Edgewood Students Present at Research Seminar

Edgewood Students Present at Research Seminar
Students in Biological Sciences for Educators 420 presented their research during a seminar on the Edgewood campus.

Biological Sciences for Educators 420 students presented their work at a seminar presentation on the Edgewood campus as part of their Research and Service Learning module for this semester. 

Lecturer Dr Angela James, said the students were engaged in developing knowledge and skills about researching and service-learning during the module.  

‘They were also exposed to innovative, motivational learning actions where theme songs and YouTube videos were used for each term. They interacted on the Bio 420 Facebook page, ad created a rap song on service-learning and another on research. Students chose their placement sites and these included crèches, children’s homes, an old age home, the UKZN campus, primary schools, high schools and other non-governmental organisations,’ said James.  

Topics ranged from an exploration of the development of a healthy lifestyle programme among female students at a UKZN campus to investigating the development of an environmental programme for children in a school at a township in Pinetown and exploring the physical and social activity of the elderly.   

Mr Wilson Mzobe’s group looked at Investigating and developing an awareness of recycling practices among residence students at UKZN.  

‘We want to change students’ thinking about recycling because they see it as the duty of the cleaners only. We want them to be equipped with relevant information about looking after the environment when they leave our residences for the workplace. We want them to know how recycling can benefit them and us as South Africans in terms of the economy as well as how recycling can contribute to the reduction of environmental issues such global warming,’ said Mzobe.  

The findings of their research showed that some students were aware of recycling but lacked appropriate knowledge on how to recycle their household waste. ‘This allowed us to suggest and recommend various strategies that need to be implemented in our campus in order to improve their recycling practices such as using waste products like egg cartons to create sculptures.’ 

The seminar proved to be a success and was well attended. 

-           Melissa Mungroo

 


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New Zealand Academic Speaks at UKZN on Greek History

New Zealand Academic Speaks at UKZN on Greek History
Classics Professor Matthew Trundle of New Zealand who presented two guest lectures at UKZN.

The Classics Programme within the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) recently hosted the visit of Professor Matthew Trundle from the Department of Classics at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.  

Trundle presented guest lectures to UKZN staff and students on: “The Archaeology and History of the Great Sanctuary of Poseidon at Isthmia, and Coinage and the Transformation of Greek Religion”.  

His first Lecture explored the ways in which the introduction and spread of coinage shaped and transformed the religious lives of Greek sanctuaries, religious communities and religious practices from the sixth to the fourth centuries BC.  

‘Just as coinage transformed the military and politics, and brought with it both professionals and democratisation, so too coins facilitated larger, more coordinated festivals and the ability of sanctuaries to top-slice and redistribute resources more effectively, or to store assets from the sale of donations or sacrificed animal skins for longer periods of time,’ said Trundle.  

He also explained that coinage replaced prestige items used in rituals and sacrifice, pointing out inscriptions from sanctuaries such as Eleusis which show how coins functioned as markers of value in the accounts of religious activities.  

‘Coins enabled mobility in a world in which land had once provided status and prestige and so facilitated new cults in urban environments, themselves a product of more monetised economies.’   The discussion showed how traditional religious practices incorporated and used coins and the effects this had on ancient Greek religious practice. 

In his second Lecture, Trundle looked at “Isthmia”, one of the four great Panhellenic games sites in ancient Greece. He discussed its geographic location at the Isthmus near Corinth which provided easy access to and from all parts of the Greek world. The Isthmian Games were probably the best attended of any of the Greek athletic festivals, including Olympia, in the Classical period.   

‘It was a place of great strategic importance on the main road from the Peloponnese to Athens and central Greece.  As a result Isthmia enjoyed great prestige throughout antiquity and especially under the Roman Empire.  The site has only been excavated since the 1950s.’ 

His Lecture went on to explore these excavations and what they have revealed about the site and the importance of the sanctuary.  Both his lectures were well attended and well-received by staff and students.  

-           Melissa Mungroo


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Students Examined During Musical

Students Examined During Musical
Music students performing for their practical examinations.

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) music students were given a platform to display what they would take to schools as future educators when they performed in a production titled: “Taking Musical Talent to Schools”. 

Their performances were assessed for their practical examinations during the production put on at the Margaret Martin Lecture Theatre on the Edgewood campus. The production looked at South African school choral music which focuses on different types of singing styles such as opera, pop and traditional African music. 

The students were divided into three groups whose vocal training ranged from opera to jazz/pop and to African music.   

‘Since these students have studied music pedagogy they have gained the capacity to teach music in schools. They are indeed taking their music talent to schools where they will train and nurture young growing singing voices with the aim of developing music talent,’ explained Dr Yolisa Nompula, Head of Arts Education at UKZN. 

One of the highlights was a vocal performance by the opera students of Sole Mio, a globally known Neapolitan song composed by Eduard di Capua and lyrics written by Giovanni Capurro. 

Asked about how the creation and execution of the production would assist the aspirant educators, Nompula said: ‘The students enjoy performing for such big audiences so they were given an opportunity to participate in the production to help them develop team spirit and leadership skills. It was a platform for them to share their musical talent, to develop self-confidence, and a sense of belonging and pride as future music teachers.’ 

Nompula hopes the students will be accompanied by the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra next year.  

-           Melissa Mungroo 


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SRPC Organises Promotion and NRF Rating Application Workshop

SRPC Organises Promotion and NRF Rating Application Workshop
Presenters and researchers at the workshop.

The School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) organised a promotions and NRF rating applications workshop for its staff. A first for UKZN, the workshop highlighted processes and procedures necessary for promotion and NRF rating applications. 

Dean and Head of the School, Professor Johannes Smit, said: ‘The driver for this workshop was that when academics are ready to apply for a promotion, they are usually also ready to also apply for an NRF rating. 

‘Since promotion assumes meeting University benchmarks set by Senate for the different academic levels, it simultaneously flags the readiness of our staff to also meet or even exceed the NRF benchmarks of the different rating categories.’ 

Smit pointed out that there were five major NRF rating categories: A, B, C, P, and Y. A-rated researchers comprise those unequivocally recognised by their peers as leading international scholars in their field for the high quality and impact of their recent research outputs.  

C-rated researchers are established researchers with a sustained recent record of productivity in the field and who are recognised by their peers as having produced a body of quality work, the core of which has coherence and attests to on-going engagement within the field.  

The P category contains researchers usually younger than 35 while the Y category contains those under 40.  According to Smit, the process that leads to a rating is fair but rigorous. The rating outcome is the result of a peer reviewed system with inbuilt checks and balances ensuring the rating is a fair reflection of the value attached to an academics’s research.  

In his presentation, Professor Gerald West, a B-rated researcher, pointed out that even though the purpose of the application was to achieve a rating, an important secondary purpose was the conceptualising of one’s work.  

‘An application provides an academic with the opportunity to critically reflect and delimit their field of specialisation and also whether their research is indeed focused. It also indicates whether the academic involved is systematically busy engaging the scientific domain and whether there is indeed on-going commitment to the relevant research themes aligned to the research focus,’ said West.  

With regard to the suggestion of reviewers being involved in an application to the NRF, West recommended that an applicant should rather not select an individual who would rave about their research but rather fellow academics who would be able to provide a considerate but fair academic assessment of research outputs.  

Professor Sarojini Nadar, the College of Humanities Dean of Research, addressed the workshop on issues related to both promotion and NRF rating applications. On the issue of promotion, she emphasised the care needed to be taken in compiling a teaching and learning portfolio as well as the evidence of the applicant’s research outputs.  

On promotion applications, Mrs Thiruveni Moodley of QPA, delivered an excellent presentation on the promotion application process, with special detailed explanations of the evaluation process of Teaching Portfolios that accompanied an application for promotion.  

‘There are mainly two trajectories through which one could apply - to be evaluated mainly on one’s research outputs, or on both research output and the evaluation of one’s teaching and learning,’ she said. ‘If one chooses to be evaluated solely on one’s research outputs, one still needs to prepare and submit a Teaching Portfolio. All our staff who apply for promotions must be excellent in Teaching and Learning, or at least score a “strength”.’ 

The SRPC has 13 rated NRF researchers and aims to have at least 20 by 2016.  

-          Melissa Mungroo


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Isizinda sezokuBhala (Writing Place) iklomelise abafundi bayo

<em>Isizinda sezokuBhala (Writing Place)</em> iklomelise abafundi bayo
Behlangene emcimbini wokuklomelisa (kusukela kwesokunxele) uMnu Siyabonga Mbambo; uNksz Saieshnee Chetty; uMnu Adarsh Maharaj; uNksz Nomvikelelo Kawula kanye noNksz Jessica Dore.

Isizinda Sezokubhala (Writing Place), esingaphansi kwehhovisi lezokuFunda nokuFundisa eNyuvesi, besibambe umcimbi wokuklomelisa abafundi abangaphansi kweKolishi yezeSintu abebethamele umhlangano wokucobelelana ngolwazi esigabeni sesibili sonyaka esifundisa ngokubhala kwezocwaningo.

Ngokusho komgqugquzeli we-WP uNksz Jessica Dore, baningi abafundi abangaphansi koMnyango wezabaKhubazekile eNyuvesi abebekhona, emva kwemizamo yokubaheha.

Bonke abafundi abangama-65 bathole izitifiketi zokuthamela, kwathi abathathu uNksz Saieshnee Chetty, uNksz Nomvikelelo Kawula kanye noMnu Siyabonga Mbambo bona bazitholele ama – vawusha enani lamakhulu amabili amarandi  R200 aka- Adams Bookstore ngemibhalo yabo eyayingenele umncintiswano.

‘Kungithusile ukuba ngomunye wabawinile kulo mncintiswano kodwa ngiyajabula kakhulu,’ kusho uMbambo. ‘Imihlangano yokucobelelana ngolwazi yesiZinda sezokuBhala (Writing Place) kufanele ithanyelwe yibo bonke abafundi ngoba iyasiza kakhulu ngezifundo.’

UChetty uthe: ‘ukuhambela lomhlangano wokucobelelana ngolwazi kube yinto enhle kakhulu kumina ngoba ingisize ngokubhala kwami ezifundweni ngiphinde ngiqonde kangcono ukubhala ngocwaningo. Ngingakhuthaza lemihlangano yokucobelelana ngolwazi  kubona bonke abafundi’

Isikhulumi sosuku, uMabhalane wezokuThuthukiswa kwezokuFunda (Academic Development Officer) wesiKole sezeziFundokuhlelwa koMumo weZakhiwo Nentuthuko (Built Environment and Development Studies), uMnu Adarsh Maharaj,  weluleke abafundi ukuba bazimisele uma befuna ukuphumelela.

‘Into ebaluleke kakhulu okufanele uyikhumbule ukuthi impumelelo yakho isemahlombe akho. Senizibeke endleleni yempumelelo ngakhoke sekufanele niqhubeke niyihambe, ukuhamba kwenu kuzophenduka igxathu, igxathu libe ukugijima konke kuzokwenzeka uma usebenza kanzima futhi unempokophelo.’

Uma ufuna ukuthola olunye ulwazi fonela umgqugquzeli weWP ku dore@ukzn.ac.za noma ufonele u031-260-2943/2413 ngezikhathi zokusebenza.

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Postgraduate Seminar Skills Students to Conduct Qualitative Research

Postgraduate Seminar Skills Students to Conduct Qualitative Research
Dr Given Mutinta delivering a presentation at the research seminar.

The School of Management, Information Technology and Governance (MIG) recently held a Postgraduate Research Seminar aimed at providing a formal context to facilitate capacity building in research knowledge and skills. 

The goal was to enhance the ability of masters and doctoral students to identify and meet postgraduate research challenges. The monthly Seminar intends to promote shared research reflections and insights to promote collective scholarly efforts and prepare postgraduate students for careers in academia.  It also aims to provide the context for obtaining foundation knowledge and experiences essential to conducting research and scholarship. 

Titled: “An Introduction to Qualitative Research”, the Seminar was designed to enable masters and doctoral students with little or no previous experience of research to gain a basic understanding of qualitative research and the potential for this type of research in postgraduate studies. The idea was to provide students with a basic understanding of qualitative research and equip them with sufficient information to appreciate how qualitative research is undertaken. 

This may in turn enable the students to consider the appropriateness of a qualitative approach to their chosen field of investigation.

‘In addition, the seminar was meant to provide masters and doctoral students contemplating or undertaking qualitative research for the first time with guidance on the collection and analysis of data,’ said Dr Given Mutinta who delivered a presentation on non-probability sampling methods.

Dr Mogie Subban spoke about the nature of qualitative research, and the strengths and weaknesses of such research in a brief comparison with quantitative research. This was followed by short descriptions of the main qualitative approaches.

Professor Debbie Vigar-Ellis gave a presentation on qualitative research data collection methods while Dr Shaun Ruggunan spoke on techniques for analysing and presenting information. 

-           Dr Given Mutinta


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UKZN Academic Appointed to Astronomy Advisory Council

UKZN Academic Appointed to Astronomy Advisory Council
Professor Kavilan Moodley.

UKZN’s Professor Kavilan Moodley has been appointed by the National Research Foundation (NRF) to its newly inaugurated Astronomy Advisory Council.  

This prestigious body will oversee and advise the NRF’s Astronomy sub-Agency. Working through the Deputy CEO: Astronomy and the Directors of the Astronomy National Facilities, the Council is mandated to provide strategic and technical advice to the NRF on Astronomy matters. 

Moodley is an Associate Professor in UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, based in its Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU).

‘The School is very proud of Professor Moodley's appointment to the Council,’ said Dean and Head of School, Professor Kesh Govinder.  ‘This appointment serves as appropriate acknowledgement of his pivotal role in driving development in Astronomy in South Africa. It also cements UKZN’s position as a significant site of Astronomy, both nationally and internationally.’ 

Said Moodley: ‘This appointment provides an excellent opportunity to guide the growth of the South African astronomy community into an international scientific force in this area. Building a world-class community of scholars and students to support this endeavour will be one of our key objectives.’ 

Other members of the Astronomy Advisory Council include Professor Renée Kraan-Korteweg of the University of Cape Town; Professor Romeel Davé of the University of the Western Cape; Professor Sergio Colafrancesco of the University of Witwatersrand; Professor Thebe Medupe and Professor Frikkie van Niekerk of the North West University; Professor David Davidson of Stellenbosch University;  Professor Mamokgethi Setati-Phakeng of the University of South Africa;  Professor Bo Peng  of the National Astronomical Observatories in China; and Professor George Miley of  Leiden University in the Netherlands. 

In addition, the NRF’s Deputy CEO: Astronomy, the Directors of the Astronomy National Facilities, the Director of the SA-SKA Project and a Department of Science and Technology (DST) representative will serve on the Council in ex officio capacities. The terms of the Council members will run from 1 November 2013 until 31 October 2016.

In light of South Africa’s strategic investment and involvement in astronomy, with the country hosting the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and the major share of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), and developing the African VLBI Network (AVN), the Council will strengthen the NRF’s ability to manage these initiatives on behalf of the country. 

The Council will also carry out its mandate in cooperation with other astronomy-related bodies such as the SA-SKA Steering Committee, the SA Large Telescope (SALT) Board, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Office of Astronomy for Development Steering Committee and the JIVE Consortium. 

CEO of the NRF, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, said: ‘The Council will assess critically the extent to which the Astronomy sub-Agency carries out its mandate in alignment with national strategic astronomy objectives, by ensuring that South Africa derives maximum benefit from its investments in astronomy, and that astronomy in South Africa grows to become truly globally competitive.’  

The Council will also facilitate collaborations across different wavelength regimes in astronomy; provide advice on technical innovations; and monitor transformation and human capacity development as well as engage with the broader astronomy community by holding periodic Astronomy Town Meetings. Their work will be guided by the DST Astronomy Desk’s ten-year strategic plan currently being developed by the astronomy community. Moodley is chairing the Astronomy Desk panel for Human Capacity Development in South African Astronomy. 

In marking the inauguration of the Astronomy Advisory Council, Dr Thomas Auf der Heyde, Deputy Director General, Department of Science and Technology, said: ‘The National Research and Development Strategy identifies astronomy as a scientific discipline in which South Africa has a geographic advantage.  This, therefore, warrants that our endeavours in this field are appropriately managed so as to ensure that the country and the scientific community derive maximum benefit and the Advisory Council will therefore play an important role in this regard.’ 

Auf de Heyde said the DST was pleased with the calibre of the people who have been appointed to serve on the Advisory Council. 

-          Sally Frost


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Santa Shoe Box Project

Santa Shoe Box Project
UKZN’s 2013 team of Santa’s helpers (from left, top row) Ms Amanda Madan; Ms Tammy Frankland; Ms Shereen Balkisson and Mr Wonderboy Makhaye; and (from left, bottom row) Ms Rowelda Donnelly; Ms Regan Dawson, Ms Adeshini McIntosh and Miss Nana Ngcobo.

Just recently a number of Pietermaritzburg staff and friends made online pledges to the Santa Shoe Box initiative to fill shoe boxes for children on their Christmas list.  

This is an amazing project that ensures the delivery of thousands of gifts to children in South Africa. The project is spearheaded by Dee Boehner the founder of the (Kidz2Kidz trust) and Irene Pieters the National Co-ordinator.  

The contents of the boxes include items such as stationery, toiletries, toys, clothing and sweets. ‘This year Santa Shoe Box reached their goal of 100 000 pledges for the first time and we were all thrilled to be a part of it.’

Our involvement in the project has grown from four people to twelve and we are confident that our team of Santa’s helpers will grow even more in 2014 – ensuring the contribution of more shoe boxes in the future from UKZN.  Registry Staff kindly offered to deliver the gifts to the drop off point in Pietermaritzburg.    

The 2013 team members were Mrs Amanda Madan, Postgrad Centre, Law & Management; Mrs Tammy Frankland, Registry; Mrs Shereen Balkisson, Human Resources: Agriculture, Engineering & Science; Mr Wonderboy Makhaye, Registry;  Mrs Rowelda Donnelly, African Centre for Crop Improvement; Ms Regan Dawson, Human Resources: Agriculture, Engineering & Science; Mrs Adeshini McIntosh, Human Resources: Agriculture, Engineering & Science; Miss Nana Ngcobo, Registry; Ms Noella Nair, Safety Health and Environment; Miss Nivana Nunkumar, Konica Minolta; Mrs Tammy Swain, ICFR; Mrs Verushka Naidoo, Konica Minolta; and Miss Navani Rajah Department of Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs. 

-          By Tammy Frankland


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UKZN Immunologist on MRC Board

UKZN Immunologist on MRC Board
Dr Zilungile Kwitshana.

UKZN Immunologist in the College of Health Sciences, Dr Zilungile Kwitshana, has been appointed to the Board of the South African Medical Research Council (MRC).  The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, appointed Kwitshana along with 15 others to serve on the board for the next three years. 

‘I am excited about the appointment, mostly because I have spent 14 years of my life at the MRC.  For me, this is an opportunity to give back to the organisation that helped to mould me as a scientist,’ said Kwitshana.  

The council’s mission is to improve the nation's health and quality of life through promoting and conducting relevant and responsive health research. Kwitshana is hopeful that she will contribute meaningfully towards MRC’s growth and its contribution towards a healthy nation.

As a Board Member, her duties will be to contribute towards overseeing the governance of the organisation and to make sure it adheres to its strategic plan for achieving its goals and mission.

She admitted it would be a challenging and worthwhile call for her to give back to the organisation that fostered her growth in the medical research field. At the same time, having had first-hand experience of the “old MRC” as an employee placed her at an advantage to help shape the “new MRC”.  

‘We are joining the organisation at a critical time, when it has just been restructured. The former Board and the acting CEO have done all the restructuring work, now as the current Board, we have to carry on championing what they have started.

‘My family is excited about my appointment, yet concerned that it might further keep me away from them. Like academics who have to juggle their roles of teaching and learning, research, administration, community and so on, one is always on the run and my family see this as another responsibility that will keep me on the road.’

Kwitshana, a Lecturer at the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, is currently mentoring Masters and PhD emerging researchers, striving to ensure that research projects address the problems facing South African communities.

She also serves on the Charles James Hospital Board, is one of the Founders of the National Parasite Control Task Team of the National Department of Health and UKZN, is an Editorial Board Member of the International Journal of Maternal and Child Health and HIV and AIDS, and  an External Clinical Reviewer for the Lancet Infectious Diseases, among other posts.  

-          Nombuso Dlamini


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Designing and Evaluating Quality Improvement Projects

Designing and Evaluating Quality Improvement Projects
IHI Senior Vice-President, Professor Pierre Barker.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) Senior Vice-President, Professor Pierre Barker, conducted a workshop at UKZN’s Innovation Centre Auditorium on Designing and Evaluating Quality Improvement (QI) Projects. 

Barker, a QI International Expert  based at the University of North Carolina in the United States, was invited by UKZN’s Centre for Rural Health and the 20 000 Plus Project to give a seminar on the design and evaluation of QI research. 

QI is the method by which health systems are improved in a specific context to implement generalisable medical evidence.  According to Barker, learning is a key activity to bring about improvement and it requires social change with interventions needing to be amended to local settings.  

‘Concepts rather than fixed protocols are a good starting point for people to test and learn how improvement interventions can be amended to their setting,’ he said. 

QI aims to bridge the gap between what professionals know and do and Barker said health professionals’ knowledge differed from their actions. ‘The primary role of QI is closing the knowledge-versus-action gap using evidence-based knowledge.’ 

His presentation focused on narrowing that gap and enabling health practitioners to improve their services through systems improvement. 

Barker shared a programme experience Project Fives Alive! which was conducted in Ghana. The project focused on the potential of front-line health workers to develop, test and implement strategies to overcome systems failures that lead to preventable deaths in children under the age of five years in Ghana. 

It aimed to reduce the mortality rate by 66 percent, from 110 per 1 000 live births in 1990 to less than 40 per 1 000 live births by 2015 through the application of QI methods. 

It was implemented in four successive waves over five years in the north of Ghana and eventually spread to all health facilities across the country, to cover an estimated 3.3 million children under the age of five.

The project staff assisted health providers and their managers to improve the coverage, quality, reliability and patient-centredness of health services for pregnant women and children under five.  

This was done by training, coaching and mentoring clinic, hospital, district and regional health staff on acquiring and applying quality improvement knowledge and skills to achieve goals over a 12 to 18-month period. The project made significant progress in antenatal, perinatal and neonatal care and in spreading the QI process across Ghana.

Centre for Rural Health Director, Dr Bernhard Gaede found Barker’s presentation stimulating. ‘It moved beyond the assumption of what works in a theoretical way or in a particular context can simply be provided in the health care system. Rather the approach asks the question of how we can implement complex interventions. Many good ideas fail because the way they are not implemented in a structured and coherent manner. Pierre’s presentation gave a glimpse to what can be done, particularly in low resource settings.’ 

Gaede said the presentation was particularly relevant to rural health which was comparatively resource poor. ‘Pierre’s demonstrated convincingly how innovation and improvement in the health care system can be led from peripheral settings.’ 

-          Nombuso Dlamini


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Accounting Students Showcase Skills for Prospective Employers

Accounting Students Showcase Skills for Prospective Employers
From left: Lecturer, Ms Navitha Sewpersadh, award recipient Ms Sheetal Paparam and Ernest and Young’s Human Resource Manager, Mr Jeremy Beukes.

The School of Accounting Economics and Finance at the Pietermaritzburg campus, in partnership with accounting firm Ernst and Young recognised top achievers at the Accounting 300 awards ceremony held at the prestigious Victoria Country Club recently.

The event rewards the achievements of top students and also gives them a platform to showcase their skills to Ernest and Young in the hope of future employment.  In the presentations, students were required to research and analyse financial statements of a top 100 listed company on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. 

Culminating the accounting knowledge acquired throughout their years of studying in the BCOM Accounting degree, student teams, competing against each other, had to creatively translate theory into practical scenarios.  

Accounts 300 Lecturer, Navitha Sewpersadh, said that through understanding the importance of providing relevant, accurate and complete information in meeting the entity’s reporting requirements, the students would be better prepared to enter the workplace.

‘By requiring a high degree of contextualisation it is recognised that competence in the field of accounting is grounded in the real world and that teaching, learning and assessments are most effectively executed through application in real world scenarios.’ Sewpersadh added. 

‘Students need to gain a thorough knowledge of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and their application as well as a thorough understanding of when and how to apply the standards. It is of the utmost importance that the students have the fundamental competencies which foster life-long learning,’ said Sewpersadh.

The Breakthrough Limited group won after impressing the judges with their presentation on Sasol Limited and walked away with the first prize of R5 000.  Second placed winner of R4 000, the Angry Nerds group, analysed milling company Tongaat Hullet, while the third placed winner of R3 000, the Alpha group examined the financial aspects of Sasol Limited. 

The Best Group Financial Report award of R3 000 went to Abacus Consultants for their detailed analysis on the SPAR Group; the Best Tutor award cash prizes was won by Ms Sheetal Paparam and Mr Farai Mazimbe, and the award of a new Apple Ipad for the Best Presenter went to Ms Michelle Chidzamba of the Angry Nerds.  

-           Thandiwe Jumo


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Technology Integration in Teaching and Learning Explored

Technology Integration in Teaching and Learning Explored
Ms Upsana Singh.

The College of Law and Management Studies is exploring successful technology adoption as a cost effective and accessible tool for teaching and learning.  This follows School of Management, Information Technology and Governance Academic Ms Upsana Singh’s attendance at a Teaching and Learning Forum hosted by Protrain Strategic Business Solutions in Johannesburg recently. 

Singh was selected to attend by the College’s Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay.  The forum which discussed global Trends for Mobile Learning created a platform for academic staff to present their research on how they have adopted electronic learning to enhance teaching and learning in their institutions.

Some of the tools discussed included  Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs), Open Educational Resources (OER), Learning Management System (LMS), Social Networking Tools, Web 2.0, Podcasts, Google Drive and Cloud Computing.

Singh said the presentations provided an insight into the pitfalls and constraints associated with the adoption of some of these technologies, which are unique to the South African environment. 

‘Based on what I have heard at the Forum I would like to investigate the applicability of some of the above tools - particularly those that have been successful at other SA Universities - in the various disciplines in our College.

‘Tools that have minimal financial implications, while at the same time are easily accessible to both academics and students, will form the foundation of the e-Learning drive for the College,’ she said.

Singh also highlighted that the key to successful technology adoption was that the “technology must support the pedagogy” and not vice-versa.  ‘Further institutional, management and academic support and interest are essential in ensuring that technology implementation is effective,’ she said.  

 Thandiwe Jumo 

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Top Students from BEDS Recognised at Awards Function

Top Students from BEDS Recognised at Awards Function
Top performing students from the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) were awarded for their academic excellence.

The School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) recently awarded its top performing students from undergraduate to postgraduate level at the UKZN Innovation Centre.

Students from all six disciplines within the school- Architecture, , Community Development, Development Studies, Housing, Population Studies, Town and Regional Planning- attended the special event, all dressed to impress. 

The awards ceremony is an annual event of the School at which students are recognised for their hard work and dedication in their respective disciplines. The award is given to those students with an aggregate of 75 percent or more in the second semester of 2012 and/or the first semester of 2013. 

During this function, the following prizes were awarded to the fellow Architecture students: 

 Mthembeni Mkhize Foundation Scholarship
 Simiso Mfeka
 Mthokozisi Mkwanazi

 Garth Moyes Good Fellowship Award
 Sinethemba Buthelezi
 Samantha Rouche

 The Geoffrey Le Sueur Travel Scholarship
 Kajal Budhia
 Samantha Rouche
 Craig Kirkpatrick
 Lucien Glass
 Mongezi Ncube

 The Sherwood-Bond Bursary
 Bokanibuhe Munodawafa
 Nompumelelo Kubheka
 Londiwe Sokhabase

 The Brian Bernstein Memorial Travel Scholarship
 Nadiyah Moodley
 Vera-Ann Platt  Miguel Ruiz
 Jenni McGee
 Sonal Madhoo
South African Council for the Architectural Profession Scholarship
 Peter Harel
 Jared Mac Millan
 Aadila Kajee

One of the award recipients from Architecture was 5th year student Mr Craig Cullen who was both thankful and grateful to the School and UKZN for recognising and acknowledging all the hard work he put into his studies.  

‘It is a great feeling to be recognised in this way and both my parents are excited and proud of my achievement,’ he said.  

Cullen also advised other students to follow their dreams and to achieve their goals. ‘Set your mind to whatever you hope to achieve and believe in yourself. And always remember to have that dedication and passion in all that you do.’

Ecstatic Postgraduate Architecture student Ms Nompumelelo Kubheka was awarded the Sherwood Bond Bursary worth R5000. 

‘The typical lifestyle of an architecture student has financial stability as a constant concern. Not only regarding school fees but also the demands of projects: printing and building materials expenses factor in. The bursary has been a much needed intervention to remedy the financial crisis I had found myself in especially regarding my year-end project. I am very grateful to the donor.’

Speaking at the awards function, Dean and Head of the School Professor Thokozani Xaba congratulated the students and wished them well in their studies and future ventures.

‘This Awards function is an attempt to recognise your performance and your abilities. These awards are evidence that you have the skills, knowledge and capabilities to make change in the world and to make a meaningful contribution to society,’ said Prof. Xaba. 

-           Melissa Mungroo


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Bachelor Of Education Student Wins Van Riebeeck Society Book Prize

Bachelor Of Education Student Wins Van Riebeeck Society Book Prize
The Dean of the School of Education, Professor Gregory Kamwendo (right), presents a copy of A. B. Xuma: Autobiography and Selected Works to award winner Ms Sharlene Naidoo.

Ms Sharlene Naidoo, a third year Bachelor of Education student at UKZN’s Edgewood campus, won the Van Riebeeck Society Book Prize for the Best Final Year History Education undergraduate student in 2013.  

Naidoo was awarded the prize at a function held for final year History Education students on the Edgewood campus. The Dean and Head of the School of Education, Professor Gregory Kamwendo, was the guest of honour and handed over the award to Naidoo.  

Challenging students to take their studies seriously, Kamwendo encouraged them to enrol for postgraduate studies so they could not only become future teachers, but also history academics and leaders at institutions such as UKZN.  

The Van Riebeeck Society is an historical association which has been involved in the publication of historical documents on southern African history for the past 95 years.  

The Society produces an annual volume which it has made available over the past several years as an award for the best History Education student.  

Their latest publication is A. B. Xuma: Autobiography and Selected Works edited by Peter Limb.  

-          Marshall Maposa


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Role-Plays the Way to go for Presentations, says Auditing Lecturer

Role-Plays the Way to go for Presentations, says Auditing Lecturer
From left: Mr Pratish Hansjee records Mr Eveshan Chetty and Ms Dasendri Moonsamy.

A UKZN Lecturer has decided that all presentations by her Auditing (AUDT200) class will in future be role-plays as  this forces the students to work together instead of preparing their work individually.

And, to get the competitive juices flowing, there will be a contest where the best teams present in front of the class with the winners getting a prize. 

The Lecturer is Ms Tiffiny Sneedon, a Qualified Chartered Accountant and UKZN alumnus who worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Johannesburg for 18 months before returning to Durban to follow her passion for education.

Inspired by a training session at PwC where they were asked to create a video, Sneedon wanted to set a similar task for her students at UKZN but realised that stipulating a video presentation was problematic as not all students had access to the equipment and software required.  

So she put the students into groups to research the issues of Corporate Governance and produce a discussion paper, following which they were tasked to create a training presentation - a  video, a live presentation or a combination of both - to inform a newly-appointed company director about the issues.

At the end of the project, students had to submit a reflection report explaining their role in the group work and what they had learned from a technical and soft skills perspective.  Themes that emerged included:

•  The majority of students had previously not been made to work with people they did not know (groups were randomly mixed by race and gender) and most groups were pleasantly surprised by how effective group work was being able to bounce ideas off people they didn't usually speak to;

•  Students got a  better understanding of what Corporate Governance was as they had to make the links between the principles of Corporate Governance, the documentary and why Corporate Governance was important to them as future chartered accountants in South Africa.

From the informal feedback that Sneedon received from the students, the groups that did a good job and took the task seriously, thoroughly enjoyed the process whereas some students were very unhappy about being taken out of their comfort zone and made to work with students they did not know. 

Said Sneedon: ‘When you work in audit, you are continually put in audit teams with people you don’t know of different standards and backgrounds and you have to work with them.  It is essential for students to get experience working in these situations so that they can develop the skills necessary to work effectively in a team.’ 

Sneedon plans to stipulate that all presentations by her students should be role-plays as it forces them to work together instead of preparing their work individually and only getting together at the end for the delivery.  She also plans to have competitions in the class to get the competitive juices flowing.

‘In retrospect, it was actually quite a fun and interesting experience,’ said student Mr Pratish Hansjee - a Cameraman, Editor and Actor in one of the top video presentations.

‘I really enjoyed recording the video presentation the most. All the painstaking research and editing paid off and I am pleased with the results. It could not have been possible without my other group members.’

Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College of Law and Management Studies, Professor Kriben Pillay, lauded the initiative saying: ‘I’m all for these kinds of projects because the greatest learning happens when you are doing rather than simply sitting in a classroom receiving information and you don’t apply it - that information is quickly lost as the brain does not see the need to retain it.  We have to find ways that move away from rote learning.’ 

* Pillay is currently engaged in a project led by Ms Upasana Singh - an Emerging Researcher in the discipline of Information Systems & Technology - to look into different types of multi-media technology that can assist students and academic staff.


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