MUT opens a Writing Centre to strengthen academic support to staff and students

Writing Centre staff, from left, Ntuthuko Mhlongo, Dr Bryant and Tshepang

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has opened a Writing Centre to empower both staff and students with academic writing skills. This latest move further solidifies the foundation for academic success for both groups.  The Writing Centre opened its doors at a time when universities are devising various strategies to support teaching and learning in order to save the academic year and save lives.

Dr Katie Bryant, Coordinator at the Writing Centre, said that the Centre would provide very essential academic writing skills. “The Centre will provide the following services: assistance with assignments, lab reports, essays, annotated bibliography writing, research proposal writing, and   support with understanding issues of academic integrity and referencing,” said Dr Bryant.

Dr Bryant, who is also an Adjunct Research Professor from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, said the goal of the Writing Centre is to continue to build a strong academic and research writing culture at MUT. “The premise here is that everyone needs some form of assistance with their writing. You can only get better with experience and you need a constructive reader,” said Dr Bryant.

The Writing Centre is a much-needed resource for first year students as they transition from high school into the tertiary education system. The Centre is operational during MUT working hours (Monday to Thursday from 8h00 – 16h00 and 8h00 – 13h00 on Fridays).

Students and staff need to register an account at the Writing Centre’s online booking platform mut.mywconline.com or email the centre on writingcentre@mut.ac.za. They can also chat with the Writing Centre via WhatsApp on 079 020 0172. The Centre is on the first floor of the main campus’ library building.

MUT Director of Strategic Planning appointed Deputy President of SAAIR

Liile Lerato Lekena

Mangosuthu University of Technology’s (MUT) newly recruited Director of Institutional Planning is already flying the University flag a few weeks into her new position.

Liile Lerato Lekena, who sits in the Directorate of Institutional Planning and Research (DIPR), has been elected Deputy President of the Southern African Association of Institutional Research (SAAIR) from 2021 to 2022. According to the constitution of the SAAIR, Lekena will proceed to become President of SAAIR from 2023 to 2024 at the end of her current term as Deputy President.

The work of the SAAIR is to advance research and analysis, leading to the production of improved management information for understanding, planning, and operation at higher education institutions and agencies. The organisation also furthers the professional development and training of individuals engaged in institutional research and analysis or those interested in its utilisation in planning, management, and resource allocation.

Lekena said she was looking forward to contributing to the SAAIR which empowers employees in the institutional research field. “I am very passionate about what SAAIR does. Being part of the organisation has helped me grow to the level I am at today. Planning, policy formation, and decision support in higher education are skills not taught in the traditional qualifications which many of us in this line of profession were trained in,” said Lekena.

Lekena said that SAAIR is instrumental in teaching these vital skills in a safe environment.   “I will use the skills I am acquiring at SAAIR to advance the work of the DIPR specifically, and MUT at large,” she said. The SAAIR provides a platform in which practitioners share innovation, it also help members to tap into their creativity and become innovative, said Lekena. Lekena started in her position at MUT in the beginning of the month.

Yet another PhD for the Faculty of Natural Sciences

Dr Buthelezi

The University is once again welcoming a new PhD. This time, it is Sikhumbuzo Archibald Buthelezi, a senior lecturer in the Department of Environmental Health. Dr Buthelezi’s degree is in air quality management. In his thesis entitled, The risk of exposure to indoor air pollution in low-income settlement in Durban, South Africa, the promovendus focused on indoor air pollution (IAP) in low-income settlement of Umlazi Township.

Dr Buthelezi argues that indoor climatic conditions in some dwellings exceeded the international guideline to protect human health. Dr Buthelezi discovered that some households used ‘dirty’, non-electric fuels indoors which contributed to indoor air pollution and caused health-related problems. “Wheezing and hay fever were the most commonly reported respiratory infections as a result of this type of pollution,” said Dr Buthelezi.

Dr Buthelezi used an Indoor Air Quality Risk (IAQR) tool to consider air exchange, ventilation and a rating of health exposure risk. Low air exchange rates were in part attributed to inadequate ventilation in the low-income dwellings. Buthelezi believes the body of knowledge generated by this investigation will contribute to a deeper understanding of indoor climatic conditions that inhabitants are exposed to in low-income dwellings.

“The findings of this study will enhance the gaps identified in the Guidelines for the Management of Domestic Indoor Air Quality in low-income settlements,” said Dr Buthelezi. Dr Buthelezi received his qualification from the University of Pretoria.

 

MUT Director of Strategic Planning appointed Deputy President of SAAIR

Issued by Bheki Hlophe – 082 432 1805                                         20 January 2021

 

MUT Director of Strategic Planning appointed Deputy President of SAAIR

Mangosuthu University of Technology’s (MUT) newly recruited Director of Institutional Planning is already flying the University flag a few weeks into her new position.

Liile Lerato Lekena, who sits in the Directorate of Institutional Planning and Research (DIPR) has been elected Deputy President of the Southern African Association of Institutional Research (SAAIR) from 2021 to 2022. According to the constitution of the SAAIR, Lekena will proceed to become President of SAAIR from 2023 to 2024 at the end of her current term as Deputy President.

The work of the SAAIR is to advance research and analysis, leading to the production of improved management information for understanding, planning, management, and operation at higher educational institutions and agencies. The organisation also furthers the professional development and training of individuals engaged in institutional research and analysis or interested in its utilisation in planning, management, and resource allocation.

Lekena said she was looking forward to contributing to the SAAIR which empowers employees in institutional research field. “I am very passionate about what SAAIR does. Being part of the organisation has helped me grow to the level I am at today. Planning, policy formation, and decision support in higher education are skills not taught in the traditional qualifications which many of us in this line of profession were trained in,” said Lekena.

Lekena said that SAAIR is instrumental in teaching these vital skills in a safe environment.   “I will use the skills I am acquiring at SAAIR to advance the work of the DIPR specifically, and MUT at large,” she said. The SAAIR provides a platform in which practitioners share innovation. The SAAIR helps members to tap into their creativity and become innovative, said Lekena.

Commenting on Lekena’s appointment as Vice-President of SAAIR, Dr Johan van Koller, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Resources and Planning said that the institution was “honoured to have Lekena as a staff member at MUT”.

Lekena started in her position at MUT at the beginning of the month.

 

End

 

 

Bheki Hlophe (Mr)
Publications and Media Relations officer: Marketing & Communications
Mangosuthu University of Technology
T: +27 31 907 7195  M: +27 61 283 2257
E: Hlophe@mut.ac.za

MUT opens a Writing Centre to strengthen academic support to staff and students

Issued by Bheki Hlophe – 082 432 1805

20 January 2021

MUT opens a Writing Centre to strengthen academic support to staff and students

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has opened a Writing Centre to empower both staff and students with academic writing skills, which lays the foundation for academic success.  The Writing Centre has opened its doors at a time when South Africa is still contending with the second wave of COVID-19 infections; while universities are devising strategies to support learners to achieve academic success.

Dr Katie Bryant, Coordinator at the Centre said that the Centre would provide very essential academic writing skills which will help with various academic writing tasks. “The Centre will provide the following services: assistance with assignments, lab report, essay, annotated bibliography writing; research writing proposals, and   support with understanding issues of academic integrity and referencing,” said Dr Bryant.

Dr Bryant, who is also an Adjunct Research Professor from Carleton University in Ottawa Canada, said the goal of the Writing Centre is to continue to build a strong academic and research writing culture at MUT. “The premise here is that everyone needs some form of assistance with their writing. You can only get better with experience. And you need a constructive reader. We come from different backgrounds,” said Dr Bryant.

The Writing Centre will be a much-needed resource for first year students as the transition from high school into the tertiary education system. The Centre is operational during MUT working hours (Monday to Thursday from 8h00 – 16h00 and 8h00 – 13h00 on Fridays).

Students and staff need to register an account at the Writing Centre’s online booking platform mut.mywconline.com or email the centre on: writingcentre@mut.ac.za. They can also chat with the Writing Centre via WhatsApp @ 079 020 0172. The Centre is on the first floor of the main campus’ library building.

Ends

 

Bheki Hlophe (Mr)
Publications and Media Relations officer: Marketing & Communications
Mangosuthu University of Technology
T: +27 31 907 7195  M: +27 61 283 2257
E: Hlophe@mut.ac.za

University resumes academic activities

Dr Makua

At a meeting of the Executive Management held on 6 January 2021 deliberations were held on the resumption of academic activities and the returning of students, given the  Lockdown Level 3 regulations. Dr Manyane Makua, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, said that after careful consideration, the University Executive Management resolved that it was going to continue with the platoon system as originally conceptualized. Dr Makua said that this time more emphasis would be placed on blended learning to conclude the remainder of the 2020 academic year.

“Faculties will determine how these approaches will be implemented and monitored to ensure the efficient completion of the academic programme,” said Dr Makua. The EMC also concluded that data would be provided to students and staff until the end of the current academic year; and that the University would reopen for teaching and learning activities on Monday, 11 January 2021 on a staggered basis as follows:

Faculty of Management Sciences:

 First and Second year students will commence with academic activities on 11 January 2021;

 First year students will finalise outstanding assessments on 11- 15 January 2021 and thereafter leave for home, and

 Third and fourth year students will return on 20 January 2021 to prepare for examinations which commence on 25 January 2021; and

The Advanced Diploma students in this faculty will receive communication from the heads of departments.

Faculty of Engineering:

 First Year, S1, Pre Tech and ECP students will return on 15 February 2021 to 12 March 2021 when examinations conclude;

 S3, S4 and Advanced Diploma students will return on 11 January 2021 to 12 February 2021 for their final examinations.

First Year and Second year students from Quantity Surveying, S1, S2, Pre Tech and ECP students will return on 15 February 2021 to 12 March 2021 to conclude all assessment;

Third year quantity surveying, S3, S4 and Advanced Diploma students will return on 11 January 2021 to 12 February 2021 in preparation for their final examinations to commence on the 15th of February.

Faculty of Natural Sciences:

 ECP, First and Second year students will return on 11 January 2021 to 15 February 2021;

 Third year, Advanced Diploma, Post Graduate Diploma and Masters students are not required to be on campus as they will work on-line. Exit level students with outstanding practicals will be informed by their respective heads of departments on when to return to conclude these activities.

Dr Makua said that the schedule was intended to ensure the orderly and safe return of students to residences. “Affected students are encouraged to return as advised as acceptance to residences will be based on this schedule,” said Dr Makua.

The EMC spent some time on health-related issues, as they were “life and death”, given the Covid-19 situation. The Management of the Institution said that in cases where students would be required to be physically present on campus, the platoon system would be used, and that all safety protocols would be enforced, including the compulsory wearing of masks. Dr Makua said that Management would monitor the provision of health and safety issues with a view to continuous improvement. “To this extent all facilities that require urgent maintenance and repairs are being attended to as a matter of priority,” he said.

Students get new lockers

Lindo, left, showing Mapho the brand new lockers

The beatification programme that was begun a few years ago continues. The latest news is said to bring a huge smile to the immediate beneficiaries – the students.  The Department of Infrastructure that is implementing the programme said it had installed more than 250 student lockers. Lindo Mzolo, Infrastructure Coordinator in the department, said they would be adding more lockers. The old lockers have been replaced with beautiful colourful ones that support the bright colours and the modern look that the University is moving towards. This new way of projecting the University is in line with its general philosophy of being a young looking and welcoming place for young people, its staff and the general public. Mapho Kunene, the Secretary at the Student Representative Council (SRC) office, responsible for the allocation and the care of the lockers, said the new lockers were a big improvement. “These lockers are going to be a source of many smiles on the faces of the students. The students are now going to easily focus on their studies, both in the lecture halls and in the library, knowing that their books and other valuables are safe,” said Mapho. Mapho requested the students to look after their lockers, and consider them as a long term investment for the University. “All the students need to do is to buy padlocks with a set of keys. They will have to give one key to Mapho to keep, in case they lose the other one.

Sport change rooms get a face lift- this will be our pride, Acting Sport Director

From left, Nozipho Mazibuko, Nomkhosi Ndlovu, both from the Sport department; and Lindo Mzolo, Infrastructure Coordinator, Department of Infrastructure. Lindo’s department is responsible for the refurbishment of the change rooms

Nestled under the pavilion, and completely out of sight, is newly renovated gem! These are the University’s sports change rooms for both male and female teams. The change rooms have been recently given a face lift, and were handed over to the Department of Sport on 22 December 2020. The Acting Deputy Director in the department, Bongile Ganyile, said the timing of the hand-over was perfect. “This would not have come at the better time when all our energy is directed at making sure that we offer an excellent service to our students and the University community at large,” said Bongile. The department is in the process of rebranding and repositioning itself, according to Bongile. Bongile said they were now going to host teams with pride, knowing that they had such a facility that would lift everyone’s spirit.

Sport at MUT has becoming a career-lodging pad for some students. A number of the University former students are now holding positions at national sport bodies. Some have taken part at international tournaments. As Bongile put it, sport at MUT inspires everyone to strive to excel.

MUT resumes academic activities

Issued by Bheki Hlophe – 082 432 1805

7 January 2021

MUT resumes academic activities  

At a meeting of the Executive Management held on 6 January 2021 deliberations were held on the resumption of academic activities and the returning of students taking into consideration the Lockdown Level 3 regulations.

Dr Manyane Makua, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, said that after careful consideration, the University Executive Management resolved as follows:

  1. The Platoon system schedule will continue as originally conceptualized with more emphasis placed on blended learning. Faculties will determine how these approaches will be implemented and monitored to ensure the efficient completion of the academic programme;
  2. Data will be provided to students and staff until the end of the current academic year;
  3. The University will reopen for teaching and learning activities on Monday, 11 January 2021 on a staggered basis as follows:

Faculty of Management Sciences:

  • First and Second year students will commence with academic activities on 11 January 2021
  • First year students will finalise outstanding assessments on 11- 15 January 2021 and thereafter leave for home, and
  •  Third and fourth year students will return on 20 January 2021 to prepare for examinations which commence on 25 January 2021;

Faculty of Engineering:

  • First Year, S1, Pre Tech and ECP students will return on 15 February 2021 to 12 March 2021 when examinations conclude;
  • S3, S4 and Advanced Diploma students will return on 11 January 2021 to 12 February 2021 for their final examinations.
  • First Year and Second year students from Quantity Surveying, S1, S2, Pre Tech and ECP students will return on 15 February 2021 to 12 March 2021 to conclude all assessment;
  • Third year quantity surveying, S3, S4 and Advanced Diploma students will return on 11 January 2021 to 12 February 2021 in preparation for their final examinations to commence on the 15th of February.

Faculty of Natural Sciences:

  • ECP, First and Second year students will return on 11 January 2021 to 15 February 2021
  • Third year, Advanced Diploma, Post Graduate Diploma and Masters students are not required to be on campus as they will work on-line. Exit level students with outstanding practicals will be informed by their respective HoDs on when to return to conclude these activities.

This schedule is intended to ensure the orderly and safe return of students to residences. Affected students are encouraged to return as advised as acceptance to residences will be based on this schedule.

The EMC also considered the following:

  1. In the interest of the health and safety of students and staff, Management encourages the continued use of blended learning to conclude the remainder of the 2020 academic year;
  2. In cases where students are required to be physically present on campus, the platoon system will be used and all safety protocols will be enforced, including the compulsory wearing of masks;
  3. Management will monitor Health and safety issues with a view to continuous improvement. To this extent all facilities that require urgent maintenance and repairs are being attended to as a matter of priority;
  4. All students and staff are required to adhere to Covid-19 protocols i.e wearing of face masks; sanitization; and social distancing.

 

End

 

Bheki Hlophe (Mr)
Publications and Media Relations officer: Marketing & Communications
Mangosuthu University of Technology
T: +27 31 907 7195  M: +27 61 283 2257
E: Hlophe@mut.ac.za

Reopening of The University and Postponement of the resumption of lectures

Issued by Bheki Hlophe – 082 432 1805

1 January 2021

REOPENING OF THE UNIVERSITY AND POSTPONEMENT OF THE RESUMPTION OF LECTURES

On 31 December 2020, the University Executive Management held an emergency meeting in which they deliberated on the reopening of the University, the return of students and the resumption of lectures. This was a response to the country being placed on Lockdown Level 3. The Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Marcus Ramogale, said that after careful consideration of various options, Executive Management resolved as follows:

  1. That the University will reopen on Monday, 4 January 2021, for administrative and academic staff members only;
  2. That students who are already at home should not return to the University and to their residences until further notice; and
  3. That the resumption of lectures on 4 January 2021 is postponed until further notice.

“The rationale for the above resolutions is to allow us some time to prepare for the return of students and the resumption of the academic programme as Level 3 restrictions necessitate a review of our teaching and learning plan. Students will be informed in due course about the date of their return and the resumption of lectures,” said Professor Ramogale.

Professor Ramogale then wished staff and students a prosperous and safe 2021. “Let us pray that 2021 becomes a better year characterised by individual responsibility and concerted efforts to protect one another from COVID-19 infections. I am very happy that the President has made the wearing of masks enforceable and I trust that we will apply this rule on our campuses and residences as well,” concluded the Acting Vice-Chancellor.

 

                                                                                                              Ends

 

 

Bheki Hlophe (Mr)
Publications and Media Relations officer: Marketing & Communications
Mangosuthu University of Technology
T: +27 31 907 7195  M: +27 61 283 2257
E: Hlophe@mut.ac.za

Winners of VC Teaching Excellence Awards thank TLDC

With Dr Siphiwe Gumede, Acting Senior Director: TLDC, fourth from left, are the winners, from left: Dr Tumba, Professor Arthur, Tarirai, Kavita and Dr Duma

In spite of the Covid-19, the University’s Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC) was able to host the annual Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards. Winners of the awards were judged in terms of the strength of their portfolios, the innovativeness of their teaching strategies, and the opinions of their students about them, among other things. These are some of the attributes that make a good teacher, as Professor Marcus Ramogale, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, said during the meeting. Winner after winner on 18 December 2020 thanked the TLDC for continuing to recognise the efforts of the academics in improving the lives of the students through education, their colleagues, and families for giving them support.

Dr Thulile Duma, a Lecturer in the Department of Human Resources attributed her success to the “push” she got from her students. “They are our customers. Without them we would not have anything to do. The students’ success is our success,” said Dr Duma.

Professor Georgina Arthur of the Department of Nature Conservation, Dr Kaniki Tumba, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering, used the podium opportunity to unpack their teaching strategies that were the main reasons for their success. Dr Tumba said that lecturers needed to ask themselves it they would be successful if they were doing something they were not happy with. Dr Tumba said he first makes sure the students are happy before he starts his lecture. Professor Arthur said she pays particular attention to the first year students because they are vulnerable at this stage of their studies.

Tarirai Chani, a Lecturer in the Department of Information Communication and Technology highlighted the support she got from the Head of the Department, Dr Vikash Jugoo. Kavita Behara, a Lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering, was more philosophical. She said her mentor, Professor Pius Owolawi, former Head of the Department and an award winner, used to tell her to “swallow and swallow everything.” One day it would be beneficial to her, she was told. Kavita also credited her students for her success.

Another winner was Mantwa Madiba. From the time she joined the Department of Accounting and Law a few years ago as an N-Gap lecturer, Mantwa hit the ground running. Mantwa used technology to get her message across to the students. Mantwa also used other means to strengthen her relationship with the students. Mantwa is currently studying in the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship. Connecting to the meeting via Zoom, Mantwa reiterated what other winners said the TLDC, and the importance of support from various quarters.

The other winner was Dr Kuben Naidoo, a Lecturer in the Department of Nature Conservation. Dr Naidoo could not attend the event.

All the winners won an all-expense paid for attendance of 2021 HE LTASA conference, and some cash, among other things. Dr Tumba’s package includes a student assistant as a resource to alleviate his teaching load.

The organisers of the event continued to recognise the efforts of the students. The following students won varying amounts of cash, trophies, and goodies hampers: T. Sikhakhane and NF Mhlongo, both from the Faculty of Natural Sciences; TM Malinga and M Mlungu, both from the Faculty of Management Sciences; and NM Dlamini and AZ Xhoko, from the Faculty of Engineering. Some of the students said it was working hard, and having the passion for what they were studying that made them successful. The event was graced by the presence of the University Chair of Council, Mr Morailane Morailane.

Acting Vice-Chancellor pays tribute to EMC

Professor Ramogale

Professor Marcus Ramogale, Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal took his Saturday to personally thank EMC at a social gathering for partnering with him in his vision to save lives and the academic year. “Saving lives and saving the academic yearwas a mandate given by the Department of Higher Education & Training to all institutions of higher learning under Level 4 of South Africa’s Lockdown.. In its efforts to galvanise staff and students, the University adopted the ‘Save lives, Save the academic year’ as its mantra. Professor Ramogale also used this time to relay the University Council’s appreciation of all the hard work that the University leadership has been doing; moving MUT from being high risk to being low risk. Professor Ramogale urged the EMC members to look after themselves, and to be at the forefront of observing COVID-19 protocols. “We do not know what next year holds, except for the fact that we are now currently under the second wave of COVID-19. We must capitalize on our experience of dealing with COVID-19 and use this as currency in handling the second wave,” said Professor Ramogale.

The social gathering ended with a prayer and a blessing by Dr Manyane Makua, the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning.

MUT has a toned down end-of-year function because of Covid-19

Creating a festive mood amid gloom! Some staff members with their gifts

Ordinarily, the University staff would be enjoying their festive break now. But not so in 2020! On the last Monday before the Christmas, the University staff were still at work, thanks for Covid-19 that turned everyone’s life around. Seeing that there would be no usual staff year-end function, University Management decided that the employees of the University should have something to take home on 21 December 2020. “We decided that we should still have something to give to staff; this is a season of giving. The essence of the staff-year-end function is that Management would be thanking staff for having worked hard throughout the year. The function takes a family format – being together, chatting, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. Given the Covid-19 restrictions, giving was the only part of the end of year function that we could retain,” said Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing and Communications. On the following day one staff member said they were already thinking about what food to prepare on the brand new braai stand they received from the University for their toil throughout 2020, a year that is associated with all the gloom one can think of. Mbali said they wanted to take away that gloom, and bring back a smile to staff who, like the rest of the world community, continue to be affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

New SRC hits the road running

Mthokozisi Gumede

Newly elected MUT SRC President, Mthokozisi Gumede and his Secretary General, Mbali Ntshingila have already put together a plan to fight the pandemic just days after being inaugurated. The plan was first presented at the COVID-19 Task Team meeting. “We are concerned about the second wave of COVID-19 and as student leaders; we have seen fit to lead the fight against the new wave”. In their submission to the Office of the Student Development Officer, Dr Mthokozisi Ntuli, the first thing that they would like to partner with the University management is on the transportation of students. “We have noticed a few breaches of the COVID-19 protocols and will be partnering with various departments to ensure the safety of students. Some of our recommendations are as follows:

  1. Students must be allowed in small batches to come and attend contact classes.
  2. Many classes and tests must be conducted online after the data has been loaded.
  3. There must be sanitizers in all buses.
  4. Sanitizers and masks be redistributed to all students.

“As the SRC we are fully committed to support the institution by heading awareness campaigns in residences and on campus to raise a high level of education among students. We lost so much time and lives in 2020, let us not lose 2021 on matters that could have been easily attended. We are committing ourselves to work with the University to make sure that the students and staff lives are well secured, and that academic calendar is saved.” Commending the initiative at the COVID-19 meeting, COVID-19 Task Team members encouraged the new SRC to be their eyes and ears on the ground so that the University saves lives and saves the academic year.

‘Feliz Navidad’ spirit despite the gloomy season

Staff member Ray Zulu, right, enjoyed the festive mood created by the Department of Marketing and Communications  

December is a joyous season-no matter what. MUT’s December could not have been stolen by COVID-19. Staff came in unprecedented numbers to receive their gifts-more than they have done so. The mood at reception was festive and electric. “For a few minutes we forgot about COVID-19 within these premises. We were reminded of the joy that December once held for us. It was refreshing to listen to songs that one is so familiar with outside campus”, commented many staff members.

The University inaugurates 2021 SRC

Members of the new SRC

The University has a new Student Representative Council (SRC). The inauguration of the new SRC took place on 15 December 2020. The inauguration gave the incoming SRC an opportunity to meet the University Management. It was also time for the University leadership to also hear what the new SRC was bringing on board as part of student leadership. The new SRC is expected to play a big role in how the University deals with the Covid-19 challenge.

Addressing the new SRC, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Marcus Ramogale gave the student leaders a lecture on leadership and politics. “It does not matter if the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice,” Professor Ramogale quoted Deng Xiaoping, a Chinese leader from 1978 to 1997. The gist of Professor Ramogale’s lecture was that ideology did not ensure success. What results in success is adjusting to the prevailing circumstances. The ‘Third Way’ which Professor Ramogale said has been advocated by Deng and some other influential leaders like President Thabo Mbeki and President Bill Clinton of the United States, was a result of the understanding of the prevailing circumstances, and making the necessary adjustments. Professor Ramogale impressed upon the student leaders that it was knowledge that matters, not slogans.

The new SRC President, Mthokozisi Gumede, an Advanced Diploma in Office Technology and Management student, said from the Acting Vice-Chancellor’s lecture he learnt that what was important was to use an idea that would work, and not be confined with ideology.  What matters is the idea that brings results, Mthokozisi said.

Delivering his inaugural speech, Mthokozisi called for unity for all the structures that would be part of the University, one way or the other, during their tenure. “Let me call upon all political structures, clubs, societies and forums to put aside all their differences, ideological insinuations and forge unity towards transforming MUT into an institution that is seen playing a vigilant role in developing students academically, politically, socially, religiously and culturally.” Mthokozisi said the unity that he was calling for was going to ensure that they would work as a collective even though they were coming from different backgrounds. This is one of the lessons he learnt from the Acting Vice-Chancellor’s lecture.

Mthokozisi assured everyone that they are going to put the students at the centre of everything they would do. He said they would indeed work together regardless of political affiliations and where they come from because their responsibility is to serve the interests of students. “We shall be students’ servants until the end of our term of office. Our cell phone numbers will always be made available to every student; you must never hesitate to call us at any given day or time,” he said. Out of the 11 portfolios, the EFF Student Command, from which Mthokozisi comes, has five, SASCO has four. The remaining portfolios are independent.

Mthokozisi also added that they were going to carry out what they had promised the students when they were campaigning. “As from today, we want data for all registered students because online classes are continuing. Also, we want to use the SRC budget to register unfunded students; we want to host graduation ceremonies for our students; we want the Amnesty day to be open,” he said, adding that they would not accept fee increment for the 2021 academic year. “We demand the 24/7 operating library, and that all advanced diploma students be funded, and that all cash paying students be considered when releasing fee concessions before we are told about fee increments,” he said.

The 2021 SRC will also be remembered for having Mbali Ntshingila as a Secretary General, a continuation of trend that resumed last year after more than 10 years of under-representation of female students in the SRC. Also to be noted is that Mbali is one of the four female students in the SRC.

Mbali acknowledged that Professor Ramogale “gave us food for thought.” In terms of the Acting Vice-Chancellor’s speech, leaders are not supposed to be self-absorbed, she said. Mbali said that being in a student leadership position was not a chance for them to enrich themselves. She highlighted that they needed to do what would benefit the whole of the University, not just the students. Mbali added that they would run a strong Gender-based Violence programme, and that she was going to be directly responsible for it. Mbali herself was once victimised because of her gender. She is also aware of some gender-related incidences that have happened at the University. She reported these to the responsible authorities. Mbali warned that as much as GBV has always been associated with women victimisation, some men have been also been victimised by women.

The other female student leaders are Minenhle Shabalala (Faculties Officer), Dlamini Khalipha (Residence Liaison Offier), and Sarah Ndamase (Health and Social Welfare Officer).

The University’s recruitment team takes part in School District prayer

These are some of the principals and other stakeholders at the event. From left Lungi Chiliza, Linda Mthembu, Reverend Mzini, and Sizwe Mbhele

It has become a usual phenomenon for South Africans to offer a prayer, given the tough year that 2020 has been. The University’s MUT Marketing and Communications’ Schools was part of a prayer offering event that took place on 10 December 2020. The Schools team partnered with the Mkomaas District Principals and had a prayer by which they celebrated the end of the year.  The district was applauding Principals for their dedication and hard work, especially during the hard Lockdown and ensuring the academic year was saved. The event commenced with remembering all teachers that passed away during the year, thereafter a prayer service was conducted by Reverend Mzini of UCCSA, Mfume, South Coast. The event gave the University an opportunity to strengthen its relations with Principals and various other stakeholders who were in attendance. Ayanda Bulose and Sibongile Bulose, both members of the Schools Liaison team, committed to assisting learners with subject choice and applications early in the year in order to avoid late applications.

The two MUT staffers have been all over KZN working hard to make sure that they cover most of MUT’s feeder schools as soon as the Lockdown regulations were relaxed. “We had a lot to do this year to bring the University to the attention of the people that need to know about it most. We are confident that again this time this will assist in attracting quality students to apply at MUT. We are hoping for a more seamless student recruitment programme in 2021,” said Ayanda.

TLDC’s ALLU runs a writing competition

Dr Ndebele, seated, fourth from left, with the students that won, and some staff members of ALLU

The Teaching and Learning Development Centre’s Academic Literacy and Language Unit (ALLU) recently ran a writing competition by which it aimed to improve the writing and reading standard of the students. Dr Hloniphani Ndebele of ALLU, said they also wanted to see to it “that the existing talent among our diverse student population was recoginsed and nurtured. We consider reading and writing important literacies in one’s academic life and beyond,” said Dr Ndebele.

Dr Ndebele said that it was very encouraging to note that there is a lot of talent and potential among MUT students. A number of students submitted very good pieces of their writing However, they could not all win, hence a rigorous adjudication process was put in place involving experts in the field of writing, he said.

The following students’ stories and poems were the top four: Siyabonga Dlamini   –  Sindiswa; Sinovuyo Gwalisa – A slow burning; Njabulo Nxumalo –  Amadoda udoti; and Siyabonga Simthembile –  Isandla Sinesandla.

Dr Ndebele said the highlight of the competition was the total number of the students that participated. “The 2020 competition had a total of 23 participants who wrote six poems and 17 short stories,” said Dr Ndebele. The students submitted their creative pieces in IsiZulu, IsiXhosa and English. Prizes among other things included tablets, notebooks, and vouchers.

MUT loses two students

Press release

5 December 2020

For immediate release

Bheki Hlophe – 082 432 1805

 

MUT loses two students

This weekend the University lost two of its students, one through a freak accident, and one to natural causes.

Nokuzola Ndawande, a third year Quantity Surveying student from Durban’s Clermont, met her untimely death during a celebration by the EFF Student Command (EFFSC) students. The members of the EFFSC were moving from student residence to student residence, celebrating their winning of the 2020 Student Representative Council (SRC) elections. It is reported that the members of the EFFSC took to King Dinuzulu Road, Musgrave. Nokuzola accidentally slipped and was knocked down by two cars, it was reported.  A male student who was with her at the time has reported that he called the medical emergency services; they waited for two hours, it is said he reported, and that when the ambulance arrived at the scene, it was too late.

Nokuzola’s family has been notified and been to the scene. The University has assisted the family with collecting Nokuzola’s belongings at Bernard Close, an external student residence where Nokuzola resided. Any other information will be communicated to the University community once the family has confirmed the details of her burial arrangements.

Sthembiso Mttshali, an Electrical Engineering student from Escourt, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, passed away due to illness.

 

Ends

 

NRF funding to boost Blue Energy research at MUT

R Tumba

The news broke this Thursday, 3 November 2020 in the morning when NRF officially notified Dr Kaniki Tumba, Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of the Thermodynamics-Materials-Separations Research Group (TMSRG) in the Department of Chemical Engineering, of its decision to support Blue Energy research at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT). This will be done over three years (2021-2023) as part of the NRF competitive support programme for rated researchers.

“This grant is significant as funding opportunities for non-COVID-19-related research shrunk over the last 10 months,” said Dr Tumba. Furthermore, it is a notable boost for ground-breaking Blue Energy research at MUT. To date, no other African research group is involved in research on this type of energy. According to Dr Tumba, the NRF has acknowledged the pioneering role MUT researchers intend to play in the emerging field of Blue Energy on the African continent.

Blue Energy is a form of renewable ocean energy obtained from the mixing of seawater with either fresh water at a river mouth, or concentrated salt water discarded from desalination plants. In this project, MUT researchers will provide comprehensive techno-economic data related to the design and construction of a pilot salinity gradient power station for electricity generation in eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, using reverse electro dialysis. Chinese researchers from Hebei University of Technology, eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality Process Engineers, as well as MUT researchers from other Engineering departments will also collaborate in this multidisciplinary project.

MUT collaborates with the Department of Social Development to fight Substance Abuse and Human Trafficking

Dr Naidoo

In an effort to create awareness among the MUT student community, Sister Bongiwe Sithole from Campus Health Services and Dr Paulette Naidoo from the Student Counselling unit, collaborated with the Department of Social Development by hosting an online webinar entitled Substance Abuse and Human Trafficking: Don’t hang your dreams, hang the bottle and drugs! The main reason for the meeting was that alcohol, substance abuse and human trafficking have become the widely-prevalent social ills which impact on South African society, including students in Higher Education. The event was hosted on 18 November 2020.

One of the guest speakers, Motshabi Nkoane, Social Work Policy Manager from the National Department of Social Development, highlighted the range of substances and forms of illicit drugs on the market, with the aim of increasing student awareness. Dr Paulette Naidoo, Director: Student Counselling, said that alcohol was identified as the most widely used substance in society, while cannabis was found to be the third-highest substance of abuse, especially among young people. “The risks associated with slimming drugs and substances used to stay awake when studying, was also highlighted in the talk.  Students were also informed about substance abuse prevention and support resources available in the community, including in-patient and out-patient facilities”, said Dr Naidoo.

Another guest speaker, Colonel Parmanand Jagwa – National Coordinator: Human Trafficking at the South African Police Services Head Office, provided students with an in-depth and compelling account of the realities of human trafficking in society. These included the use of ‘victim control mechanism’, such as drugs, to trap and maintain victims in a vicious cycle of drug abuse and dependence, blackmail and exploitation through prostitution and pornography.

To ensure that the conversation about the issues continued, and that the students receive help beyond the meeting, a toll-free substance abuse hotline was given out: 0800 121314.

Environmental Health WIL partners with Umlazi parish to raise awareness on COVID-19

Dr Nofemela, left and Dr Mnculwane

Partnerships between universities and communities are crucial in spreading the COVID-19 awareness message, if we are to win the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr Fundiswa Nofemela, Director of the Department of Cooperative Education.

In contributing to limiting the spread of the Coronavirus, MUT, through its Co-operative Education and Community Engagement and Development directorates, as well as the Department of Environmental Health, embarked on a mission to raise awareness within the church community on how they could keep the COVID-19 curve flat. For this reason, these MUT divisions partnered with the Anglican Church, Parish of Umlazi. Dr Nofemela said that this was part of the University’s Anchor Strategy.

Through the MUT-Parish of Umlazi Covid-19 Education project, the 2020 Environmental Health WIL class has developed a series of COVID-19 educational videos under the theme: Keeping the COVID-19 curve flat in the church and in the community. 

On 30 November 2020, the videos were handed over to the Rector of the Anglican Church, Parish of Umlazi, Dr Vikinduku Mnculwane. Dr Mnculwane expressed gratitude at the project and indicated that the videos would be shared not only within the church in Umlazi, but with the entire clergy in the Diocese of Natal.

“Through this project, we have managed to ensure that the Environmental Health WIL class of 2020 class was not left behind,” said Dr Nofemela, as she handed over the videos to Dr Mnculwane. The Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Dr Manyane Makua commended the Co-operative Education directorate for spearheading the project.

Reflecting on what they have learned, students said that it was exciting to be part of the project; they learned to work with the community and developed an understanding that as future Environmental Health practitioners, they would always need to be in the forefront of the fight against pandemics.

Acting VC gets recognition for advancing entrepreneurship

Professor Ramogale

Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal of MUT, Professor Marcus Ramogale has been on a mission to transform MUT students from being job seekers to employers. This is a mammoth task because it often means convincing students to go against what they have been taught their whole life.

“All of us come from families where we are told to go to school, get a good education and get a good job,” said Professor Ramogale.

Last week, Professor Ramogale received the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Rising Star DVC Award in recognition of the remarkable progress he made in support of entrepreneurship in 2020.

In his acceptance speech, Professor Ramogale took the audience through MUT’s strategy of inculcating entrepreneurship. He explained to the audience that the University had adopted entrepreneurship as one of its core curriculum for all students registered at MUT.

“Being a University of Technology, we felt that one of the things that would distinguish our students is to make sure that every graduate that comes from the institution has some entrepreneurship skills,” he said. “Our Senate adopted this core curriculum which includes amongst other things entrepreneurship education.”

MUT students embraced this decision and capitalised on entrepreneurship education to start their own businesses.

“For me what has been really incredible is the way students have taken to the idea of entrepreneurship,” said Professor Ramogale. “I have been really encouraged by the students because when you talk to them about entrepreneurship, when you say there are options in the world, you get this remarkable reception amongst our students.”

ICT student creates home perfume business

Zinhle, left, and Sli, showing the home perfume

It has always been nice when a good plan comes together! The MUT publications continue to feature students in business, a very nice song to those that promote entrepreneurship among the students. One of such people is Professor Marcus Ramogale, the Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal. This time around we feature a second year ICT student, Zinhle Shezi.

Zinhle says she has always been business-minded. “For as long as I can remember I have always been selling something but it has always been something, albeit informally,” said Zinhle. Zinhle said in March 2020 she registered her business. She said she was encouraged by Sli Dlamini, a Lecturer in the Department of Information Communication and Technology.

“During Lockdown, I didn’t like the idea of having a registered company and not doing anything towards it. So, I sat down and made a list of my past failures, all the things I had tried selling before. I did some introspection to see where I went wrong. I decided I would choose something from that list that I could give a second shot at. I decided upon creating home fragrances as this seemed more convenient because I wanted something that would not be too demanding and interfere with my studies,” said Zinhle.

Zinhle’s company is Springs Home Fragrances. “It is a manufacturing company, we carefully blend different types of oils and other resources to produce products such as reed diffusers, candles and room mist sprays. Our products help create a perfect atmosphere for any occasion,” said Zinhle.

Morailane re-elected to serve another term as Chair of MUT Council

Mr Morailane

Mr Morailane Morailane has been re-elected to serve another term as the Chair of MUT Council. Mr Morailane is a seasoned Council member with years of experience serving the University Council in various capacities. He is joined by Mr Oupa Galane who replaced Dr Zethu Qunta as Deputy Chairperson. A complete list of the new appointments is as follows:

  1. Chairperson Mr M Morailane re-elected
  2. Deputy Chairperson Mr Oupa Galane
  3. Senate Representative Mr Gona Govender
  4. Ministerial Appointee Mr Bheka Makhathini
  5. Council Appointee Ms Lungile Nene
  6. Council Appointee Mr Mthulisi Msimang

MUT wishes them the best in fulfilling their responsibilities.

EFFSC wins 2020 SRC elections

A student voting

EFF Student Command has emerged as winners in the highly contested 2020 SRC elections held on 3 December 2020. The EFFSC unseated SASCO by obtaining 2733 votes, while SASCO obtained 2524 votes. By obtaining the majority of the votes, the Student Command got five seats out of the 11 seats. SASCO got four seats. The other two seats went Khalipha Dlamini and Mthokozosi Gumede, both are independent candidates. The total number of votes cast was 5948. The results can be challenged within 48 hours. The final results will be announced after this period. The inauguration of the new SRC will be on 15 December 2020.