Staak conquers Athens Marathon

It was a question of mind over matter when Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic, Prof Anthony Staak, joined thousands of runners from across the world to take on the Athens Marathon.

Staak and his wife Wendy recently conquered the historic marathon, known as The Authentic, and said it proved to be one of their toughest marathons yet.

“But it was well worth the effort. Nothing could beat the finish in the iconic 77 000 seat marble stadium where the race officially ended. Both my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, the crowd support almost every step of the way, with shouts of ‘bravo, bravo’ to urge you on, the strong international representation and camaraderie that went with it, it was just great being part of this tradition.”

Staak has been involved in athletics and various sporting activities since his early school years. He took up distance running seriously in 1994 when he and his wife ran the Boston Marathon and New Orleans Marathon while he was studying abroad.

He’s lost count of how many marathons he has run but believes it to be close on 30 standard marathons. Staak has also completed 13 Two Oceans Ultra Marathons and one Comrades Marathon.

His favourite, “without doubt” is the Two Oceans Marathon.

“That is why I did it 13 times! It is promoted as the most beautiful marathon in the world. I can attest to that.”

Staak said he decided to participate in the Athens Marathon because of the strong tradition and history associated it.

It is known as the “Authentic marathon” because this is where marathon running has its historical roots. In around 500 BC a Greek soldier ran from Marathon to Athens to announce the victory of the Greek army over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. The distance was exactly 41,195 km. The standard marathon distance remains 42,2km to this day.”

The race proved to be a challenge and Staak said there was a steady climb from 18km to 32km to an elevation of about 350m.

“I can’t recall any other marathon having such a long steady climb. Legend has it that the Greek soldier died from exhaustion after delivering the victory message!”

Asked about his main takeaway from the experience Staak replied: “Any goal can be achieved with hard work, discipline and commitment. During the race it was certainly ‘mind over matter’.”

Open Day 2017 award winners announced


The hard work of staff members who were behind some of the impressive stalls at Open Day 2017 were recently rewarded.

Open Day, the biggest marketing event on the institution’s calendar, was held on the Bellville Campus on May 6.

This year’s event was a major success and attracted more than 15 000 visitors, who were able to interact with staff and students and learn about the more than 70 courses on offer.

Prospective students also had the opportunity to visit the laboratories and other facilities of some of the courses on offer.

Awards in four categories were made in this year’s Open Day awards and the winners were selected by four independent judges.

Trophies were awarded to the winning teams.

Civil Engineering and Surveying scooped the award for the best marketing concept while Management won in the “most informative” category.

The award for best team spirit went to the Media Department.

The award for best faculty experience was shared between the Department of Emergency Medical Services and Radiography.

Written by Ilse Fredericks

Picture by Isgaak Ebrahim


Lecturer nominated for teaching awards

After scooping CPUT’s Institutional Teaching Excellence Award, Marketing lecturer, Dr Rodney Duffett, was recently entered into the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa’s (HELTASA) National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards.

“It was a privilege to be able to enter and represent CPUT at HELTASA’s National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards,” says Duffett.

He has worked for the university since 1998 when he was appointed as a part-time lecturer and later became permanent.

“I have devotedly served the institution by always pursuing excellence and giving more than 100 percent in all aspects of my job as a lecturer, and my colleagues and students will certainly attest to this.

His teaching philosophy includes collaborating with industry bodies and companies, hard work, enthusiasm and passion as well as getting feedback from students and colleagues.

“My fifteen years of hard work and dedication to my subjects, namely Advertising and Sales Promotion and Applied Promotions IV, has paid off handsomely,” he says.

He has established many industry contacts and this has led to a number of industry and community-related activities.

These have afforded students valuable experience, has won prizes, and led to internships, and bursaries, while some even received permanent jobs as a result.

Some of these projects are:

BTL (below-the-line) campaign proposal project (2010 – 2015), a joint initiative with Brand Shepherd/B-Line Advertising.

Pet Savvy name competition (2014), students developed a name for a new Pet Savvy product

American Swiss competition (2014), create your own Billboard competition for American Swiss

Library poster practical (2013 – 2016), students had to design a poster about the importance of using CPUT libraries.


Academic handpicked for fellowship programme

Dr Bernie Millar’s passion for teaching has earned her several top teaching accolades and even a feature in the local Cape Argus newspaper.

To add to her list of outstanding achievements, Millar is the only CPUT academic handpicked to participate in the inaugural South African Teaching Advancement at University (TAU) Fellowship programme, which is funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training.

TAU is reserved for academics that have been acknowledged for their teaching excellence. Running over two-years, it aims to contribute towards teaching and learning in the higher education sector by developing a cadre of academics as mentors in their fields of specialization.

A lecturer in the Clothing and Textiles Department, Millar says she is excited to participate in the programme and to work alongside academics from other institutions who share her passion for teaching

“I think that when you bring together a number of experienced, creative and innovative minds in the area of teaching, there will be so much energy flowing and new ideas coming up,” she says.

“This programme is really going to benefit higher education in South Africa.”

Millar, who has been teaching for 30 years, was commended as one of the most innovative teachers by the Council on Higher Education and the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa.  She was one of 14 individuals to receive this national commendation in 2012.

She also holds the Faculty of Engineering Distinguished Teacher’s Award for 2011 and the Departmental Distinguished Teacher’s Award for 2014.

Researching teachers’ role in peace-building

One of the largest teacher education studies in history kicked off at CPUT recently.

The Centre for International Teacher Education (CITE) launched the initiative with a seminar on Education, Teacher and Social Cohesion at Mowbray Campus where research teams from participating universities from across the globe presented.

Led by Prof Yusuf Sayed, director of the CPUT-based CITE and also SARCHI Research Chair in Teacher Education, explained that the proposed study is entitled, “Engaging teachers in peace-building in post-conflict contexts: Evaluating Education interventions in South Africa, Pakistan & Rwanda.”

Funded by UNICEF and the ESRC/DFID Poverty Alleviation Fund the study is a research collaboration between CITE and the UK-based universities of Sussex and Bristol, University of Rwanda, Department of Basic Education and UNICEF.

Its overarching aim is to identify elements of education policy interventions that have enabled teachers to become active agents of peace-building in post-conflict countries, and that may inform future interventions.

In each of the three countries three research sites will be selected where the interventions are or were implemented in the capital city, a rural area and an urban location.

During the seminar Sayed unpacked the perceived roles of teachers in the South African context and discussed various dimensions on which the research will focus.