UKZN’s Intensive Tuition for Engineers Programme (UNITE) officially unveiled its new building on Friday, 2 March with the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs Naledi Pandor, delivering the keynote address.


Described by UNITE’s Deputy Director, Mr Rudi Kimmie, as ‘the coolest building in town’, and by Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Professor Rob Slotow as ‘a magnificent edifice and flagship home for sustainable green engineering at UKZN’, this R20 million architectural gem will provide a permanent home to the UNITE programme, while simultaneously providing a ‘green’ hub for university, industry and community-related activities.


UNITE is the sole engineering-orientated alternative academic access programme in South Africa, and has run for more than 23 years, training over 1500 students during its existence.  With an inspirational leader in Mr Noel Powell at the helm, it is renowned for pioneering holistic, innovative and interactive teaching methods in its one year intensive, introductory engineering programme.


In his opening remarks, Kimmie especially welcomed UNITE alumni who were present as being the proud products of its programme and proof of its success.  These included Mr Sibu Shabalala, CEO of Adapt IT, and Ms Wandile Nhlapo, a recent graduate and golden key member at UKZN. 


He used the analogy of a three-legged potjie pot to explain the project’s recipe for success, namely, that the legs represent the support structure: funding from the government; the necessary support from UKZN’s planning committee; and a cash injection of close to R200 million from various sponsors. 


‘For me, the key ingredients in this project have been the five “p’s”,’ said Powell.  People, or aligning oneself with quality ones; purpose, or knowing where one is going; passion, which is catchy and inspirational; perseverance or never giving up; and personality, or being the unique person that God has made one to be.’  Powell concluded his address by saying that a final missing ingredient was fire,
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Professor Michael Samuel of UKZN’s School of Education was among the prize winners at a recent international workshop in Luxembourg on: “How to track Researchers’ Careers”. 


His poster presentation titled: “PhD Productivity in South Africa - based on the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) 2010 study on PhD productivity in the country” - won second prize.  


Samuel was part of the panel of experts in the ASSAf study which highlighted the status of doctoral productivity of South African Higher Education Institutions.  He said the study revealed ‘the status of doctoral productivity dominated by five top South African universities, outlining the historical, political and institutional trajectory of under-productivity in SA, the skewed racial profile of doctoral graduands, and the changing demographic profile of the doctoral student graduands from 2000 to 2007, including the increase in non-South African graduands among our institutions.’


In addition, the study focused on the key factors which serve as blockages to productivity and advocated the need to explore alternate forms of doctoral education and support as well as innovative designs of the supervision processes. 


The workshop was hosted by the European Science Foundation and the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), the European Union equivalent of South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF), and brought together leading international experts renowned for their expertise and long-term experience in following the career paths of researchers. 


The overall aim was to review the productivity of doctoral graduates, tracking them into their careers and focusing on the impact this tracking could have on the design of doctoral education.  Participants explored the future direction of research design methodologies for career-tracking studies.  Numerous country reports were presented on the evolving tradition of "tracking studies".

UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division (CRD) held a reception breakfast at the Westville campus to congratulate and officially welcome top matric achievers – registered in the Colleges of Law and Management and Health Sciences - who had chosen the University to further their Higher Education studies.


A similar breakfast will soon be held on the Howard College and Pietermaritzburg campuses. In her welcome address CRD Executive Director, Ms Nomonde Mbadi, told the new students that the University was proud to have them and advised them to aim high.  Your achievements in the matric examinations have been remarkable and we know your performance at UKZN is going to be even better,’ she said.


Executive Management members at the event were given the opportunity to introduce themselves and offer advice to the youngsters.


UKZN Registrar, Professor Jane Meyerowitz, said it was great to hear or to read in newspapers that matriculants wanted to come to UKZN.


Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Malegapuru Makgoba said he believed in excellence and high achievement, adding that the future of the University depended on ‘people like you (the students) to inspire the next generation. We are here to support you so that you realise your potential,’ he said.


BCom Accounting student, Mr Ruvaje Ramdeen, said he felt really honoured by the function and being thanked to come to the University had been a humbling experience.


The other students at the breakfast were Ms Simphiwe Nzuza (Pharmacy), Mr Scelo Tembe (Physiotherapy) and Ms Zaakira Fakroodeen (Occupational Therapy) from the College of Health Sciences. The students were each given a book voucher.
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UKZN’s School of Chemical Engineering has passed an international benchmarking review conducted by the British Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)


A panel of IChemE experts visited the University last year to conduct an in-depth evaluation of all aspects of the Chemical Engineering degree.


The evaluation included entrance requirements, programme content and structure, learning outcomes, innovative features, health and safety assessments and quality assurance, resources, and future development.


The panel found UKZN’s quality to be of an international standard, concluding that: ‘The BScEng (Chemical) provides a solid and identifiable education in chemical engineering within a well organised and managed degree programme. There are excellent IT facilities including 24-hour access. There is a good range of large-scale, industrially-relevant laboratory equipment within the laboratories and includes a new laboratory facility. The academic staff are dedicated and well-supported by technicians and secretarial staff.’


Staff from the academic and support sectors were interviewed and observed along with students from first to final year and alumni. In addition, certain industrial corporates were approached for comment, many of whom commended the teaching and learning which has become associated with the programme.

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Associate Professor at the Department of Linguistics at Charles University in Prague, Professor Jirí Nekvapil, gave an insightful presentation at Howard College recently on multilingualism at universities from the viewpoint of Language Management Theory.


Nekvapil conducted research on multilingualism at large central European multi-national companies such as Volkswagen, Siemens and even Hyundai and this sparked off an interest in developing multilingualism at universities.


He drew parallels between this research and investigations into universities and companies because these organisations could be researched using the same concepts, research methodologies and theories. His talk included language planning which came into existence as an academic discipline.


Nekvapil referred to the "Catherine wheel" which is a circular model of language status change in which various components such as motivation, more learning and perception contribute to the perpetual movement of the circle. In essence, the influence and effects of the components contribute to the life of the language.  Though it had been developed under the perspective of a minority language of Catalonia (Spain), it could be applied at a general level.


To highlight this point at a university level, Nekvapil turned to the isiZulu language. ‘When there is more demand for goods and services in the language, it would mean more supply for consumption of goods and services in isiZulu which would again stimulate a greater need for the language and this would stimulate more motivation to learn and use isiZulu which would mean more people would learn the language, and so on and so forth,’ he explained, thus potentially leading to the development of multilingualism at tertiary level.


Nekvapil further explained that during the language management process, linguistic phenomena had to be noted, particularly a deviation from the norm

Dr Naseema Vawda, an academic at UKZN’s Department of Behavioural Medicine and Clinical Head of the Department of Psychology at King Edward VIII Hospital, has been awarded a prestigious Fullbright Scholarship.


Vawda will spend seven months at City University, New York, engaging in capacity training in forensic psychology.


Vawda, through her clinical service at King Edward VIII Hospital, has found an increase over the years of cases of either perpetrators or victims of crime who require psychological assistance. In South Africa, due to the high crime statistics, forensic psychology is an area requiring capacity development.


And this is not the first time Vawda has received a Fullbright Scholarship! Earlier, while pursuing a master’s degree in clinical psychology, Vawda was given a scholarship to pursue studies in health psychology. ‘Unfortunately, due to personal circumstances at the time, I could not take up the initial scholarship but am ecstatic about being offered this prestigious scholarship for the second time.’


In 2006, Vawda was a post-doc fellow at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). At UCLA she received a certificate in trauma and mental health research training and was selected to serve in an advisory capacity on the UCLA/South African Trauma Research Training Phodiso Project.


Phodiso is a Fogarty-funded project managed by UCLA which seeks to prepare future investigators to conduct research in trauma and injury prevention as a result of personal, interpersonal and community level violence and intentional injuries.  The focus of their research is to minimise health and mental health effects, specifically Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in South Africa.


Vawda’s areas of interest are suicidal behaviour research focusing on children in the KwaZulu-Natal community and secondary traumatisation of healthcare workers such as police officers and nurses. Vawda is hoping, through her training at City University, to set up collaborative projects with that university’s Department of Psychology as well as UKZN’s Department of Behavioural Medicine.

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An undergraduate bursary programme initiated by UKZN’s Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU) in partnership with the South African Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project and the National Research Foundation (NRF) is proving to be a great success.


The goal is to inspire students with a flair for Mathematics and Physics and a passion for Astronomy to pursue research careers in Astrophysics and Cosmology.


Bursaries have been awarded to first year students Mr Sashen Singh and Mr Kaashif Sayed and a second year student, Mr Mthokozisi Mdlalose. This year the programme has grown to include a partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology in Botswana, with four SKA bursary students from Botswana now studying at UKZN.


The programme, which now funds 10 undergraduate students, began in 2009 with one student, Ms Sinenhlanhla Sihlangu, who is currently studying for a Bachelor of Science Honours degree.


In addition to the bursary programme, which covers the cost of tuition, accommodation, meals and books, ACRU provides academic support through an Undergraduate Internship Programme, where specialised tutoring, mentoring and vacation projects are available to undergraduate students affiliated with the Unit.


These students also participate in astronomy outreach activities organised by ACRU. In April this year, they will make a field trip to visit the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and the Karoo Array Telescope.


Ms Prashina Budree, Outreach and PR Co-ordinator from ACRU, said the programme had generated lots of excitement among undergraduate students.


Mdlalose of Pietermaritzburg sa
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UKZN student Nontobeko Duma visited Tübingen in Germany in January this year.

This is her account of her time there:


During the South African summer of January 2012, I left for the winter of Germany for a university city called Tübingen. I was in Tübingen for the annual South African Tübingen program. This program is a cultural and language exchange program for South African students aiming to expose them to German culture and language.


It also aims to bring about closer ties and understanding between the two countries. Students spend a month in Tübingen in a program designed to provide a broad spectrum of knowledge in a wide variety of subjects, from language to history to economics as well as factory visits and sightseeing excursions which make for an exciting month of multi-faceted learning.


Twenty students are chosen from universities of Tübingen’s partner provinces in South Africa: Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, and Western Cape. I was blessed to go on behalf of my university, the University of KwaZulu-Natal.


Germany has different cultures in different states, even different dialects in speech. Tübingen is a university town, as a result the people from every part of Germany and the world live there. Therefore the people of Tübingen are more tolerant of immigrants and loud, jolly South African tourists!


Tübingen (Tubs) was the place I called home and every person on the programme my family. While most of the people from South Africa who came along stayed on university residences, I had the privilege of staying with a wonderful host family, the Weltes. I had my own little apartment with a view of a small forest in which, if I was lucky, I could see squirrels, fox and deer. I really enjoyed the independence.


UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division (CRD) has given new meaning to the concept of “living the brand”.


The Division gathered at Westville’s Senate Chamber recently to meet new members in the reorganisation model and discuss how to think and work creatively to be more effective.


CRD Executive Director, Ms Nomonde Mbadi, used the opportunity to introduce a health initiative to her team. Mbadi said staff of CRD needed to undergo a series of actions that would encourage a healthier lifestyle.


They would be educated on health care, participate in high-energy sport like squash, and even have their health checked periodically, including aspects such as glucose levels, diabetes, blood pressure and weight ‘We all have different health goals which are easier to meet as a collective rather than as individuals,’ said Mbadi.


The opportunity to regroup the different functions and Units helped create an atmosphere of corporate synergy among CRD staff. Key Performance Areas as a measuring tool for staff were discussed and it was stressed that these could not be the only yard stick to measure the calibre of staff.


The identity of the Division and how each person was responsible for the brand of the Institution was also debated. ‘We are custodians of the University brand. What we project to internal and external stakeholders, is a reflection of what UKZN stands for,’ said Mbadi.


Director of University Relations, Mr Leonard Mzimela, agreed and spoke about “living the brand” and how UKZN as a prominent player in HIV and AIDS research encouraged staff to know their HIV status.

‘We must lead by example by getting tested and knowing our personal status.’


University clinic staff provided a group HIV counselling session inside the venue with testing booths operating outside.

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IKolishi lakwaLaw and Management Studies e-UKZN lihambele abafundi abasezikoleni zaseMgungundlovu nezaseMlazi ukuyokhuluma nabafundi abafisa ukwenza izifundo eziphakeme zobumeli nezentengiso.

Lendlela ehlukile yokuheha abafundi isebenzisa izifundiswa nabasebenzi ukunikeza labafundi ulwazi olungcono, ukuze bakwazi ukukhetha izifundo eziqondene nomsebenzi abazowenza. 

Kufike abafundi abangaphezu kwamakhulu amathathu abavela ezikoleni ezihamba phambili Emgungundlovu abenza amabanga kaGrade11 no12.

USolwazo weKolishi uSolwazi Mike Kidd, ukhulume ngomusebenzi wezomthetho. ‘Inyuvesi iyaziwa ngokuhamba phambili kwezemfundo zomthetho futhi izinkampani zabameli ezihamba phambili zihlale zizothatha abafundi bethu ukuba babasebenzele. Abafundi bethu abaningi bagcina sebengene kwezepolitiki, abanye bagcine bengamalungu ephalamende,’ kusho uKidd.

Umfundisi wezifundo ze-Accounting uNkz Nevitha Sewpersadh ukhulume ngezentengiso nezifundo zaba sebeneziqu. Uthe i-UKZN ayinikezi umfundi imfundo kuphela kodwa ikunikeza indawo eyenza kubelula ukwenza abangani.

Kufike abafundi abangamakhulu angu500 abavela ezikoleni zaseMlazi naseThekwini. Umfundisi uMnu Michael Buthelezi utshele abafundi ngezifundo zomthetho nokuthi zingena kanjani kweminye imikhakha. USolwazi Kanti Bhowan obemele isikole sakwa Management, Information Technology neGovernance utshele abafundi ukuthi izifundo zabo zingabasiza kanjani emhlabeni.

Obemele abakwaSouth African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)  uMnu Thandanani Umlaw ukhulume ngomsebenzi womgcini amabhuku.

Izikhumi ziphinde zacacisela abafundi ukuthi kubhaliswa kuphi nokuthi kungenwa kanjani eNyuvesi. Baphinde batshelwa nang mifundaze ekhona.

Imibuzo mayelana nokuxhaswa ngokwezimali kwabafundi kuphendulwe uNkz Nain Ramdas. Emva kohlelo abafundi bathole ithuba lokuxoxa nabamele izinkampani zabameli.

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Six postgraduate students from UKZN’s College of Humanities are proud recipients of the South Africa Netherlands research Programme on Alternatives in Development (SANPAD) PhD scholarships.


This scholarship is a unique collaborative research programme financed by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The PhD students applied in early March 2011 and were notified telephonically that they had been successful.


The students are currently involved in an annual programme in Research Capacity Initiative (RCI) for emerging researchers with six modules being covered with an optional module offered after completion.


‘We meet every two months for a week-long workshop in various locations across South Africa. During the workshops we meet with South African and Dutch professionals for intensive sessions. These are to aid in the writing of the PhD proposal and the thesis itself,’ said excited postgraduate Linguistics student, Ms Kerry Jones.


Her research focuses on the documentation and analysis of the language attitudes of !Xun and Khwedam speakers in Platfontein - both endangered Khoisan languages spoken in Southern Africa - in order to determine the potential success of language preservation initiatives.


Another recipient of the scholarship, history student Mr Karthigasen Gopalan, said the various tasks assigned during the workshops were constantly helping to guide his own thinking. ‘The opportunity to interact and exchange ideas with contemporary researchers is a vital component towards completing my own thesis. Being confronted with other PhD researchers from different disciplines allows me to reflect critically on my own study and to select the most appropriate methods,’ he said.


Gopalan says his research examines the destruction and remaking of a community (the residents of the Magazine Barracks in Durban which housed Indian municipal workers), as a consequence of the Group Areas Act. ‘My study explores the agency of ordinary people affected by this controversial and destructive piece of legislature. It also aims to address questions dealing with identity and belonging in the Post-Apartheid South Africa,’ he explained.

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The Writing Place, located within the College of Law and Management Studies, has implemented an online tutor monitoring and evaluation system where users can submit feedback on any internet-enabled device (PCs, mobile phones and tablets).


The Writing Place schedules over 1 500 student consultations per semester, assisting students improve their academic writing skills. Previously, paper-based bookings and forms were used to monitor and evaluate consultations between students and trained tutors.


To streamline a process that posed various logistical problems in the past, the system is now replaced with digitally imaged booking sheets and online questionnaires which can be stored, backed up, exported, evaluated and accessed online.


Writing Place Co-ordinators Mr Kevin Hill and Mr Steve Perks, who were instrumental in conceptualising and customising the system, said: ‘This is a definite plus, leading to more efficient monitoring and better facilitating the process in terms of time and accuracy. Moreover, it improves proficiency of management and administrative tasks.


Head of the Writing Place, Dr Dianna Moodley, strongly supports this innovative and exciting resource which she says enhances learning and can deliver substantial positive effects. We want to provide a technology rich environment for a technologically advanced generation of learners. Insurmountable research has shown that as technology is more deeply integrated into the educational experience, the more positive the learning outcomes become. 


Moodley is currently maximising the benefits of this resource by extending its use to several other programmes within the College Teaching and Learning Unit.
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The Science and Technology Education Centre (STEC) at the Westville campus recently played host to some of the brightest and best young minds in the eThekwini Municipality.


Professor Poobhalan Pillay, Emeritus Professor in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, is currently running a programme which will equip learners at high school with the problem-solving and mathematical skills and knowledge that they will need to succeed at Olympiad events locally and internationally.


The programme is part of a national effort steered by the South African Mathematics Foundation to strengthen problem solving skills of high school learners.


Other participating institutions are the Universities of Pretoria, Free State, Johannesburg, and Rhodes.


It is hoped the intensive tuition provided to the students by Pillay and his team will also lay a firm foundation on which tertiary studies could be built.


In order to be considered for the programme, learners had to undergo a demanding application process. This included having to write a test where their mathematical knowledge and skill were tested.


The Maths Olympiads that are held in South Africa consist of three rounds. Pillay was confident most of the students in his programme would pass the first round. He hoped that his programme would see some of them ‘going all the way to the finals’.
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The Classics Programme recently held their first research colloquium for the new academic year at the Howard College campus.


It focussed on the Neo-Latin text by Professor Harry C Schnur, and his work on Vallum Berolinense, The Berlin Wall.


The presentation was done by Senior Research Associate in the School of Arts in Foreign Languages, Professor Bernard Kytzler.


One of Kytzler’s main research areas is Neo-Latin - Latin written and spoken after the Medieval Ages which is still used in some parts of the world today.


In his book, Schnur describes in depth his visit to his hometown of East Berlin on 13 August 1961 - the exact day East German authorities started to erect a wall to separate the eastern part of Berlin from the western section.


Schnur describes both his observations and feelings about the event including the atmosphere in Berlin. This intense event was depicted in the form of a Menippean Satire, a text which consists of parts written in prose and poems.


Kytzler presented this fairly recent and unknown work to the audience of the colloquium, explaining both the biographical and historical background of the author and the construction of the Berlin wall, even using some Neo-Latin words, phrases and expressions which had the audience enthralled.


When the Jewish emigrant Harry C Schnur revisited his hometown Berlin, Germany, in 1961 after 28 years of exile, he sensed a strange commotion among the people. Soon he learned that on this day, the authorities of East Berlin had begun to build a wall dividing the city into two halves.

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Staff  in the College of Law and Management Studies were treated to a presentation on the "Teaching Organisation" delivered by academics from the University of Edinburgh (UoE) in Scotland during their recent visit to the University.


Although the two universities are very different, the "Teaching Organisation" presented by Dr Bailey used the structure of UoE and its teaching organisation in terms of UKZN’s College reconfiguration process. Its core focus was on relieving academic staff of administrative burdens.


‘Think of everything in terms of student focus, everything needs to be seamless and effortless.  Students need to feel that they belong and have support which will lead to them making informed choices for their academic progress,’ advised Bailey.


Staff attending the presentation engaged with Bailey on issues regarding the restructuring process. They also came up with suggestions and ideas on ways to improve teaching and learning at the college.

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The Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College of Law and Management Studies, Professor Kriben Pillay, hosted the first workshop for the College Academic Leaders for Teaching and Learning.


The academic leaders were joined, in some instances, by Deans and Heads of Schools.


The Workshop was facilitated by Dr Shamim Bodhanya, Senior Lecturer in the Graduate School of Business and Leadership, who said his brief was to create a deep learning space for the group to explore their expectations, hopes and fears around the challenges of teaching and learning in the College.


‘Essentially, I tried to create activities which not only drew out the core issues that need to be engaged with by those leading the teaching and learning portfolio, but also placed emphasis on a workshop design that spoke to the theme of interdependence, so that those working in this area deeply see the importance of collaboration at all levels.’


Pillay commented on the fact that Bodhanya’s way of facilitating a group of academics from diverse disciplines modelled the very qualities of good teaching and learning practice he wanted to see flower in the College.

Dr Maxwell Phiri, the Academic Leader for Teaching and Learning in the School of Management, IT and Governance, was also present at the workshop, and was commended by Professor Pillay for receiving praise from a student for being such a good lecturer in letter to a local newspaper.

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