UKZN Academic Publishes Book on Contemporary Campus Life

UKZN Academic Publishes Book on Contemporary Campus Life
Professor Keyan Tomaselli with his new book.Click here for isiZulu version

Emeritus Professor Keyan Tomaselli of the Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS) has launched his new book: Contemporary Campus Life: Transformation, Manic Managerialism and Academentia.

The book is a critique of market-driven neoliberalism offered as a metaphor to analyse the excesses, contradictions, and obstructions in contemporary university governance. With incisive satirical humour, Tomaselli delves into the quirks of education administrative systems to ‘show how manic management negatively affects teaching, research, science, and reasoning - and must be brought into line to preserve the very nature of the academy.’

Contemporary Campus Life’s analysis of managerialism as a cause of academentia is partly framed by exigencies imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomaselli’s argument is ‘that the virus has brought about an ecological correction that affects all human and animal kinds, one that management theory can learn from.’

Discussing Tomaselli’s book during a panel session at the launch, Professor Nithaya Chetty of the University of the Witwatersrand said: ‘Keyan looks critically and - at times - humourously at the many forces that come to bear on our Higher Education system today, not just in South Africa but also the world over. He reminds us that there are many academic principles that are still important - that we need to give even more attention to - as we contemplate change, lest a university ceases to be a university.’

Providing the preface of the book, UKZN Emeritus Professor Michael Chapman said: ‘Keyan Tomaselli's focus is the managerial university. His observations expand to traffic, branding, the World Cup, street renaming, students, teachers and lecturers, bean-counting, grumpy old men, and, generally, the heightened blood pressure of an audit culture.’

Reviewing the book, President of the Academy of Science of South Africa Professor Jonathan Jansen commented: ‘Arguably South Africa's most perceptive cultural studies scholar, Keyan Tomaselli takes the reader on a decidedly uncomfortable, insightful, and entertaining ride through the managerial university to show us, barefaced, what we have become. In the mindless pursuit of efficiency, productivity, and measurement, we have lost sight of the broader purposes of education and the intrinsic value of academic work. Tomaselli has produced one of the best available satires of academic life.’

The book - published by Best Red of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) - is available from all major book retailers.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photographs: Supplied


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Mentorship Session for Emerging Academics and Researchers

Mentorship Session for Emerging Academics and Researchers
Professor Sid Nair.

The School of Management, IT and Governance (SMIG) hosted a Building Your Profile mentorship session for its academic staff and researchers.

The event was facilitated by Professor Sid Nair, Executive Dean and Dean of Learning, Teaching and Student Experience at the Victorian Institute of Technology in Australia.

Nair, who has worked in Higher Education for the past 30 years focusing on teaching, learning and quality in Higher Education, was the Executive Director at the Tertiary Education Commission in Mauritius (2016-2019) and is now an honorary professor at SMIG.

He began the session by sharing his experiences and insights on his research journey from an emerging researcher to an established one saying that when he began his academic career he concentrated on teaching and attended a lot of conferences. He never thought he could be a researcher as well!

By the time he was a senior lecturer he had 20 publications to his name. ‘I had to take a six-month sabbatical to focus on research. I would start my day at 4am and get in as much research as I possibly could,’ said Nair.

Wanting the session to be as interactive as possible, he encouraged participants to ask as many questions as possible, share research tips and exchange research ideas.

UKZN Academic Leader Dr Upasana Singh, who formally opened the session, said the aim of the event was to provide mentorship to emerging academics and researchers as part of the Discipline’s academic empowerment series.

‘On assuming the role of Academic Leader in the Discipline of Information Systems and Technology earlier this year, I noted that a number of emerging academics felt isolated in their journey of establishing and enhancing their research career,’ said Singh. ‘I wanted to start the conversation for them with research professors, and am hoping that we can grow together in this journey.’

‘Prof Nair was appointed as an honorary professor in our School last year but has never had an opportunity to engage with our academics, so this event also provides the platform for a “meet and greet session”,’ she said.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Photograph: Supplied


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Looking Back…the Impact of COVID-19 on the Performing Arts

Looking Back…the Impact of COVID-19 on the Performing Arts
Webinar panellists from left: Ms Normah Zondo, Dr Ismail Mahomed, Dr Lliane Loots, Ms Thobile Maphanga, and Mr Iain Ewok Robinson.

A webinar - organised by the Corporate Relations Division - looking back on the impact of COVID-19 on the performing arts industry over the past 12 months was chaired by Drama and Performance Studies lecturer, Dr Lliane Loots.

Acting Executive Director of UKZN's Corporate Relations Division, Ms Normah Zondo opened the event by saying: ‘COVID-19 has had a great impact on many sectors of our country and society, including the performing arts industry. This new normal has demanded that all sectors be creative and devise unconventional ways of doing business in order to survive.’

Loots, the Founder of the Flatfoot Dance Company based at UKZN and Artistic Director and Founder of the annual international JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience said: ‘I’m interested in having a discussion around what happens to artist’s economic participation in society as well as their intellectual, emotional, and creative participation because without artists we are a society without a heart.'

Mr Ismail Mahomed, Director of UKZN’s Centre of Creative Arts, spoke on how COVID-19 had demonstrated that the Arts sector had not been properly assisted or catered for in the wake of the pandemic in the same way the other sectors had been. Ismail said the only way the arts could survive was to create ‘partnerships. Artists need each other, more than ever before.’

Musician, poet and graphic designer Iain Ewok Robinson said it was now time for artists to band together and not only help each other but also break down silos that had been built up over the years.

Dancer, choreographer and art administrator Ms Thobile Maphanga, who is studying for a master’s degree, said she supported the suggestion of artists getting together in union and forming communities. ‘It is something which could keep them alive!’ Maphanga said because of the COVID-19 restrictions, those who did not have access to online facilities were losing out in the area of digital opportunities.’

In closing, Zondo said: ‘Thank you to all our speakers - your insightful and productive inputs and contributions to this ongoing conversation were really amazing, thank you again.’

Words: Nonhlanhla Sikhosana

Photographs: Supplied


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Law School Academics Feature in Latest SA Journal of Bioethics and Law

Law School Academics Feature in Latest <em>SA Journal of Bioethics and Law</em>
Academics at UKZN’s Law School clockwise from left: Professor Warren Freedman, Professor Ann Strode, Dr Chantal Badul, Ms Jacintha Toohey, and Dr Sheetal Soni.

Articles by several academics in the Law School on the Pietermaritzburg campus have featured prominently in the latest issue of the SA Journal of Bioethics and Law (SAJBL).

The articles were written by Professor Warren Freedman, Professor Ann Strode, Dr Chantal Badul, Dr Sheetal Soni and Ms Jacintha Toohey.

The School of Law is proud to have a selection of its research expertise showcased in the journal, which highlights research on contemporary topics in bioethics, healthcare and law.

The articles are: (1) “Critiquing the Ethics Review Process in the 2019 Nieuwoudt et al Study on the impact of Age and Education on Cognitive Functioning Among Coloured South African Women” by Strode and Freedman; (2) “A Critical review of the South African Legal Framework on Adolescent Access to HIV Prevention Interventions” by Toohey and Strode; (3) “Forms to Capture Child Consent to Surgical Procedures: Time to Focus on Function Rather than Form” by Strode and Badul; and (4) “The Brave New World: Should We Tread Down the Path to Human Germline Editing?” by Soni.

The first article was a collaborative work with Dr Zaynab Essack and Ms Heidi van Rooyen of the Human Sciences Research Council in response to the outcry on social media about the publication of an article about research into age-related cognitive decline in Coloured women in the Western Cape. The article was contextualised within the lived reality of contemporary race relations in South Africa.

The article by Toohey and Strode examines whether the SA legal framework is a facilitator or barrier to adolescent access to key HIV prevention services such as HIV testing and HIV education. The findings indicate a clear recognition of evolving capacity and the inclusion of protections aimed at enhancing decision-making.

The third publication aims to provide guidance to surgeons and other medical practitioners performing surgery on children by setting out the legal norms relating to child consent to an operation.

Following the announcement in 2018 that Chinese scientist He Jiankui had proceeded to gene-edit human embryos, a moratorium on germline editing was quickly proposed. Soni’s article aims to provide a primer in the existing national and international legal framework for gene editing as well as a description of the prominent current views of heritable germline editing. The article is important in contributing a South African perspective to the debate and conversation in this field.

‘We were unaware that our articles would be featured in the same issue, but are proud that some of the research at the School is being recognised and showcased in such a widely read academic journal,’ added Soni.

Dean and Head of the School of Law, Professor Managay Reddi, expressed her delight and pride in this remarkable achievement by the group of colleagues based in Pietermaritzburg.

‘The specialist field of bioethics and medical law is one of the School’s niche areas of research. The colleagues from Pietermaritzburg have always batted above their weight. They have done so yet again by driving the School’s research agenda in bioethics and medical law through the dissemination of their research in this highly regarded journal. Our School could not be more pleased. We wish them many such successes in the future,’ said Reddi.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Photographs: Supplied


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2020 Leadership Development Programme Grad Ceremony

2020 Leadership Development Programme Grad Ceremony
Leadership Development Programme Graduation 2021.

A total of 51 certificates were awarded during a Virtual Graduation Ceremony held for the Leadership Development Programme’s (LDP) Class of 2020.

The LDP, which operates within the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance (SAEF), is a six-month course designed to build capacity and address the shortage of leadership skills in the Technical and Vocational Training (TVET) and Community Education Training (CET) sectors.

Among the awards were 39 Certificates of Competence with Complete Portfolio of Evidence, three Certificates with Fractional Portfolio of Evidence and nine Certificates of Attendance.

In his welcome address, the School’s Dean and Head, Professor Mabutho Sibanda, congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to enjoy and celebrate receiving their hard-earned awards.

Sibanda said COVID-19 had not seriously disrupted the programme and thanked LDP personnel for remaining committed to it.

‘Due to the pandemic, the course was offered via a virtual platform between September 2020 and January 2021, with delegates expected to submit portfolios of evidence. I am grateful for the professionalism from both UKZN and INSETA who ensured its success,’ he said.

‘I would like to encourage the graduates to explore further education opportunities to enhance their knowledge and academic standing. I am pleased to inform you that UKZN has several postgraduate programmes which you may want to consider,’ added Sibanda.

INSETA CEO Ms Gugu Mkhize, who said the occasion demonstrated the working partnership between SETAs and Institutions of Higher Learning, applauded the partnership between INSETA and UKZN.

Mkhize also congratulated the graduates saying: ‘Your hard work has culminated in this momentous occasion. A graduation ceremony remains one of the most memorable events in a person’s lifetime, coming at the end of a long journey of academic and social preparations.

‘I wish you a rewarding journey of lifelong learning. Your commitment to developing yourselves is the best investment you can make for your future and I encourage you to take advantage of other opportunities available through the SETA’s programmes,’ she added.

In closing, senior lecturer at SAEF Dr Bomi Nomlala, thanked the graduates for their hard work and dedication to the project, their families for the support and encouragement during the journey, and sponsors INSETA for their vision in planning the course.

‘It is projects like this that inspire confidence that one day South Africa will be a great nation thanks to knowledge sharing,’ added Nomlala

Watch the graduation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TndxZa6f0Ys

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Image: Supplied


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Three-Day Finance for Non-Financial Managers Programme

Three-Day Finance for Non-Financial Managers Programme
UKZN Extended Learning offers a three-day Finance for Non-Financial Managers Programme.

COVID-19 has negatively affected a myriad of professions across all industries throughout the world with adaptation to new business opportunities to stay ahead of the game vital for survival and possible future prosperity.

The challenges presented over the past year were unique and many businesses were not able or prepared to respond accordingly. Companies needed to react tactfully and strategically to reduce the possibility of bad decisions and subsequent financially crippling outcomes.

Savvy financial managers play a vital role in advising businesses through this pandemic - their direction and guidance are crucial for companies and businesses to successfully navigate through unfamiliar territory and perform financial best practice.

At UKZN Extended Learning, we offer a three-day Finance for Non-Financial Managers Programme in which delegates have the opportunity to get to grips with the financial and business acumen required to meet organisational needs. The aim of the course is to instill confidence in delegates through providing them with a clear understanding of finance-related skills which they can then take and use practically in their work situations.

Usually, non-financial managers depend on a range of tested and proven strategies and models to combat business challenges but at the Extended Learning Division we prepare our delegates to implement an innovative and refreshed systemic approach during the current global crisis.

Delegates will gain an improved ability to understand and analyse financial statements; apply budgeting and forecast techniques; and implement capital investments, ratio analysis and risk management. Non-financial managers will discover new possibilities within the industry with knowledge gained on the programme laying a foundation for them to become better decision-makers all round.

This programme is significant for those who do not have a financial background and the delineated content framework has been specifically designed to accommodate individuals new to the world of finance.

The current crises caused by the Coronavirus does not automatically mean the end of the road for businesses, especially if staff are well equipped to face the challenges head-on.

For more information click here or contact: Nokwanda Mokoena at telephone: 031 260 4665 or email: MokoenaN@ukzn.ac.za.

Words: Nkosingiphile Ntshangase

Photograph: Supplied


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Alumnus Awarded Prestigious New Zealand Order of Merit

Alumnus Awarded Prestigious New Zealand Order of Merit
UKZN alumnus, Dr Joe Singh has received the highest honour in New Zealand for his services to health.Click here for isiZulu version

A UKZN alumnus, who graduated from the Medical School in 1978 and immigrated to New Zealand in 1982, has been awarded that country’s Order of Merit for services to health.

He is Dr Gagrath Pradeep Singh, fondly known as Joe, who is now a specialist geriatrician at North Shore Hospital in Auckland.

The New Zealand honours system was established by royal warrant on 30 May, 1996 by the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II ‘for those persons who in any field of endeavour, have rendered meritorious service to the Crown and nation or who have become distinguished by their eminence, talents, contributions or other merits, and to recognise outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity.’

According to the Prime Minister and Cabinet of New Zealand, Singh co-established and led Shore Trials and the Research Unit (STAR Unit) since 1996. Under his voluntary leadership, more than 60 clinical trials took place, allowing local patients in the Waitemata District Health Board area access to new medications and best practices care that would have otherwise not have been possible through the health system.

Singh’s son, Sudvir, who is a Nordic-based medical doctor, proudly announced the news on his Twitter account: ‘Lovely news today to hear that my dad, Pradeep (aka Joe) Singh of @WaitemataDHB, is being awarded the Member of NZ Order of Merit as part of the New Year Honours List! We are very proud of him.’

Born in Clairwood, Durban, Singh has fond memories of his time at the Medical School. ‘I studied at the University of Natal Medical School in Umbilo where I met my beautiful wife and lifetime companion, Dr Bharati Narothum,’ he said. ‘It was a very interesting time - Black Consciousness and the late Steve Biko were a few years ahead of us. Our clinical years were at the famous King Edward VIII Hospital which at that time was one of the largest in the southern hemisphere. Our years at the Medical School were wonderful and we remain friends with many of our classmates.’

Singh, who began his specialist training in geriatrics at a time when the field was still in its embryonic stages, has served as an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians since 1995 and for the Australian Exams since 2005. He enjoys research and has completed about 60 local and international trials.

For the past 20 years, he has served as chairman of the Senior Doctors Committee at the North Shore Hospital facilitating communication with management.

Singh is a keen cricketer and captains the senior doctors’ team.

Words: MaryAnn Francis

Photograph: Supplied


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Sociologist Nominated for International Amazing Women Award

Sociologist Nominated for International Amazing Women Award
Professor Mariam Seedat-Khan. Click here for isiZulu version

UKZN clinical sociologist Professor Mariam Seedat-Khan has been nominated for the My Pink Stilettos Amazing Women International Award that recognises women around the world who are doing extraordinary things to uplift communities and improve society.

‘Nominations and awards are humbling,’ said Seedat-Khan. ‘They help us realise that we all have the ability to make a difference in the world. The nomination belongs to the women who came before me, those who walk next to me and those that have led the way under difficult circumstances.

‘I think The Pink Stilettos Global Project promotes inclusivity and advocates the position of women around the world. Women must take the lead and stand up against injustice.’

Seedat-Khan was applauded by the committee for her work on the SMART (Simply Managing Academic Related Tasks) community engagement initiative in which she developed teaching and learning interventions over a 10-year period, resulting in an academic management tool that provides individuals with learning systems and techniques.

Seedat-Khan considers individual intelligence, attention span, input and output and learning style. She targets measurable outcomes that demand unique solutions for each learner.

She is one of only 40 certified clinical sociologists in the world, making her among just three on the African continent who are certified by the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology (AACS). With 20 years of teaching, training and research experience at UKZN, the University of Johannesburg and the University of Witwatersrand, Seedat-Khan remains passionate and committed to applied and clinical research processes which facilitate an intricate understanding of human relationships, neuroscientific responses and innovation in learning.

Trained in Toronto, Canada and South Africa she travels extensively - albeit virtually in the current COVID-19 scenario - to keep updated on the current research, practices and innovation in the field of human and cognitive development. Her interest in human behaviour provides insight into performance within social, corporate and educational institutions.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Supplied


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UKZN Alumnus Served on African Union COVID-19 Youth Advocacy Group

UKZN Alumnus Served on African Union COVID-19 Youth Advocacy Group
UKZN’s Dr Kapil Narain.Click here for isiZulu version

Dr Kapil Narain, who graduated with a medical degree from UKZN in 2020, served on the African Youth Front on Coronavirus (AYFC) - an initiative of the African Union’s (AU) Office of the Youth Envoy and Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

AYFC is a multi-stakeholder advocacy group of youth and intergenerational networks who support the implementation of the African Continental Strategic Plan for the COVID-19 pandemic. The group was launched to provide African youth with the opportunity to contribute to youth-led solutions and co-lead Africa’s response to the pandemic.

Involving youth leaders across the continent, Narain was invited by virtue of his experience and passion for global health, leadership and activism. Furthermore, he served as a representative of the Federation of African Medical Students Associations (FAMSA) - a youth network affiliated with the African Union (AU) and the World Health Organization (WHO) - where he was the Chairperson of their COVID-19 Technical working group.

Narain was involved in the development of four policy briefs which were submitted to Africa CDC, these are:

1. Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Tests

2. Risk Communication and Social Engagement

3. Impact of COVID-19 on Vulnerable Youth

4. Mask Wearing and COVID-19 Preventive Practices

Narain also contributed to a report on How African Youth Access COVID-19 Information which was based on a survey conducted in 50 countries. Consequently, as part of AYFC, he also contributed to publishing the policy paper, Facts and Figures of Africa Youth Agency, Challenges and Recovery Roadmap on COVID-19 - a culmination of various consultations containing recommendations on stimulus packages, ehealth and digital innovation, food security, free trade, universal health coverage, and gender equality.

‘Despite the intense clinical environment and challenges of a global pandemic, it was an honour to serve on the AYFC,’ said Narain. ‘Through our efforts we were able to garner real challenges and experiences of young people and communities. Consequently, this was developed into policy documents and reports and permeated through member states,’ commented Narain.

‘The African Union is the first intergovernmental organisation to create a high level policy and advocacy framework for young people to co-lead Africa’s response to the pandemic of COVID-19,’ remarked AU Special Envoy on Youth, Ms Aya Chebbi.

‘It’s also very important that the African Union Member States engage youth in the fight against COVID-19,’ said AU Commissioner, Professor Sarah Anyang. ‘When those policies are being made please bring youth, and when the health sector meets please bring young proficiencies into the conversation so that together we will beat COVID-19 hands down.’

Over the past year Narain has been invited to speak at several events including the World Pre-health Conference 2021 at Harvard University (discussing vaccine inequality), Operation Smile (discussing youth activism), Millennium Campus Network at the University of California (discussing Universal health coverage), FAMSA General Assembly in Uganda, Makers & Movers - Cold Chain 2021 Summit on Global Access and Distribution of Covid-19 Vaccine. He also participated at the Africa Health Agenda International Conference and was recently hosted by health expert Dr Fundile Nyati.

With expert graphic design skills, Narain also contributed to an international campaign, Project Red Zone as one of 35 student artists. This exhibition was an initiative of the Russian Academy Of Arts and

International Designers Association to thank the efforts of frontline workers (www.moasd.ru/2020/07/20/participants-red-zone/).

Passionate about youth empowerment, Narain and four other youth leaders organised the first African Healthcare Students Symposium (AHESS) which attracted more than 20 international speakers and was made freely available to all delegates, empowering over 700 students and junior healthcare workers in more than 30 countries.

Narain is currently serving his internship at King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban. He hopes to specialise in internal medicine or infectious disease epidemiology.

Words: MaryAnn Francis

Photograph: Supplied


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Discipline of Physiotherapy uses Infographic in Battle against COVID-19 Infection

Discipline of Physiotherapy uses Infographic in Battle against COVID-19 Infection
Advice for a person infected with COVID-19/ Izeluleko zabantu abakhungethwe ukhuvethe.

UKZN’s Physiotherapy Discipline has developed a simple infographic to show user friendly physiotherapy techniques to manage some of the symptoms experienced during COVID-19 infection.

Infographics allow health messages to be relayed widely through digital and online platforms.

‘The infographic is in English and isiZulu to ensure that it is available to as wide an audience as possible,’ said Professor Saul Cobbing, Academic Leader in the Discipline.

Cobbing said the collaborative project provided a practical approach of sharing basic care principles for people infected with COVID-19.

‘It will help those infected to adopt principles to protect themselves and those around them. Basic breathing exercises and positioning are also included to help address respiratory complications.’

The infographic also addresses exercise and fatigue management and the profound and prolonged nature of fatigue observed in affected individuals.

Discipline of Physiotherapy staff members involved in the project are Mr Sithembiso Blose, Ms Nomzamo Chemane, Mr Levin Chetty, Professor Verusia Chetty, Mr Kurt Daniels, Dr Hamilton Pharaoh, Dr Stacy Maddocks, Professor Sonill Maharaj, Dr Thayananthee Nadasan, Mr Rogier van Bever Donker, and Cobbing.

They believe it is essential to share the principles using an easy to understand and consequently adoptable approach which includes detail on mental health issues as research indicates that the psychological implications of COVID-19 infection are often ignored.

‘In these graphic illustrations, patients are encouraged to seek help from social networks, communicate about their mental health, and use coping strategies such as fun activities to distract them from the negativity surrounding this pandemic,’ added Cobbing.

The infographic is available on the UKZN Department of Physiotherapy’s Twitter handle: @UKZNphysio. We are #proudlyUKZNphysio

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Images: Supplied


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