Thursday, 28 March 2024

Fostering Collaboration

CPUT recently hosted a high-level delegation from two German Higher Education Institutions – DHBW Ravensburg and DHBW Karlsruhe.

The aim of the visit, which was held at the Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Computer Engineering (DEECE), was to strengthen relationships between CPUT, DHBW Ravensburg and DHBW Karlsruhe and to engage in further collaboration between the institutions. The visit centred around the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE).

The German delegation consisted of Prof Dr-Ing. Herbert Dreher, President DHBW Ravensburg, Prof Dr-Ing Stephan Schenkel, President DHBW Karlsruhe, Ingela Lundin, International Relations Officer, DHBW Ravensburg, Prof Dr Stephan Sauter, Industrial Engineering, DHBW Ravensburg and Prof Dr Thomas Dobbelstein, International Business, DHBW Ravensburg.

“For us it’s very important that we learn from each other,” said Dreher.

The CPUT delegation consisted of Dr David Phaho, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships, Prof Rishidaw Balkaran, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching, Prof Judy Peter, Director Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships, Prof Veruscha Fester, Assistant Dean: Research, Technology, Innovation and Partnerships, FEBE and several other representatives from the Faculty and from Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships.

Phaho welcomed the delegation and said the university wanted to ensure that it built on already great relationships.

Dobbelstein said his institution already has long-standing ties with the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, which includes, among other things, staff and student exchanges.

The delegation also had the opportunity to visit the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre

Earlier in the month a delegation from The Hague University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands and KU Leuven in Belgium visited CPUT and was also welcomed to DEECE.

The objective of the meeting was to renew the partnership agreement with CPUT in the areas of research, staff, and student exchange, amongst others.

The Dutch and Belgium delegation, which consisted of Sabine Amft (THUAS) Pepijn van Willigenburg, (THUAS) Annick Dexters (KU Leuven) and Albert van Oudheusden (UNSA) were welcomed by Prof Bingwen Yan (Acting) Assistant Dean: Teaching and Learning.

In his pursuit of constantly strategising new ways to reach and cultivate potential students, and to build a pipeline of diverse students, Dr Garth Van Gensen, Director: Marketing and Communication, leads a team of student recruiters in their outreach, and ensures timely delivery of essential information to prospects.

Van Gensen recently took a sho’t left to the revered Soqhayisa Senior Secondary School, which has become a spirited mainstay of the learning landscape in the pulsating society of the coastal city of Gqeberha. The school is a propelling nucleus of intellectual evolution and advancement for a number of learners.

In 2023, the school from Motherwell in Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality in the Eastern Cape, achieved a 100% matric pass for the fourth consecutive year. In the past, the school was known for all the wrong things, but is now an outstanding example.

It has been reported by Media24 that when Mlungisi Nopote, the school's principal took over the reigns in 2008, he vowed the school would produce pleasant results and to transform its bad name. “When I got here in 2008, we only had about 275 pupils but now we have 1 600 pupils. In grade 12, there were about 22 pupils but now we have more than 300 pupils. It’s because of hard work and discipline. I believe that teaching is God’s work. It is what God wants and we must make sure as teachers that we are teaching the learners,” Nopote was quoted.

Reflecting on his trip, Van Gensen said: “The trip there was a breeze, and the members of the community were very helpful and accommodating.” He held an introductory meeting with the principal, and “[Nopote] was very excited about the prospects of having some kind of partnership with CPUT. “Both his children graduated here [CPUT]. A follow-up meeting is on the cards sooner rather than later.”

For now, there is an eager willingness from the school to have some agreement/partnership with CPUT.

The Centre for Tourism Research in Africa recently hosted the 7th International Conference (ICTR) on Tourism Research which served as a vital platform for scholars, researchers, practitioners, and industry experts from around the world to converge and engage in meaningful dialogue on the multifaceted field of tourism at the iconic Cape Town Hotel School

The participants came from 22 countries. In person attendance included delegates from Canada, Portugal, Nigeria, Poland, Tanzania, Australia, India, USA, Germany, Qatar, Turkey and South Africa. Virtual attendees included participants from Brazil, Bulgaria, Oman, Italy, Finland, Peru, Vietnam, Cyprus, Sri Lanka and Austria. On the first day, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Prof Rishidaw Balkaran, provided the welcoming address and said: “Welcome to you…Thank you very much, I am looking forward to the presentations, all the best, please have fun at the same time, enjoy Cape Town. Colleagues online I wish you well as well.”

Dean: Faculty of Business and Management Sciences (FBMS), Prof Paul Green, opened the second day of the conference, and said: “We are thrilled to embark on this journey of exploration, collaboration, and innovation in the realm of tourism. Today's event promises to be a captivating odyssey, as we delve into the multifaceted landscapes of tourism across various streams. Our agenda is thoughtfully curated to offer insights, provoke discussions, and inspire actionable ideas for the advancement of tourism research and practice…

“Thank you for joining us on this exhilarating journey. Let's ignite the flames of discovery and innovation together!” Amongst the keynote speakers were:

  • Dr Kamilla Swart, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar: The Future of the Olympic Games - When will it be Africa’s turn?
  • Prof Kaitano Dube, Vaal University of Technology: Opportunities and Challenges of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Tourism and Hospitality Research.
  • Prof Ike Ezeuduji, University of Zululand: Bleisure Travel Reimagined: Implications for Research.
  • Prof Catheryn Khoo, Torrens University, Australia: Contested HIStory: Representation in HERitage Tourism.

Swart said presenting at the ICTR was a rewarding experience, with valuable exchanges that enriched “my perspective on global tourism trends and research while at the same time highlighting perspectives from the global South”.

The Programme Chair, Dr Chris Hattingh-Niekerk, who is also a Senior Lecturer: Event Management, said the conference sought to foster a collaborative environment that encourages the exchange of cutting-edge research, innovative ideas, and best practices in the realm of tourism. Hattingh-Niekerk said through its diverse range of sessions and presentations, this conference aimed “to advance our understanding of the complex dynamics within the tourism industry, explore emerging trends and challenges, and develop sustainable solutions.”

By bringing together a global community of experts, he said the conference not only promoted knowledge dissemination but also facilitated networking opportunities and interdisciplinary collaborations. “Ultimately, the International Conference on Tourism Research played a pivotal role in shaping the future of tourism by promoting research-driven insights that can enhance the industry's resilience, sustainability, and positive impact on local communities and economies.”

Throughout the conference, there were vibrant discussions on various topics, including the importance of sustainable tourism practices in mitigating environmental impact, the role of technology in enhancing visitor experiences, and strategies for preserving cultural heritage while promoting tourism. Prof Catheryn Khoo from Torrens University in Australia, whose research on “Contested HIStory: representation in HERitage tourism” sparked an interesting debate around how tourism places have traditionally privileged certain men’s (white, heterosexual, masculine) travel experience.

“As the host of the conference, I was particularly struck by the diverse range of perspectives and innovative approaches shared by participants. Witnessing the exchange of ideas and the collective commitment to advancing responsible and sustainable tourism practices reinforced the importance of such gatherings in driving positive change within the industry,” Hattingh-Niekerk remarked.

He added that hosting an international conference showcased the FBMS’ commitment to academic excellence. “It demonstrates our institution's ability to convene leading experts, researchers, and scholars from around the world, creating a platform for the exchange of groundbreaking ideas and research findings.”

Hattingh-Niekerk continued: “The decision to host the 7th ICTR in Cape Town, South Africa, was not only an opportunity to advance The Centre for Tourism Research in Africa and CPUT's academic standing but also a chance to bolster our country's reputation as a leading destination for research, innovation, and sustainable tourism practices.”

Parents and teachers of learners from five schools in Atlantis and numerous guests joined CPUT and ASEZCo in their Atlantis Special Economic Zone STEAM Project certificate award ceremony and competition event held in Saxonsea Secondary School recently.

The CPUT and ASEZCo have joined forces to ignite a passion for Maths and Science among the youth in Atlantis. This collaborative initiative aimed to foster innovation and offer tailored support for about 40 Atlantis youth with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) extra curriculum education. The learning interventions included but is not limited to Entry Level Electronics; Introduction to Programming; Physical Computing; Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Grade 8 learners. The STEAM project provided hands-on learning opportunities that promote creativity, motivate discovery, and increase knowledge retention alike.

  • The objectives of the STEAM interventions were to:
  • Challenge learners to think critically.
  • Motivate learners to be attracted to STEAM careers.
  • Enable learners to integrate cross-disciplinary knowledge to solve problems.
  • Promote a learn-by-doing approach.
  • Enable learners to participate in real-world projects.
  • Give an opportunity to basic education learners to learn from each other, across different schools, while taking an active role in the development of emerging technology and groundbreaking research; and
  • Make STEAM attractive to basic education learners, so that the learners can continue doing STEAM until Matric.

In the closing ceremony the learners showcased their Robotics skills with a friendly competition. Four teams competed against each other in a quest to be the STEAM champions of Atlantis. ASEZco Business Development Executive, Jarrod Lyons, provided an overview of ASEZ and the STEAM programme, and said his company was committed to real and impactful change in the community. “This change will be brought by ASEZco’s ability to contribute to an enabling ecosystem, which requires skills and enterprise development at its heart.”

Prof Driekie Hay-Swemmer, Executive Director: Office of the Vice-Chancellor,gave an overview of CPUT and the CPUT STEM programme. Hay-Swemmer, also paid special tribute to the Advancement Department for their sterling job in making the project a success. “I am so proud of you, and I am so proud to be your line manager, and to see the work that you’re doing and the legacies that you’re leaving behind. Staff from the Centre for Civil Engagement and Community Service, whenever there is something that we want them to do within the communities, they’re just there. And they are absolutely fantastic people to work with.”

She continued: “This is indeed a very very special afternoon.”

Addressing the learners, Hay-Swemmer said: “My message is simple here this afternoon, you can do it, you’ve already done it. Don’t’ settle for less in your life. The sky is really the limit if there is a limit or ceiling on you. Whatever you dream and think of and desire through hard work, be surrounded by positive people, people that will build you, it’s possible… Don’t give up on your dreams…You are good, you are bright enough and you’re smart enough. Well-done to everyone here and also to the parents. CPUT is proud to be associated with all of you and we are going to take a keen interest to see where life is going take you.”

Prof Bennett Alaxander, Deputy Dean: Faculty of Informatics and Design, also gave an overview of the IT industry (from learning to work/business) for young people. Meanwhile Prof

Andile Mji Dean, Faculty of Education, CPUT gave an overview of the Education sector, urging parents to encourage their children to choose Maths and Science as subjects of choice and discouraged them in taking Maths Literacy as their choice.

Chanelle September, project beneficiary, said: “I would like to thank you for this opportunity and thank you to everyone for making this project a success. This has really been a great experience. During these past few months we as the STEAM, we have learned a lot from extraordinary people.”

The Executive Director in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Driekie Hay-Swemmer, and Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships Directorate recently hosted Anja Bouron, Head of Corporate and International Relations & Career Services, Fernfachhochschule Schweiz, Zürich, Switzerland.

Manager: International Relations, Dr Tasmeera Singh, said since CPUT does not have active partnerships with universities in Switzerland, the meeting with Fernfachhochschule (FFHS) was “greatly welcomed”. Singh said the focus areas of the FFHS such as virtual exchanges, Collaborative Online International Learning and the discourse on intercultural competence are aligned to CPUT's internationalisation goals.

“[This] can be achieved in a mutually beneficial way with the proposed partner institution.”

The meeting started with a formal welcoming and introductions by Prof Dina Burger, Director of the Research Development Directorate, who said: “We are indeed very delighted that you chose to come to CPUT, and we are very keen to have conversations with you. We are also very honoured today because we are joined by our Executive Director in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Hay-Swemmer…

“The objective of our discussion is actually quite simple and exciting and that is to discuss academic synergies between the two institutions, and we believe there is quite a number of synergies, the distance education component on the one hand, which presents us with perhaps something to consider in terms of new business development as the university because we are not a traditional distance education institution here.

“And then of course, the whole notion of undertaking our learning and teaching, and our research towards high impact, in other words, it’s a research that has relevance for society and business and financially can be applied.”

Hay-Swemmer acknowledged her excitement and honour to host the international guests. She also boasted that CPUT has been recently listed as the highest ranked university of technology in Africa.

Singh was also impressed with the common actionable academic synergies and areas of collaboration which were identified in the meeting to initiate the process of partnership development. A template of the memorandum of understanding was also presented to the FFHS for further engagement and “hopefully, we will be able to sign a MOU in the near future,” said the manager of international relations at CPUT.

The CPUT delegation also included Dr Elma Maleka, Manager: Research Uptake and Dingaan Booi, International Relations Officer both from SIP Directorate.

With the round-robin games stage of the 2024 FNB Varsity Shield competition nearing its end, FNB CPUT find themselves in unfamiliar territory.

The 2023 runners-up have only won one match and are having to hope for a few balls to hop in their favour.

They will be facing FNB WSU at the CPUT Bellville Stadium on 5 April. CPUT will be hoping to get the most log points from their remaining matches.

Under the mentorship of head coach Alastair Theys, CPUT won back-to-back Varsity Shield titles in 2019 and 2021 while placing as runners-up in 2022 and 2023.

They admit this year things have been decidedly different.

"It has been a tough campaign for us with a lot of challenges, but the boys are in a positive space.

“We have seen great improvements from just the TUT game to the UFH fixture and despite losing the game against UFH, there are a lot of positives to take from it. One of which is that we are hoping that we can keep on improving and pick up two or three wins, to end off well.

“It is the first time we find ourselves in this situation, it is unknown territory from which we have been learning. The main thing, however, is that the guys are positive."

A host of top CPUT players who were prominent in the 2019-2023 period have moved on. This has left Theys, and his experienced assistant coaches Jongikhaya Nokwe and Jerome Paarwater, with virtually a new team.

Roland van der Heever, currently playing for FNB Maties while completing his honours at Stellenbosch University, was part of a formidable and reliable loose trio combination with Ché Klaasen and former captain Keanan Solomons. At the back, fullback Caine Stadler, nippy scrumhalf Hugan Engelbrecht and speedster Heinrico Hartogh have all left massive gaps.

Ahead of the 2024 season Theys said that the current crop of players is very young and that the team will need to build strong combinations, gain experience, and have that team chemistry that only comes from playing together for a few seasons.

Written by Varsity Shield

It is extreme passion, dedication and enthusiasm about the subject areas that he teaches, as well as seeing his postgraduate students excel in their research projects that won Marketing Department Lecturer, Prof Rodney Duffett, three awards in the Faculty of Business & Management Sciences Faculty Achiever Awards 2023.

At this glittering ceremony, which was held at the Cape Town Hotel School recently, Duffett scooped the Teaching Excellence Award, Researcher of the Year Award, and the Supervisor of the Year Award. The Achiever Awards function is an annual event and is held to recognise and acknowledge staff for their research achievements, innovative teaching methods and consistent and exceptional administrative skills. A structured and accountable process was ensured by which individuals were selected for their prowess in research, teaching and learning and administration in the faculty. This is an annual event that has begun in 2021.

FBMS Dean, Prof Paul Green, opened the event with a warm welcome to all guests, who included Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships Dr David Phaho and Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Prof Rishi Balkaran, assistant deans, heads of departments, awardees and Guest Speaker, Prof Linda Ronnie, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning at the University of Cape Town.

In his welcome address, Green said at the heart of the evening’s celebration lied the recognition of excellence in three vital areas: research, teaching, and administration. “We take this opportunity to honour and acknowledge the remarkable contributions of our faculty members who have demonstrated exceptional prowess and dedication in their respective fields. These awards are a testament to their relentless pursuit of excellence and their unwavering commitment to the advancement of knowledge and education.”

He said the process of selection had been rigorous, yet fair and transparent, reflecting “our commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity and excellence”.

“As we embark on this evening's programme, I encourage each and every one of you to embrace the spirit of celebration and camaraderie. Let us come together to honour the achievements of our colleagues and to draw inspiration from their success.”

Reflecting on his achievements, the modest Duffett, who was the shining star of the night, said: “I was very humbled and surprised, especially in terms of the research awards, as I felt that there were others in the FMBS who may have had a better year than I did in terms of research supervision and output”. He believes that with total commitment and hard work, it is possible to achieve anything, “provided to you to do it as if working for the Lord (Colossians 3:23–24), so my faith plays a fundamental part in who I am and is the major driving force behind my success”.

Duffett also believes that there are many staff in the Marketing Department, FBMS, and CPUT who are doing fantastic work, but it is just a matter of keeping a detailed record and evidence of everything “that you do so that you are able to write it up when the opportunities arise to apply for the various awards”.

All awardees received a certificate and a monetary grant to be used for work-related purposes:

  • Research Department of the Year: Tourism and Events Management.
  • Researcher of the Year: Prof Rodney Duffett.
  • Emerging Researcher of the Year: Dr Christiaan Hattingh-Niekerk.
  • Supervisor of the Year: Prof Rodney Duffett.
  • Top Doctoral Student of the Year: Dr Maritsa Grewe.
  • Top Master’s Student of the Year: Rentia Van Heerden.
  • Runner Up Master’s Student of the Year: Ilanza Perold.
  • Administration Assistant of the Year: Lungiswa Antonie.
  • Secretary of the Year: Nicole Arendse and Fazeela Salie.