the one-day Exhibition were taken through the advancements made at UKZN’s Library Services over the years in its role as facilitator in accessing information. A series of talks and displays by library staff demonstrated the significance of both traditional methods and state-of-the-art technology in accessing information for teaching, learning and research. The purpose behind the Expo organised by the Howard College Libraries Marketing Committee was to inform both students and academics of the services at their disposal and to encourage their input in improving access to information.
 
The Exhibition included presentations by the Director of Library Services at UKZN, Dr Nora Buchanan and Professor John Hilton, Chair of the Howard College Campus Library Advisory Committee. Dr Buchanan’s presentation on The Library in your Pocket informed guests of the library services development from the late ‘70s, when huge manual catalogues and shelves of indexing and abstracting journals were the order of the day, to  the latest computer technology that allows one to access information at the touch of a few keystrokes.
 
Dr Buchanan said there were both advantages and disadvantages of using new technology.  In the past accessing information was at times a long drawn-out process and it could take from a day to a week or more before relevant information was obtained. Presently, computer software enables one to gather information in a few minutes; the downside however, according to Dr Buchanan, was when servers were off-line.
 
Dr Buchanan, who has dedicated 28 years to UKZN Library Services has witnessed the numerous advancements achieved, from the introduction of electronic books; a library blog; research space; the research commons; and the latest information search tool known as Primo. Visitors to the Exhibition caught a glimpse of Primo, a discovery tool that enables speedy access to all library information databases from researchers’ own computers without actually having to physically visit the library.
 
In his presentation titled: Collection Development, Professor Hilton spoke of the vast array of books and electronic journals available at UKZN libraries, making it one of the leading academic libraries in the country.  He said an important goal of the Library Advisory Committee was to ensure that modules taught on-campus were backed up by the proper learning material.  Impressing upon the audience the importance of developing a good collection of learning aids, Professor Hilton encouraged academic staff to engage with subject librarians in order to build relevant library collections and to ensure that essential learning and research materials were acquired. “Academics must take pride in building up a library of books pertaining to their discipline or area of research,” said Professor Hilton. 

author email : maharajne@ukzn.ac.za

FACULTY OF EDUCATION OPENS REFURBISHED BUILDING

FACULTY OF EDUCATION OPENS REFURBISHED BUILDING “A professional teacher is what a doctor is to his patient,” observed the MEC for Education in KwaZulu-Natal, Mr Senzo Mchunu, who officially opened the refurbished Main Tutorial Building at Edgewood campus on September 8.
The event marked a significant milestone in the Faculty’s efforts to enhance teacher education and improve teaching and learning in South Africa.

Dean of the Faculty of Education, Professor Michael Samuel said that R33 million was spent on the refurbishment, which was only the first phase of Edgewood’s development under UKZN’s MX 16 projects – the University’s merger-related projects designed to enhance teaching and learning.

Alterations to the building spaces have been designed to accommodate state-of-the-art equipment for teaching and learning and new spaces for in-and-out-of-class-room learning and teaching. This includes;


In his keynote address, Mr Mchunu said that he is very proud of Edgewood’s new physical infrastructure and the University’s mission to promote quality teaching and learning. He stressed the important role of educators, for their pupils, university students and the South African community at large.

Mr Mchunu raised national issues of concern that the Faculty is placing itself to address, such as the ‘teaching crisis’ in South Africa; the increasing loss of teachers each year; the lack of skilled teachers in critical subjects such as mathematics, science, and accounting; and the alarming number of 11 000 teachers, both under-qualified and unqualified, that are currently serving in the profession.

“We need a well trained army of teachers in South Africa... There is no country in the world that will tell you that they have the ideal system of education,” said Mr Mchunu. “You can go anywhere in the world and everybody wants quality education; rural and urban,” he added.

Reflecting on the public service strike, Mr Mchunu said that the Department of Education was very glad that teachers were back in their classrooms and they will be going to several schools to monitor teaching and learning after the strike.

Mr Mchunu also said that the Department of Education is trying to strengthen the South African education system by introducing external examinations for grades 3, 6 and 9 in mathematics and literacy. He expressed his confidence in the Faculty of Education to find innovative ways to similarly strengthen teaching and learning at the University.

Professor Samuel said he was honoured to be standing before the gathering after many years of hard work and thanked every stakeholder that has played a role in the completion of this first phase of the Faculty’s development.

Professor Samuel also highlighted that the Faculty encourages rural students and students representative of all demographic groups to register to study as teachers. He introduced Professor Relebohile Moletsane who has been appointed as Professor and Dr JL Dube Chair in Rural Education at UKZN.

President of the Students’ Representative Council at Edgewood campus, Ms Siphesihle Khanyase said that Edgewood students are particularly enjoying the wireless internet connection. “Siyabonga! Asiphezi ngalesi sakhiwo esakhiwe.” (“Thank you! We dearly appreciate the new physical infrastructure.”), she added.
author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za