Exercising your way to wellness

The annual Wellness Day was well received by staff this year.

Over 130 staff members took advantage of Discovery health screenings on both campuses and CPUT Campus Health Clinics and the HIV/Aids unit tested and screened almost 100 staff members.

Human Capital – Lifestyle & Wellness specialist Samukelisiwe Mbambo said more staff members participated in the Fun Walk than the Virgin Active Zumba sessions while the shoulder massages proved to be very popular.

“Our partners for the 2018 Wellness Day sponsored soccer balls (Sanlam) and T-Shirts (IEMAS), conducted assessments on mental health (Akeso Clinics and The South African Depression and Anxiety Group), provided budgeting tools (DGSA) and information on the CPUT Omega Caro-E capsule,” said Mbambo.

The fun run which took place on the Bellville campus saw staff walk around the campus before taking to the track on the Sports Field where they encouraged each other to break into the occasional jog with much laughter.

The Lifestyle & Wellness unit has started working on their plans for next year and want to include more of the CPUT satellite campuses in their efforts.

“We have partnered with the CPUT Sports Department. Currently we have two teams, soccer and netball, and we want to launch a cycling club in 2019. We are looking into branding through caps and other fitness gear for employees who participate in Discovery Vitality activities on weekends, such as fun runs. This would allow the office to know how many Vitality members are active.

“Employees are encouraged to sign up for group or departmental fitness activities so that the Wellness office could support them,” said Mbambo.

She was excited that Virgin Active are negotiating with the Lifestyle & Wellness unit to partner with CPUT to offer Zumba classes next year.

Written by Theresa Smith

CPUT hosts successful MACE congress

Marketing, advancement and communication practitioners from tertiary institutions across the country sharpened their blades at the recent MACE Congress hosted by CPUT.

The annual three-day Marketing, Advancement and Communication in Education (MACE) congress was held at the Bellville campus and provided delegates with opportunities for benchmarking, networking and professional development.

This year’s theme was Sharpen your blade – skills for a new reality.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Chris Nhlapo welcomed the delegates to CPUT and said the congress came at a particularly pivotal time in the higher education arena.

“As marketing, communication and advancement professionals you have a critical role to ensure that Higher Education, in whatever capacity you represent it, remains relevant. We can never be caught sitting on our laurels blissfully ignorant to the changing environment around us,” said Nhlapo.

Prof Johannes Cronje, Dean of the Faculty of Informatics and Design, delivered the keynote address while other CPUT speakers included Prof Nirvana Bechan, Head of the Media Studies Department and Lauren Kansley, media liaison.

Top Civil Engineering students awarded

The Civil Engineering and Surveying Department honoured their top students of 2017 at a recent Academic Excellence Awards Ceremony on Bellville campus.

Opening the ceremony Head of the Civil Engineering & Surveying Department Ashaadia Kamalie said she sometimes felt they spend far too little time with the students who excel. “We don’t always take the time to recognise the students who do well and are ambassadors for CPUT. Also, the special relationships we have with our industry partners. We appreciate you,” said Kamalie.

Altogether there were 43 categories, with the awards sponsored by various companies from the Civil Engineering and Surveying industry.

The top students in various subjects were honoured, with awards ranging from the Parker Award for Best BTech dissertation (Thabani Thusi) to the Adkins Medlab Supplies Best Student in Surveying 1 and 2 (picked up by Denve Du Plooy who also won the country-wide Smarttech Best Student in Surveying 1 and 2 in South Africa for 2017 award).

Two students picked up four awards apiece (Jan Hendrick Bothma and Gerrit Brand) while three students got three awards each (Denve Du Plooy, Whidaad Nazier and Ridwaan Vorajee). Six students picked up two awards each, including Rahima Nordien adding to the rising number of merit awards won by females in the department.

In welcoming the students, their parents and staff to the Awards Ceremony, acting Dean of Engineering Prof Mellet Moll said he is proud of CPUT’s track record in advancing the role of women in engineering. “Especially in this department where we have such wonderful role models,” said Moll, referencing by name Kamalie and acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Technology Innovation & Partnerships Prof Marshall Sheldon.

The awards ceremony’s guest speaker was retired Head of the Flow Process and Rheology Centre, Prof Rainer Haldenwang, who delivered a motivating speech, recounting his life’s story and 31 years spent working at CPUT.

A CPUT alumnus, Haldenwang was one of the first people to gain his MTech in Civil Engineering as well as DTech from CPUT.

“I look back fondly on these 31 years,” he said. “I’ve done things I would not have perceived possible when I started out. I am incredibly blessed and it’s an amazing journey.  I wish young people could grasp that… It doesn’t matter where you start, it is how you grasp the opportunities that come your way,” said Haldenwang.

Written by Theresa Smith

Fostering healthy industry relationships

The Faculty of Applied Sciences recently hosted a WIL industry breakfast.

Industry representatives who regularly take in CPUT students for Work Integrated Learning stints mingled with lecturers, students and WIL coordinators at the Cape Town Hotel School Restaurant on Granger Bay for a pleasant exchange of ideas.

Students who excelled at their WIL assignments were profiled in a brochure and awarded trophies for excelling at their work.

In welcoming the attendees Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences, Prof Joseph Kioko, said the faculty took great pride in producing relevant and employable graduates.

“This breakfast is a way to acknowledge industry effort in making this possible and we also wish to recognise and affirm the students who do really well during WIL. I recognise that they cannot do this on their own,” said Kioko.

Roberto Isaacs, environmental manager at the City of Cape Town, shared what they have learned over the years of working with WIL students. CPUT students from the Environmental Health programme do WIL four times in a year and his department is instrumental in placing students within appropriate structures and providing mentorship and guidance.

Since the City of Cape Town does not yet employ enough environmental health practitioners to service the burgeoning population they treat the students as potential employees and prepare them for the reality of work.

“Like taking students into informal settlements when some of them have never been to one. During WIL the students are exposed to all the elements of environmental health so when they leave we want to believe they leave as all-round professionals. Real life knowledge is important,” said Isaacs.

He pointed out the quality of Environmental Health students has improved over the years as the City of Cape Town provided feedback to CPUT and the programme improved its curriculum according to the needs of industry.

Isaacs mentioned two CPUT third year Environmental Health students who won national awards at the South African Institute of Environmental Health’s recent conference.  Adiela Fakier won first place while Nonkosi Somwahla picked up second place for best WIL projects.

On a provincial level Environmental Health graduates Sinesipho Mpini won first prize and Boipelo Makotong won second prize for their community service projects at the recent Environmental Health Summit in the Northern Cape held in conjunction with SALGA.

Prof Lalini Reddy, Applied Sciences Faculty WIL Co-ordinator, was pleased by the turn out: “WIL is important because it gives students first-hand experience in the workplace, so that they enter the job market better prepared. Students have the opportunity to quickly mature by developing their holistic personality.”

Written by Theresa Smith

Taking teaching to another level

Trendy teaching methods were discussed during the recent Learning and Teaching Symposium held by Fundani’s Student Development Unit on the Bellville Campus.

Topics presented ranged from using ICT and tutorials to enhance teaching and learning practices to supporting underprepared students in mathematics and learning through field trips.

Prof Lorraine Hassan, Head of Fundani’s Academic Staff Development, delivered the keynote address under the title “Enhancing learning through tutorials through the perspective of Legitimation Code Theory (of semantics)”.

Discussing her findings, Hassan said 61% of tutee respondents in her study said that tutors encouraged them to ask questions. She added that the students preferred the use of mother tongue during tutorials.

She also found that tutors helped the tutees produce new knowledge by focusing on the application of formulae such as in accounting, physics or even practicals.

“There is a need for the development of mother-tongue education,” concluded Hassan.

Nobuhle Luphondo, a lecturer in the Management and Project Management Department, presented a paper about rethinking teaching practices.

Luphondo said she started using WhatsApp Group for teaching purposes. “We formulated groups and made rules governing the interactions,” she said.

“Students are required to be prepared for the WhatsApp and other group discussions.”

She added her students were so motivated that they came up with a Cultural Day celebration during which they cooked various traditional foods and dressed in different traditional attires.

To round up the day there was also a panel discussion about experiences on collaborations that have worked between the Unit and academic departments which saw lecturers from the Unit and departments sharing their experiences.

Teachers’ workshop seeks to improve learning experience

Various ideas to improve the learning experience and education quality were laid bare at a recent workshop attended by teachers, Western Cape Education Department (WCED) officials, teacher educators and education researchers.

Held by the CPUT-based Centre for International Teacher Education (CITE) in Mowbray, the Teachers’ Workshop was co-ordinated with the WCED Metro East District Office.

WCED’s Benjamin Schereka said the department has an outstanding relationship with CPUT.

Schereka added that these were challenging times for teachers as they are under extreme pressure to produce, but with very limited resources they do not know how to go about achieving their goals.

He argued that the Constitutional Court ruling which decriminalises private use of marijuana among adults will pose threats to schools that operate without a Code of Conduct.

He said the current climate at schools imposes general demands on discipline among the learners before citing two learners who were found openly smoking marijuana on school premises.

“This all impacts on the teachers. The question is whether the department is preparing teachers for that environment?”

Research Leadership Chair in Teacher Education, Prof Yusuf Sayed, said teaching a class involves making a series of complex decisions such as what to pay attention to as well as ensuring everyone is included.

After presenting an overview of the CPUT-based Centre for International Teacher Education, Sayed said its research agenda addresses who the teacher is, where do they come from, their beliefs and experiences of learning to teach.

He outlined the research projects that the centre is busy with such as AFLA, Continuous Professional Development and Teaching for all (a project about mainstreaming inclusive education).

Sayed said their research findings had led to a new conceptualisation of global and national education quality as well as teacher’s agency and policies.

“The disjuncture between policy and practice led to us having to identify key gaps in teacher education provision and education practice,” he said.

The workshop’s participants were later subdivided into four commissions to discuss new trends in teacher education.

Design students host First Thursdays event

Design students showcased their creations during a recent First Thursdays event at the Design Garage on Roeland Street.

Fashion, Graphic Design and Industrial Design students as well as students from the Extended Curriculum Programme all participated in the event with the creations showcased ranging from furniture to clothing.

First Thursdays have become popular among Capetonians and take place on the first Thursday of every month.

It allows the public to explore art galleries and other cultural attractions in the city centre.

“I’ve always attended First Thursdays in the CBD. Our building is very isolated from the rest of the university so we don’t really socialise with anyone else, not even with each other in the building. I thought an event like this would be a great opportunity for us to meet each other and see each other’s work and to show it to the public,” said Fashion student Shameemah Martin.

She said the students hoped to make it a monthly event.

Student achievers acknowledged

Two students achievers were recently given the chance to introduce themselves to CPUT executive management.

Anele Gebenga, recipient of the Abe Bailey Travel Bursary, visited Bellville campus while the two shortlisted runners-up, Luchulumanco Nanto (ND: Accounting) and Kaylinn Higgs (B Ed: Foundation Phase), were unable to attend the meeting. Anele was accompanied by Yamkela Ndumo, founder of the CPUT Book Club which recently scooped several awards at a national competition.

An MTech student in Business Administration and Project Management Anele embarks on his trip at the end of November. He described his itinerary which includes a visit to the African Union in Addis Ababa and a whirlwind tour around United Kingdom universities.

“I have applied for this scholarship since 2016. Generally I am a focused person so I would like to say getting this scholarship is as a result of me not giving up on my dreams. I am the first person from my township who will travel abroad. (While Anele now lives on res as postgraduate student, he is originally from Mount Fletcher in the Eastern Cape)

“The fundamental reason I applied for the bursary is not to boost myself, I was doing it for my community. I want them to see me as motivation. It will also assist me in my leadership skills and give me a global perspective to understand other cultures and be able to respect other people,” said Anele.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Chris Nhlapo congratulated both on their achievements and said the positive news the two were generating is important to show that focusing on the core business of the institute will help the university go places. “Around the world our students are occupying senior positions and I think you are following in their footsteps and we appreciate and are proud of you,” said Nhlapo.

Yamkela, a third year student in Real Estate, explained how the CPUT Book Club has grown over the past three years in its mission to instil a reading culture at the university and to enhancing reading skills while fostering a love for indigenous languages. He sources books in various local languages from the National Library and the students meet regularly to discuss and review the books.

At the ninth Funda Mzantsi Championships held in George at the beginning of October the CPUT Book Club competed and won against 186 other books clubs in four categories.

“It is still so surreal to me. English was the one which was the toughest competition because most, if not all, of the book clubs work in English so for our book club to win over them and take number one position in English overall gave me great satisfaction and joy,” said Yamkela.

They were also placed in position two for isiXhosa, Xitsonga and siSwati.

Yamkela told the gathering that he would like to see the book club expand to other campuses so each can send their own representatives to the Funda Mzantsi Championships.

Written by Theresa Smith

Alumni reunion a game changer

A recent three-day reunion for alumni from the classes of 1975 to 1983 was a “game changer” for many of the attendees.

The reunion, which was attended by close to 40 alumni from a range of study fields, including Education and Engineering, was held on the Bellville and Granger Bay campuses. Attendees included former Peninsula Technikon Rector Dr Franklin Sonn.

Organiser Valda van Heerden said the reunion included a tour of the Bellville campus followed by a braai on the first day, a Gala evening on the second day and a thanksgiving service on the last day.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Chris Nhlapo said the institution was grateful to receive a visit “from this special group of alumni” and looked forward to their support in building the university.

“The event has been a game changer for many of us. We have prepared for retirement but Dr Chris Nhlapo’s inspiring message has motivated us to identify the needs of our communities and be part of the solution. We are ready to live life according to the Pentech motto of Ut Prosim (that I may serve),” said Van Heerden.

She said the intention was to hold a reunion biannually in future.

“I’m convinced that each one of us is more inspired to make a positive impact on our communities.”