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The winners of the Student Life and Residential Services Academic Awards were celebrated at a glittering luncheon hosted by the Residence Department at the Bellville Campus.

The annual event is aimed at encouraging academic giants (students) who reside at student residences to excel in their studies. Head of Department: Student Housing at Bellville campus, Zandile Jacobs, said they were honouring students who have done well academically across all campuses. “We’re doing this to motivate those [students] who are not doing well. People must jack up. Make sure that you are not working for 50% pass mark but do your best,” said Jacobs as he motivated other students to follow in the footsteps of the winners. The winners were rewarded with trophies, certificates and cash.

Chairperson of the academic awards committee in residences, Alfonce Ngasirmoi, said the vision of the Residence Department was to provide high quality accommodation in which holistic student development is promoted, whilst their mission was to work in partnership with other stakeholders and create an environment where safety, academic and social development and appreciation of diversity are upheld.

“This is in admiration of residence students who have excelled in their university academics as an exemple to others, also it’s a way of motivating other students to perform better,” said Ngasirmoi.

The winners are selected by a committee comprised of staff from Residence Department. The students are honoured under the following categories: students who passed all their subjects with an average of 75% from first year to master’s level.

  • Best performing first-year student
  • Best performing second-year student
  • Best performing third-year student
  • Best performing fourth-year student

This year, there were 282 applicants of which 105 made all the criteria to be awarded having achieved an aggregate of 75% in all their subjects since they registered in their first year to be considered for the prestigious awards, of which four from each category received R5000 each. The overall best performing students who were recognised as the Top 4 Academic Giants were Thandile Tile, Palesa Lebenya, Avuyile Stemela and Maeteko Lebea.

Addressing the students, Dean of the Faculty of Education, Prof Andile Mji told the students that they were “the cream of the crop the nation produced from Matric and how they should never drop the ball but needed to maximise the privilege of the best education they received”.

“We want you to respect education and strive to do better and better, you are the future of this country. We would like to encourage you, the cream of the crop to become the best in your fields of studies. Please take this and run, don’t waste your time in all the periphery things that the world offers,” Mji remarked.

Dean of Applied Sciences, Prof Joseph Kioko opened his speech with poignant words which urged the students to continue to be humble.

“What a great honour to be here among giants. And everyone here is a giant. But I want us also to be humble – we are not the only giants.”

Kioko continued: “And as we honour academic giants, it does not take away the giant-ness of others. So, I am honoured to be in the midst of all the giants in here… So, as we celebrate the academic giants here, we are celebrating giants among giants. The crème de la crème. I know from experience that such success does not happen in an instant but is the result of hard work, persistence, sacrifices, sometimes difficult choices. But it is the same in life. What we sow is what we reap.”

Kioko also reminded the students that academic excellence is not something one can achieve quickly, or once for all time. “It is a continuous process. Research has confirmed that perpetual practice improves cognitive function, memory and even students’ grades.”

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Lecturer shares his proud legacy

Being his first experience as a novice researcher presenting at a national conference, Clive Brown is proud to have presented three papers at the South African Education Research Association (SAERA) 9th annual conference, which took place recently.

The SAERA conference themed: Education in Transition: Challenges and Opportunities, was hosted by the Faculty of Education of the University of the Western Cape, at the Two Oceans Aquarium Conference Centre at the V&A Waterfront.

Brown, Faculty of Education Intermediate Phase Teaching Practice Coordinator, who is currently completing a Doctorate in Philosophy at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN),regards himself as a novice researcher, and submitted three abstracts to the SAERA Local Organising Committee and had all three papers successfully accepted.

The titles of his papers, which are related to his ongoing PhD studies, are as follows:

  • Enhancing teacher education quality: Comparative student reflections on well-being (Clive Brown and Prof. Hanlie Dippenaar- Deputy Dean of Education)
  • Knowing complexly: Methodological transitions to arts-based representations of educational research (Clive Brown and Prof. Michael Anthony Samuel- UKZN).
  • Re-imagining the Teaching Practicum in the new post-COVID era: Developing partnerships in Teacher Education (Clive Brown, Dr Marinda Swart- Stadio and Prof Michael Anthony Samuel- UKZN).

The first paper explored the context of the CPUT through a comparative perspective of two campuses: Wellington and Mowbray. The second paper was part of an international panel looking at arts-based methodologies as an alternative form of representation. It involved panellists from the Mauritius Institute of Education, UKZN, CPUT and a respondent from Nelson Mandela University. The third paper presented a proposal for a national teaching practicum framework. Brown says this framework recommends a coordinated national response involving many stakeholders, such as the Department of Basic Education, Higher Education institutions, schools and the South African Council for Educators. The proposal includes teaching practicum and induction considerations for newly-qualifying and newly-qualified teachers.

He says the papers were well-received and that the commentary on the presentations provided insight into how daily challenges within a local Faculty of Education reverberate with similar needs across other research contexts, suggesting the need for dialogue, collaboration and coordination.

Brown was “honoured” to have co-presented with Prof Michael Anthony Samuel, who, at the Gala dinner, was awarded the SAERA Recognition Award for distinctive contribution towards educational research development. “This award sets benchmarks for the kind of researcher we should all become”.

“This conference was my first experience as a novice researcher presenting at a national conference. It revealed how enriching it was to share my ideas with leading scholars who generously offered critique and redirection for my studies. I encourage other novice researchers to participate in special activities organised by the SAERA organisation to support our development as early career researchers,” he observed.

Brown was particularly struck by how senior research leaders such as Prof Shireen Motala: SARCHI- Chair for Teaching in Learning in Higher Education, Prof Linda Chisolm: Director for Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, Prof Maureen Robinson: SAERA President, Prof Lee Rusznyak: Architect of the Teachers Choices in Action Model, Prof Labby Ramrathan: SAERA former president and Prof Nyna Amin: UKZN Academic Leader: Research contribute willingly to supporting the next generation of younger academics.

“I look forward to my next conferences to continue the networks I have established with various institutions locally and abroad.”

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

CPUT Libraries hosts successful seminar

CPUT recently hosted the 2nd Research and Information Literacy Skills in the Workplace Seminar.

The hybrid event brought together industry partners, academics and librarians and attracted more than 250 participants.

“As we focus on preparing our students for industry, one of the important aspects, besides their chosen fields, is the ability to research and use information in the workplace. It is also important that industry and libraries have a dialogue regarding information skills in the workplace to ensure the academic sector, including academic libraries, understand the nature of these requirements,” said Janine Lockhart, Library Manager: Research Support and Faculty of Applied Sciences at CPUT.

“The purpose of this seminar is therefore to have open discussions between librarians, academics and industry partners with regards to research and information literacy skills within the workplace. Through this engagement we are hoping that members of industry can help us to ensure that we know and understand what skills are needed and how these skills are used within the workplace. This dialogue will inform the broader university community to improve and enhance curriculum development in information literacy so that we can produce graduates who can make a positive impact within the workplace.”

In his opening remarks, Prof Elisha Chiware, Director: CPUT Libraries, said the (Covid-19) lockdowns had created new opportunities for academic and research libraries globally to rethink how they deliver services to their clients to support learning, teaching, research and innovation and community engagement.

“We are also learning more of the demands from industry, especially in the areas of empowering all our graduates who are entering the workplace to be more tech savvy and especially in the area of data literacy.

He said one of the key emerging areas in almost all domains is the ability of any new employee to be able to handle data especially in how they source it, evaluate it, organise and interpret it as well as producing meaningful reports and providing their seniors with data for decision-making.

Dr David Phaho, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships delivered the official welcome.

“It is one thing to have a vast treasure trove of information resources at our disposal. There is still a need for students, researchers and scholars to constantly upgrade or upskill their knowledge to ensure proper, effective and efficient access to these resources. Technology innovations are evolving, so must our skills set to ensure we are not left behind on the information highway.”

The keynote speaker was Dennis Ocholla, Professor of Information Studies: University of Zululand. The title of his presentation was: The Three Sisters. Partnership between Research, Library and Library Information Science Education towards Information Literacy skills in the workplace.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Students empower communities

Second-year Food Production and Service Operations (Programme Consumer Science: Food and Nutrition) students recently convened a catering workshop for members of the Weskusmandjie at District Six campus.

The Weskusmandjie consists of a group of subsistence fisherwomen, founded in 2018 by entrepreneur Hilda Adams, and is based at St. Helena Bay, Steenbergs Cove and Buffeljags Bay. The women rely on their familiarity with and knowledge of the ocean to produce home-made food items such as sour fig (suurvytjie) jam, pickled alikreukel (giant periwinkle), and rollmops (pickled herring fillets). The group use local raw materials to produce the products which are marketed via the ABALOBI Pantry, a digital platform for fishery product marketing.

Programme Service-Learning Coordinator, Raché Hanekom, said that after a round-table discussion with the women, a need was raised with the Weskusmandjie members to develop catering knowledge and/or skills. Six members of Weskusmandjie attended the workshop.

Hanekom said members of Weskusmandjie demonstrated a snoek fish cake recipe, which linked well with the Food: Science and Practice 1 curriculum content. The day was celebrated with a feast table to showcase the products produced.

Student, Lithalam Nxano said the service learning was really helpful in terms of teaching how busy things can be in the industry. “It showed the importance of time management and the importance of working as a team.”

Monday, 14 November 2022

Smart Engagements

The Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences (FBMS), Prof Paul Green, recently hosted a delegation from Tshwane University of Technology’s Faculty of Management Sciences, led by the Executive Dean, Dr Edgar Nesamvuni.

The purpose of the meeting was to establish SMART engagements and collaboration between the universities. In the higher education environment where resources have been dwindling, both Deans expressed the intention to build partnerships to leverage each other’s strengths as an avenue for growth.

The meeting followed an open agenda with Green showcasing the FBMS, using the faculty video, followed by a presentation from Nesamvuni.

In the discussions that ensued, similarities in programmes, challenges with supervision capacity, strategies to improve staff qualifications and third-stream income generation were shared.

Both parties concurred that the meeting was beneficial and that further collaboration would follow. Green and Nesamvuni agreed to pursue a Memorandum of Agreement as a next step to formalise the engagement between the two universities.

Monday, 14 November 2022

Learning from the past

Students in the Department of Architectural Technology and Interior Design recently visited three Cape Town neighbourhoods to learn about the different housing typologies in these communities and how they were impacted by apartheid.

Junior lecturer Abigail Roberts said the Extended Curriculum Programme students visited three neighbourhoods – Langa, Pinelands and Ndabeni and the objectives were for students to learn about the history of these neighbourhoods and the factors that influenced the housing typologies and architecture styles.

“They then had to draw up a strip elevation which showed the relationship of boundary lines, pavement sizes and front yard sizes etc.”

Earlier this year the students also visited the District Six Museum Homecoming Centre and the Bo-Kaap Museum.

Roberts said the aim was for students to learn about the history of these areas and the people that lived in them to allow students to better understand how to support them from an Interior design and Architectural Technology perspective. These areas then became the sites for the students’ mobile home assignment.  

“The mobile home assignment was for Interior Design and Architectural Technology students to design a mobile home for their chosen community, which was either Bo-Kaap or District Six. The point of visiting these areas was for students to learn about the history of these communities and how this heavily impacted the architecture and interior design. Students then had to design a mobile home which celebrated these areas in their respective manners. They are currently concluding the design and technical drawings and will end the year with a model representing their mobile home.”

A third-year Visual Communication Design student was selected as a finalist in the Graphic Design section of the IPSA Student Gold Pack competition.

Lea de Vries was a finalist in the category: Packaging that Informs and Motivates.

Lecturer Wayne Coughlan said the competition was used as a project in the Design Specialisation 3D subject.

“By participating in the Graphic Design section of the IPSA Student Gold Pack competition, Graphic Design students gain a wider insight into the interesting world of packaging and are exposed to a career within the packaging and design industry. Participation will add a vital example of their skills to their CVs, portfolios as well as having their institution recognised by the organisers and the wider design industry,” said Coughlan.

For her entry, Lea chose to redesign the Woolworths flavoured Tuna range, which is packaged in sachets.

“I did some research and came to the conclusion that the tuna sold in Woolworths, is caught using only one specific method known as Pole and Line. This method is the most sustainable way of catching tuna, as tuna is caught one at a time and if some other species is caught, it can be thrown back while still alive and unharmed.

She said this leads to less bycatch and a more sustainable form of fishing in general. “This information is indicated on these packages, but I feel like this deserves to be the star of this packaging. No other store in South Africa can say they sell tuna that was caught sustainably, and Woolworths is also the only store whose tuna is certified green by SASSI.”

Lea chose to do three flavours. Two of the flavours, Mexican Salsa and Black Pepper and Lime dressing already exist. Lea came up with her own third flavour, Garlic and Fennel.

“The colours I chose correspond to some part of the flavour – red being salsa, yellow

being a garlic/ fennel middle ground and green for lime. The image I chose to use on the pack is of fishermen catching tuna by Pole and Line. This clearly conveys the image of how the tuna is caught in this very specific way. The name ‘Pole & Line’ is bold because this is the name of this new range that I have created. This will place more focus on the fact that this tuna is the best choice regarding tuna.”

She said the addition of fun colours make the packaging more eye-catching and would contribute to motivating customers to purchase it.

“The reason I chose this product to create packaging for, is because I believe it is quite a unique choice and I also believe sustainable fishing is very important for the future of our oceans. I also love challenges and thought that designing a sachet and creating a mock-up for it, would be quite fun.”