MUT popularity soars among potential students

Where to study! MUT main campus

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) is gearing up for registration for the 2022 academic year, which will commence in February 14. The University has received more than 105 000 applications, for 3516 for places for new students in its three faculties for the 2022 academic year.

Zolisa Gqamane, Deputy Registrar: Academic, said: “the number of first-time entering students for 2022 academic year is 3516 across all faculties.”

The Faculty of Engineering received 17 411 for all its six mainstream academic programmes and the Extended Curriculum Programmes and access courses. The Faculty of Management Sciences received the biggest number of applications. The Faculty received 45 995 applications for all its academic programmes, including the Extended Curriculum Programme. The Faculty of Natural Sciences received 43 932 applications. These included 60 prospective Master’s students, and 70 prospective Postgraduate Diploma students, both in the Department of Nature Conservation. The Diploma in Office Management and Technology received 12 235 applications, making it the most popular offering in the University.

MUT registration for 2022 is scheduled for 14-25 February 2022.  Gqamane said new and returning students were encouraged to make use of MUT online registration platform.  The Institution is expected to enroll a total of 13 524 students, which includes both new and returning students.

Positive digital vibes as EMC hosts its first 2022 meeting

Dr Makua

Welcoming MUT’s Executive Management Committee (EMC) to its first meeting on 12 January 2022, Acting Vice-Chancellor, Dr Manyane Makua thanked the EMC for the work done since the University re-opened. Dr Makua gave EMC members an assurance that their work has been notable, along with their efforts to make the return to campus a seamless process, especially given the uniqueness of the academic year not being complete. Dr Makua requested the EMC to continue holding the fort and ensure that the University thrives.

The camaraderie among EMC members could also be felt as they engaged among themselves ahead of the formal meeting. A prosperous year beckons for all at MUT as Dr Makua wished everyone.

MUT issues over 1500 firm offers ahead of registration

Zolisa Gqamane

The work of the office of the Registrar has been commendable, especially in confirming applications of over 1500 potential students. These are learners whose space is now secured at MUT for the 2022 academic year.

“Our plan is to ensure that by the time the Matric results are issued, we have a few confirmations to issue. This will lessen the burden of parents and students who have to come to MUT, uncertain whether they are accepted or not. The registration process will take effect from 14-25 February,” said Zolisa Gqamane, Deputy Registrar: Academic Administration.

Delight as MUT final exams take off

File picture: MUT students writing exams

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) commenced with its final exams this week as the University is on course to complete its 2021 academic calendar, which started late due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Commenting on progress with the examination, Zolisa Gqamane, Deputy Registrar: Academic Administration said the University was taking all the necessary COVID-19 precautions to keep both its students and staff safe. So far, added Gqamane, exams have continued without any interruptions.

“I want to take my hat off for our students for their ability to adapt to what the past two years have thrown at them,” said Gqamane. “It is unfortunate that these disruptions are the only experience of University life for students who joined the University for the first time in 2020.”

Meanwhile, MUT is also preparing to register both new and return students from 14-25 February 2022.

The University is all set to commence 2022 from 28 February 2022. The University’s state of readiness is best articulated through its Almanac, which is available on the MUT website under Quick Links.

Hats off to the Teaching & Learning programme

Phumzile Masala

It was music to the ears of EMC and most importantly, Dr Manyane Makua, the man tasked with leading the entire academic programme, when Phumzile Masala, Acting Registrar, confirmed that the last day of the final 2021 exams is 22 January 2022. Masala was speaking at the EMC meeting held on 12 January 2022.

Dr Makua, who is standing in as Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, is probably playing the song, “It wasn’t easy but it was worth it”. Salute to everyone who enabled the academic agenda to be at the stage it is at. The University, through its Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Marcus Ramogale’s constant messages about “saving the academic year” and “saving lives” has been clear.

The 2021 academic year was not easy; the great work of all involved is commendable.

MarComms launches new registration campaign

Some MUT students from SADC, and West and Central Africa

The Department of Marketing and Communication (MarComms) at MUT is on a mission to encourage learners who applied to MUT to take up the spaces they have been offered at the University. The main weapon in MarComms’ arsenal is its registration campaign.

“Registration is a challenge globally. Students all over the world are being caught up in various challenges, leading to missed registration deadlines. This year, to augment EMC’s determination to end the academic year in 2022, our campaign theme is “Before”. We hope this “Before” could be a call to action for potential students to register on time by following the proper registration protocols. Join us and help us spread the word to our students not to procrastinate their registration process”, said Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing and Communications.

Over the years, MUT has become first choice for matriculants in South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. This accomplishment is the result of consistent and effective brand awareness campaigns that are a persistent reminder of the strengths and opportunities the University has to offer.

“Our modestly themed “Before” campaign dangles the carrot by bragging about the benefits and privileges that only a bona fide MUT student can enjoy. It highlights the university’s unique offerings such as the ultra-modern facilities, competitive academic offerings, diverse sporting codes, COVID-19 vigilance, prosperous alumni and more. These messages are integrated robustly across all 16 MUT communication channels to ensure that it truly communicates what sets MUT apart, thus giving the University a competitive edge”, said Mbali Mkhize.

The campaign has a solid call to action, which persuades prospective students to register to enjoy the benefits MUT has to offer. It is based on the believe that all staff and students are important brand touch points and the most believable brand news sources that can either make or break the brand.

The campaign is online and offline. Join the campaign and help spread positive news about the University.

MUT popularity soars among potential students

12 January 2022

 MUT popularity soars among potential students

 Issued on behalf of Ms Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing & Communications

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) is gearing up for registration for the 2022 academic year which will commence in February 14. The University has received more than 105 000 applications, for 3516 for places for new students in its three faculties for the 2022 academic year.

Zolisa Gqamane, Deputy Registrar: Academic, said: “the number of first-time entering students for 2022 academic year is 3516 across all faculties.

The Faculty of Engineering received 17 411 for all its six mainstream academic programmes and the Extended Curriculum Programmes and access courses. The Faculty of Management Sciences received the biggest number of applications. The Faculty received 45 995 applications for all its academic programmes, including the Extended Curriculum Programme. The Faculty of Natural Sciences received 43 932 applications. These included 60 prospective Master’s students, and 70 prospective Postgraduate Diploma students, both in the Department of Nature Conservation. The Diploma in Office Management and Technology received 12 235 applications, making it the most popular offering in the University. Altogether, the University received 107 338 applications for January/February 2022 intake.

MUT registration for 2022 is scheduled for 14-25 February 2022.

Gqamane said new and returning students were encouraged to make use of MUT online registration platform.  The Institution is expected to enroll a total of 13 524 students, which includes both new and returning students.

End/

Agriculture Lecturer attains NRF rating 

Dr Adejoro, left, at one of the livestock farms

The number of MUT academics that receive NRF (National Research Foundation) rating keeps growing. Lately, the University welcomed news that Dr Festus Adejoro, a lecturer in the Department of Agriculture, has been granted a ‘Y’ by the NRF. A ‘Y’ rating indicates that one is a promising young researcher.

News of Dr Adejoro’s rating was delivered to  MUT Research Director, Dr Anette Mienie, on 20 December last year. Dr Mienie characterised the news as “a major milestone” in Dr Adejoro’s career.  She added that Dr Adejoro’s “hard work has been rewarded by being acknowledged as an NRF-rated Scientist”.

In his reaction, Dr Adejoro thanked the support from the University management.  “I am also grateful to the leadership of MUT at the departmental, faculty and University levels for providing an enabling environment for us to thrive. I look forward with hope to more giant strides,” said Dr Adejoro.

Dr Adejoro said what motivated him to apply for the rating were the enhanced visibility and the opportunities that come with it. He wanted to join several rated researchers.

He said that over the years, “NRF rated researchers have been a showcase of the South African intellectual depth. Therefore, it is natural for every early career research to aspire to be part of the elite group of scientists with an NRF rating. Every university strives for national and international recognition, and this is built upon the eminence of the faculty and staff it parades,” he said.

Dr Adejoro’s research focus is on Animal Production Management. For his PhD, which he obtained from the University of Pretoria, he specialised in Ruminant Nutrition.  His doctoral research centred on the evaluation of dietary additives that can mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in ruminant production systems, while enhancing the utilisation of poor-quality feeds. His doctoral and postdoctoral research has been published in leading peer-reviewed academic journals.

“Some of the results have also been presented at local and international conferences. To date, I have fifteen published papers in SCOPUS/ISI indexed journals,” he said.

Dr Adejoro said he was going to capitalise on having attained the rating.

“Leveraging on the current NRF rating, I have begun to develop personal, medium and long-term collaboration strategies to ensure that I remain research active,” said Dr Adejoro. “Accessing grant funding is a key factor, and I am committed to utilising every available funding source to sustain an active research portfolio going forward.”

Dr Adejoro’s plans include co-supervising postgraduate students, “engage in cutting edge research, leading to the generation of research outputs.”

Acting VC welcomes staff back for another year

Dr Van Koller

The Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Johan van Koller has welcomed staff and students back as the New Year takes hold.  In his letter to the university on 3 January 2022, Dr van Koller wished staff well for the New Year and said he “hoped” it would be a good year for all of them. Dr van Koller also had best wishes for students.

To the students who are preparing to write their examinations, and to take other forms of assessments, Dr van Koller said, “I wish you well and trust that you will pass your subjects.”

The University is on course to finalise the 2021 academic year. The shift was because of the arrangements the University made as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions.

Engineering students ready for their Stats exams

The Engineering students in class

While most students worry before sitting for their Statistics examination, as the subject is regarded as one of the most ‘difficult’ subjects,

MUT students will approach their Stats examinations with the least worry, and more confidence.

This confidence comes as a reflection of the effectiveness of the assistance they have been getting from Mthokozisi Gumede, their tutor.   One of Gumede’s best students, Nonkululeko Hadebe, who is reading towards a Diploma in Surveying (S3), said Stats was initially “challenging” for her.

“But with the assistance of my lecturer Dr Sibusiso Mabaso, from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and our tutor, Mthokozisi Gumede, the task became easy because both Dr Mabaso and Gumede made the module simple. Because of the assistance, I became the best student in my group,” said Hadebe.

Hadebe advised students doing Stats “to constantly attend classes and tutorials and to never cease the opportunity to consult with the lecturer and the assigned tutor”.

Hadebe is one of 78 students from Civil Engineering and Surveying Department.

MUT and prospective students to benefit from NSFAS application extension

Andrew Kubone

MUT and Prospective students are some of those that will benefit from the extension of the NSFAS applications from 7 January 2022 to 21 January 2022.

On 7 January 2022, the country received the news that learners, out of school youth, and non-funded students have until 21 January 2022 to apply for NSFAS funding.

Andrew Kubone, Manager of MUT’s Financial Aid Office, said prospective students would benefit the most from the extension “because, if it happens that they experience challenges when they apply, they can visit the University; a dedicated team of Financial Aid Office staff members will provide assistance. Room C 14 will be used to assist these applicants as from 12 January 2022,” said Kubone.

Kubone described the extension as “positive news to every aspiring learner that wants to pursue studies at a university or TVET, more especially to learners that were writing their Grade 12 final examinations in 2021”.

At MUT, NSFAS supports 11 404 MUT students.

MUT Radio gears up for another year on the airwaves

The MUT Radio live studio

MUT Radio is set to return to the airwaves after presenters went on recess for the December holiday. The radio management team was in the studio on Thursday this week to ensure that the equipment is set for the first live broadcast of the New Year on Monday, 10 January.
“We are excited to welcome back the MUT Radio crew after a successful six months on air last year,” said Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing and Communications. “We are looking forward to yet another year of delivering content that is relevant and informative, not only to the MUT community, but to audiences across the world.”

The station, which was launched on the national Youth Day last year, has already become a stapple in various parts of the world. In addition to South African listeners, MUT Radio has seen a growth in listeners from Namibia, UK, USA, Zimbabwe, Netherlands, India, Ireland, Germany, and Canada.

During the recess, the station continued to inform and entertain listeners with music and some of its most popular content, which is available to listen to at one’s leisure through podcasts.

To listen to the station, visit www.mut.ac.za/mutradio. You can alternatively download the MUT Radio app from Google Play Store and iStore.

You can also catch-up on topical interviews, which are available as podcasts, through iono.fm/p/2206#

Founder’s support, a welcome Christmas gift for MUT research community

His Royal Highness honoured the 40-year celebration. This was one of many he has honoured
 

The University has received good news that Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Founder of MUT is doing well after getting COVID-19. He has now moved out of isolation. We thank the Almighty for his recovery and for all those that cared for him. Christmas time is time for families to unite and in South Africa, Christmas time is a big event.

On 13 December, the MUT Founder was scheduled to attend the MUT Research recognition awards but could not attend because of standing Monday commitments and sadly because of COVID-19. In his usual jovial manner, in his congratulatory message to MUT, he wrote: “While I had hoped to participate virtually, I have the dual complication of being in self-isolation, due to a Covid infection, while at the same time having to attend a meeting of the IFP’s National Executive Committee which is held every Monday. One would think that, at my age, getting Covid means you can rest. But I am afraid that is not the case! Far from complaining, however, I find myself marveling at my body’s ability to keep going while it fights a Covid infection. This is first and foremost thanks to the Almighty. But in no small degree, it is thanks to the fact that I am vaccinated.”

The Founder’s message to the University expressed more hope on MUT being on the right trajectory.  “Today, as MUT receives an Excelleration Award from the National Research Foundation, I am convinced that our vision has been achieved. Our work in starting this academic institution and supporting its evolution has been fully justified. I am proud of what MUT has accomplished,” said Prince Buthelezi.

He also patted MUT on the shoulder for being on point with its internationalisation agenda. The Founder’s full message is an inspiration to researchers and the entire MUT community and alumni. The full message can be accessed on: https://www.mut.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/CONGRATULATORY-MESSAGE-FROM-PRINCE-MANGOSUTHU-BUTHELEZI-RESEARCH.pdf

End-Note and Turn-it-in workshops for Masters students

Refiloe Ntoi

As MUT grows the number of postgraduate qualifications, so does the demand for training in programmes that aid students with their academic work on a postgraduate level. For Master of Nature Conservation students, these programmes include EndNote and Turnitin for creating bibliographies and detecting plagiarism, respectively.

The Library Directorate recently hosted a training workshop on End-Note and Turn-it-in for Master of Nature Conservation students.

Refiloe Ntoi, lecturer in the Department of Nature Conservation, requested training from Library Directorate “as all of the students are in the process of ‘cleaning up’ and refining their research work”.

“The Masters students were trained in End-Note and Turn-it-in programmes as these tools are pivotal for all students, in particular the Postgraduate students who involved in various research projects,” said Ntoi, who is the Faculty of Natural Science’s representative on the Library Committee.

Ntoi has also attended numerous workshops on helping students avoid plagiarism and on publishing research in journals.

Ntoi and her students have expressed gratitude to the Library Directorate for the workshop.

CFO calls on students and alumni to settle their fees

Rodney Delomoney

MUT’s Chief Financial Officer, Rodney Delomoney, has called upon students and alumni to honour their financial obligations to the university to enable the institution to continue to deliver quality infrastructure and education to students.

Delomoney’s request comes at a time when university funding pressures continue to escalate as higher education funding is declines.

Delomoney said: “We pride ourselves in providing excellent infrastructure and affordable, quality education to our students. It is important that students and alumni who owe the university settle their debts so that the education that they enjoyed and continue to enjoy can also be extended to other students. We have also contracted the services of debt collection companies – Debt tracker, Alliance, NICS and Select Online – to help the university recoup what it is owed.”

The end of the year is an opportunity to use additional income, for those who earn bonuses, to settle their debts and start the year on a clean slate.

Acting VC wishes staff and students a safe and joyful break

Professor Ramogale

In his message to staff and students, the Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal, Professor Marcus Ramogale, wished everyone a “joyful Christmas and safe passage to 2022. Professor Ramogale requested staff and students to leave everything in order so that the University would be safe and would not incur unnecessary expenses.

The University closes on 23 December 2021 and will re-open on 3 January 2022.

MUT congratulates Gift of the Givers Founder, Dr Sooliman

Dr Sooliman, middle, with MUT Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Marcus Ramogale, right, and Mbali Mkhize, at MUT. The Gift of the Givers donated computers after some were destroyed by the floods

The University congratulates Dr Imtiaz Sooliman on being voted as Person of the Year by the DailyMaverick.co.za. Dr Sooliman and his organisation, Gift of the Givers, have come to the University’s aid on several occasions when its students were desperately in need of food items and other essentials.

MUT is one of the many universities in South Africa that have previously honoured Dr Sooliman. Seven years after MUT launched its Graduation Honoree programme, its Faculty of Management Sciences chose Dr Sooliman to become a dedicated individual for its graduation ceremony. This honour was to recognise Dr Sooliman as one of the great Africans who are doing their best to change the lives of South African people regardless of religion, gender, age and creed. These are individuals doing greater things for the advancement of civil society, skills development, community outreach and transformational as well as servant leadership.

MUT is proud to have had this foresight to recognise Dr Sooliman. In 2018, Dr Sooliman’s son, Muhammad Sooliman received a proposal for the department of electrical engineering’s computer laboratory. In a month’s time, the laboratory had been fully equipped, making him a catalyst in the transformation of the lives of previously disadvantaged students. “The honour has gone to a well-deserving person. It is true that we strive to recognise men and women who advance the lives of the previously disadvantaged and disenfranchised groups. I am happy that this programme that I conceptualized in 2011 is now bearing fruits not only for MUT but for South Africa that has now recognized Dr Sooliman,” said Prof Marcus Ramogale.

Acting Vice-Chancellor‘s internationalisation agenda starts with Germany!

Professor Bakare

Professor Marcus Ramogale, Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal’s strategic direction on internationalisation is moving faster. His sound judgement on internationalisation is enabling him to make quick accomplishments. This week, MUT hosted its first meeting with the funding partners in Germany. MUT will be the implementation partner. The project from the MUT side will be led by Professor Babatunde Bakare, Acting Dean of Faculty of Engineering and is focused on building up expertise and resources in climate protection and air pollution control in South Africa.

There are great benefits for MUT in this project including the training of MUT students on climate protection and climate preservation. The students will be trained for a semester and thereafter receive recognition for this training. The intake is expected to be at least 10 students per semester. There are possibilities that this number would be increased per semester. The cherry on top is that the students will have on the job training from a German partner.

An elated Prof Bakare has committed to discuss the logistical protocols with his MANCO. He said: “This project will be a multi-disciplinary project across chemical, mechanical and civil engineering fields. The project is a strategic fit to our Centre of Excellence.”

The project will be rolled out next year and it is a first for MUT to have a massive project with Germany. The project will be officially launched in 2022 by the MUT Vice-Chancellor and all the project partners.

MUT Radio closed but not off-air!

We are still on air! Catch us www.mut.ac.za/mutradio

“If you are worried about the University closure and the role that MUT Radio plays – do not worry, we got you covered,” said the MUT Radio crew. The four-member technical crew will keep the airwaves going. “For those who will be missing MUT, just tune in to MUT Radio on www.mut.ac.za/mutradio and enjoy the recorded shows and podcasts. The music is top notch, bespoke for every ear”, the Radio crew reassured MarComms.

“We are also requesting MUT staff and students as well as the listeners to engage us during this time to tell us how we could improve or enhance the shows. Please drop us a line at Radio1@mut.ac.za or WhatsApp us at 0681608832,” said the Radio crew.

 

Handover of The National Research Foundation’s “Excelleration Award” to The Mangosuthu University of Technology Congratulatory message from Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP

Handover of The National Research Foundation’s “Excelleration Award” to The Mangosuthu University of Technology Congratulatory message from Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP

Founder of The Mangosuthu University of Technology Founder and President Emeritus of The Inkatha Freedom Party

Read on His Behalf

13 December 2021

MUT’s Acting VC ends the year on an upbeat note

Professor Ramogale

Regardless of the challenges that you have faced as an employee; be it personal or professional; when the head of the organisation sounds upbeat you cannot but also join in the upbeat mode. In his message to the university community broadcast on MUT Radio and Microsoft Teams, Professor Marcus Ramogale, Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal, issued a message of hope as the university approaches its closing date for the year.

Professor Ramogale said: “As we end the year, we end it on a high note of having made great strides towards MUT Strategy 2025. Excellence is at the cornerstone of each of our goals and I am proud to say that a research recognition award to MUT by the National Research Foundation called the Excelleration award has captured our imagination.  The term “Excelleration” is derived from the words “excellence” and “acceleration”, the Excelleration Award acknowledges South African research institutions for achieving the most improved research performance over recent years as evaluated by independent parties, and measured against a selection of critical indicators. This is a sign that as a collective we can achieve greatness if we work as a term and with determination.”

As marketers say, ‘an organisation’s greatest assets are its people’. The VC has thrown the baton to all MUT employees to become more productive and bask in the glory of positive energy that the brand emulates when it is successful. There are many inspirational programmes underway which the VC outlined such as the recent International Week and the Focus Conference, which put MUT on the national and international agenda. Can MUT be the brand that unsettles competition? Yes, most likely! The writing is now on the wall. There is no turning back, judging by the various awards MUT recently bestowed upon its people, recognising excellence in community engagement, research, and teaching and learning.

As a university, it is about time we sing with one voice and celebrate all these successful achievements. Just like they say in systems thinking, ‘amplify your message to be noticeable’. You have not seen the last of these messages.

The preservation of Umlazi’s history moves to another level

A section of Umlazi Township

What started as a revelation that as a Higher Learning Institution, we have not documented the history of Umlazi Township is now the emergence of a very strong, rich, and fascinating history of Umlazi Township.

“Despite not having humanities as a course, the University has taken upon itself that one of its goals is to make contributions towards the nation-building and social cohesion agenda as outlined in the NDP 2030. When Professor Marcus Ramogale, Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal, requested that we implement an objective of preserving the history of Umlazi and curating its art, we were uncertain as to how to go about this. To get the ball rolling, we regrouped as a team and took stock of the strengths we had in our communication channels. Voila! The radio has been a blessing. We ran a campaign to get people to tune into the radio while behind the scenes we started undertaking research on where to start. So, it was on Wednesday, ahead of Reconciliation Day, that we dedicated the show on the history of Umlazi Township. It is WIP as they say. We hope at the end of this five-year journey, there will be a book written by MUT about Umlazi Township. Even more, we could have a documentary or even a movie,” said Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing and Communications.

If you missed out on this captivating history on MUT Radio, please spend some tie over the holiday season listening to:

Below are links for Umlazi History Podcasts.

UMLAZI HISTORY – INTRO by Mrs Mkhize – https://iono.fm/e/1137741

UMLAZI HISTORY Ep1 – Interview with Mabutho Cele – https://iono.fm/e/1137739

UMLAZI HISTORY Ep2 – Interview with Ms Doris Fulela – https://iono.fm/e/1137736

UMLAZI HISTORY Ep3 – Interview with Ms. Bongi Thabede – https://iono.fm/e/1137733

UMLAZI HISTORY Ep4 – Interview with Ms Glory Champion – https://iono.fm/e/1137728

UMLAZI HISTORY Ep5 – Interview with Mrs Monica Mngadi – https://iono.fm/e/1137712

UMLAZI HISTORY Ep6 – Interview with Sikhona Ndlovu – https://iono.fm/e/1137708

What happened to these great people? What happened to these great principals? Is there a role which all these individuals they can play? Yes, there is a role. And yes, with your participation in this project, we could make Umlazi well-known and bring respect to MUT. Did you know that Dr EB Ndlovu, Minister of Education in the KwaZulu homeland played a role in the establishment of MUT and Unizulu campuses?

We need more stories from you colleagues, students and the Umlazi community. 

For more information visit: https://www.mut.ac.za/umlazi-history/

MUT celebrates upward trajectory in research output

Seated from left, are Dr Pillay, Professor Ramogale, showing a certificate from the NRF, Dr Mienie

“Our researchers have put us on a world map.” These were the words of Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing and Communications, as she opened the celebration of the University’s upward research trajectory being recognised by the National Research Foundation (NRF),

In the same ceremony that took place on 13 December 2021, the Chair of the University Council, Morailane Morailane, highlighted that the NRF was very careful when making decisions about universities’ research performances. The achievement was worthy of celebration.

The meticulousness by the NRF was confirmed by its Deputy Director, Dr Gansen Pillay, who was a guest speaker during the celebration. Dr Pillay congratulated the University for attaining this award.

“We try to map a landscape as to how a university has achieved what it has achieved.  MUT has the right leadership and the right Council,” said Dr Pillay. Dr Pillay added that the combination of these forms of leadership was the reason for the University’s excellent performance in research. The research direction of the University is determined by its leaders, Dr Pillay said.

Dr Pillay singled out Professor Marcus Ramogale, the Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal of MUT and commended him for his leadership. He then turned to Dr Anette Mienie, the Director of the Research directorate, and said he has been observing her over the years. He called her the “rock” of MUT research. Dr Pillay said the University was adjusting well, having switched from being a technikon to the university of technology. He commended MUT for “changing the lives of the people” through research.

Dr Pillay said that MUT researchers were telling their own story, and that their achievement, as recognised by the NRF, belonged to the history of the Institution.

Dr Pillay advised the University of the financial support that is available at the NRF, and assured it that the Foundation would give the University all the help available.

Professor Ramogale said the certificate of award from the NRF would be displayed for everyone to see that University researchers were making a serious contribution in knowledge generation.

The message in the certificate says it all!

MUT recognises excellence in community engagement at an award ceremony

Some of the winners of the awards, with Professor Lortan, fifth from left. Sithembile Nkosi is second from left

Highlighting the importance of service to the people, the Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Marcus Ramogale, reminded University staff that the world is always watching, and honours those whose good actions benefit the greater society. He reminded staff of Chief Albert Luthuli, the late leader of the African National Congress, whose community development efforts earned him a Nobel Peace Prize. Professor Ramogale was address MUT staff at the Community Engagement Excellent Awards on 10 December 2021.

This spirit of selflessness was also highlighted by Professor Darren Lortan, a DUT Mathematician, who was a guest speaker. Professor Lortan emphasised the correct attitude required when one is working with communities. Professor Lortan said those working with communities must not see themselves as superior to the communities they serve. He said they need to bring themselves to the level of the communities and treat the communities with the respect they deserve. They should dominate the communities. Instead, they need to find out what the communities need, and then act upon that information. It was this spirit of community service that the Community Engagement Excellence Awards recognised.

The Distinguished Community Engagement Excellence Award went to a team from the Department of Nature Conservation, led by Sithembile Nkosi, a Lecturer in the department.

Nkosi said: “If one told me back in 2017 when I first started the Ecosystems Rehabilitation and Restoration (ERR) Community Engagement Organization, that today we would have worked this hard, to a point that we receive a Distinguished Award for our hard work, I would not have believed it. Today was the realisation for myself and my students that the work that we are doing in the ERR is not something that we can take for granted as being too little, but we have actually done a wonderful job.”

Nkosi said she was “very pleased and ecstatic” for being awarded.

“My sincerest appreciation goes to the MUT Community Engagement and Development Directorate for the recognition of the hard work that we have done,” said Nkosi.

Dr Thulile Duma, Lecturer in the Department of Human Resources and Management, was also very grateful of the award they won. “It shows the compassion our colleagues have for our communities. COVID-19 continues with its tremendous negative impact on all societies and worse for child-led families.”

The other prize winners were as follows: Two projects received the first prize for the Best Multidisciplinary Collaboration for the award.  These were MUT Waste Ambassadors Project, led by Londiwe Mbuyisa, Lecturer in the Department of Nature Conservation; and improving community livelihoods through agricultural activities. The leader of this project was Dr Misery Sikwela, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Public Administration and Economics.

For the Best collaboration for new CE initiatives, which was the third category, the first prize went to Nonoti Banana Project, led by David Pons, Lecturer in the Department of Agriculture. The second prize was awarded to TENUSA.

The CEAD Director’s recognition award went to Students’ Success Peer Mentorship Programme, led by Arthi Ramrung of the TLDC; and SMMEs and cooperatives development project, led by Xolile Ngubane, Acting Director of Technology Station in Chemicals.

Co-operative Education ventures into international Work-Integrated Learning

Participants also communicated online

To mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) placements, the World Association for Co-operative Education (WACE) collaborated with Practera to introduce a Global Challenge in which students worked as business consultants to address problems that organisations face. Practera is an organisation that helps to link university students with Non-Governmental Organisations for WIL.  The Global Challenge was piloted in 2020, the year in which the pandemic brought the world to a standstill. In 2021, 102 students from 16 universities of 14 countries participated in the challenge. MUT and Walter Sisulu University were the only institutions from South Africa that took part in the project.

For MUT, the WACE Global Challenge project was an acceleration of the student consulting project, which Co-operative Education implemented in 2020 and 2021, in partnership with Office Management and Technology and Public Administration and Economics. Two Advanced Diploma in Office Management and Technology students and three Public Administration and Economics students participated in the challenge.

Sibongile Bulose, Job Placement Officer in the Department of Co-Operative Education (Co-Op), said MUT students collaborated with their counterparts from all over the globe to provide solutions related to challenges with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that their clients experienced.

As part of the project, presentations to Practera / WACE were held on 8 December 2021. Njabulo Nzimakwe, an Advanced Diploma in Office Management and Technology student, described the experience as “amazing” as he was able to connect with five other university students from Botswana, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The students worked on a research project, wherein they analysed a Croydon-based charity organisation which was looking to improve their local skills while increasing finances.

“It was a great experience to interact with an international client. The activity gave us confidence to see how other countries operate.  As much as the coronavirus is affecting us in so many ways, it has forced us to learn to connect remotely; now we share something in common with other countries. We have advanced technologically as South African students,” said Public Administration and Economics student, Luyanda Msani, who collaborated with students from Canada, England, and Bangladesh. Luyanda worked on a project called ENKI.

Bonga Dube, another Public Administration and Economics student, highlighted the importance of understanding other cultures.

“One of the early introductory tasks was based on cultural diversity where we had to share our cultural uniqueness as a group in order to be able to understand each other from different cultural backgrounds. Culture is the one aspect of life that distinguishes people from one another,” said Bonga who was attached to Dewarmte, a start-up company founded in 2019 and based in the Netherlands.

According to Sicelo Buthelezi, an Office Management and Technology student, the opportunity exposed them to real life problems, and it helped them utilise what they learnt in class.  Naledi Mgobhozi, a Public Administration and Economics student, said the project taught them leadership and project management skills, which will help them when they enter the world of work.

Dr Yvonne Mvuyane, Head of Department for Public Administration and Economics who assisted in mentoring the students whenever there was a need, said she was very proud of the students and the way they embraced the challenge as well as how well they articulated themselves.

“This project has been a validation of the Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) innovations at MUT and opens doors for our students to embrace the challenges of the future of work,” said Bulose.

IT&N rolls out mass WiFi in campus and residences to increase connectivity

Some of the IT&N staff involved in the project

The Information Technology & Network Department at MUT is implementing a strategy to transition the university into an online campus. Dr Marlo De Swardt, Senior Director in the department, said they have recently begun a project to cater for extended WiFi capability throughout campus, as well as in all internal (on-campus) and external (off-campus) student residences to support blended teaching and learning modes within the University. The extended WiFi capability is also to provide enhanced internet access and network connectivity to expand on these offerings to the University community.

“The new WiFi infrastructure will significantly improve network capability and accessibility to the MUT student community making use of the relevant IT systems such as Blackboard, Student email and Microsoft Teams for e-learning,” said Dr de Swardt. There will be 155 WiFi access points installed throughout campus to provide faster, more robust and reliable internet access.

At present, there are two projects underway, Core WiFi and the External WiFi for student residences, which began in October 2021 and July 2020, respectively. The External WiFi for Student Residences is a three-year project and will be completed in 2023, while the Core WiFi project will be completed in January 2022. Dr de Sward said these projects are beneficial for the University to equip all our students for onsite, remote and off-site learning due to COVID-19. This is called a blended and hybrid learning approach being adopted by MUT, similar to other universities.

Dr de Swardt said these projects ensured the University stay ahead of the curve in respect to other higher education institutions transitioning to a fully online smart campus in the near future.

Projects such as these will form part of the foundation being outlaid for the University’s five-year digital road map transformation strategy (2022 – 2026).

Acting Marketing HoD scoops top prizes at VC’s Teaching and Learning Excellence Awards

Dr Fuyane, seated, right, with Dr Bheka Ntshangase, Acting Dean of Management Sciences, also seated, and Mrs Fuyane
 

It was a classic case of preparing thoroughly for a battle, then go to the drawing board and assemble a plan that will work! This is the formula that catapulted Dr Nkululeko Fuyane, Acting Head of Department of Marketing, to the podium on as a winner of two awards as part of the annual Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching and Learning Excellence Awards.

Dr Fuyane entered the competition for the second time, with the hope of winning more.  He said he kept improving his portfolio of evidence. When he was nominated by his colleague, Lynelle Martins, Dr Fuyane was more than ready to submit his “cogent” portfolio. He said he wanted to be “different”. Whatever that meant, Dr Fuyane ended up awarded the Best Established Teacher, and also walked away with the Senate Award, the highest teaching accolade at the University.  These annual awards are a highlight of two things – the importance of good education. As Professor Marcus Ramogale, the acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal said, the centrality of the students and the need for academics to constantly revise their teaching methods, and leading the students by showing them respect.

In his definition of a good teacher, Dr Manyane Makua, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, said the determining measure of a good and effective teacher was the end product – how good the graduate is.

In his emphasis of the centrality of the teacher, Professor Ramogale said teachers themselves cannot quantify how much they contribute to changing the lives of their students. He said the teacher “affects eternity”. Professor Ramogale talked about what makes a teaching exercise “complete”, and thus make a “complete teacher”.

“It is the learner, the teacher, the parents, and the value system. The value system is what gives meaning to the exercise as it forms the basis of the exercise, and it also shines light to what is happening. It performs the theory function as it were,” said Professor Ramogale.

Dr Fuyane said winning a double was a humbling experience for him.

“I believe that my two-year preparation for these awards paid dividends. I won the same category – Best-Established Teacher (Gold Award) in 2018, and immediately after that, I started building my portfolio of evidence for this year’s awards. I created my e-portfolio as a work-in-progress, constantly updating it as I went along. Hence, submitting a cogent portfolio of evidence was not a challenge after my colleague Mrs Martins nominated me,” said Dr Fuyane.

Dr Fuyane also said he was grateful for the professional development efforts provided by the Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC), “which has solidified my pedagogical stamina so far. Studying for the Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education at Rhodes University boosted my confidence to come for the second time. I used most of the knowledge gained from the programme, especially reflectivity as my philosophical radar. For this reason, I encourage academics to take up all the professional development opportunities the university avails,” said Dr Fuyane.

What also motivated Dr Fuyane was that the Faculty of Management Sciences did not feature much in the previous awards. Now Dr Fuyane has promised that they will have at least one entrant from his department. It was not a surprise when Dr Fuyane mentioned Dr Bheka Ntshangase, the Acting Dean of the Faculty, as one of the people that motivated him. Dr Ntshangase said on numerous occasions that one of his goals is to work with his colleagues to improve the general academic performance of the faculty.

Natural Sciences dominates the VC’s Teaching and Learning Excellence Awards

The winners of the 2021 awards, with the faculty deans, seated, and Dr Siphiwe Gumede, Acting Senior Director: TLDC, second from right, seated. The TLDC organises the annual event

The Faculty of Natural Sciences led the pack at this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching and Learning Excellence Awards held on 14 December 2021.

Staff members in the department dominated the list of individuals who received awards.

Rajendrie Govender from the Department of Biomedical Sciences received the Best Established Teacher Bronze Award, and Dr Vince Ndou of the Department of Community Extension. While the Best Established Teacher: Silver Award went to Dr Taurai Mutanda of the Department of Nature Conservation, and Dr Vukile Mgijima of the Department of Communication.

Awarded for being the Best Emerging Teachers were Dr Sphesihle Mtsweni, a Lect

urer in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Dr Mtsweni; and Roxanne Thungaveloo, a Lecturer from the Department of Biomedical Sciences.

As usual, students were also awarded for their excellent academic performance. Balungile Nene, an S2 Civil Engineering, was one of the three students who received recognition. Balungile said “academic excellence has always been a priority to my late father, and the only way I was able to honour him was achieving good academics results at the University.  I won’t say I stayed up late studying but it is important to study smart. For me, it took revising what was done in class and prepare for the next day; that way it made it easy to study for assessments,” said Balungile. Balungile said she always wanted to be the “best student from MUT”. To other students Balungile said they needed to be dedicated to their studies, work hard, have “self-discipline”. Balungile said: “Nothing is impossible.”

The other two students came from the Department of Information Communication and Technology, and the Department of Marketing.