MUT’s research plans and achievements laid bare at media briefing

Prof Dlamini, middle, addressing the media, with Prof Shale, Research Professor, Natural Sciences faculty, left, and Prof Alfred Msomi, Acting Dean, of the same faculty

MUT is on a mission of being internationally recognised as an innovative and research-informed institution that delivers excellent scientific research and other IP outputs. For this to be accomplished, DVC: Research, Innovation and Engagements, Prof Zodwa Dlamini has within just two years of her appointment; conceptualised a 2nd annual Research, Innovation and Engagements (RIE) week taking place from 10-14 July. The focal discussions will among other things be on:

–>  Technology parks & entrepreneurship

–>  Big data analytics

–>  Environmental sustainability with a focus on renewable energy

–>  Precision medicine

The capstone event on the last day will be the signing of MoUs with universities from the USA, Brazil, India, Europe and China. “What is important for me is to ensure that an MUT academic is able to
collaborate with researchers from across the globe. I need deans to help me drive this mission because they are the ones driving academic and research development at faculty level”, said Prof Dlamini.
Augmenting her drive to elevate MUT research has been the recent approval for MUT to have satellite facilities at the SAMRC on Ridge Road. “It is a huge milestone to have secured this laboratory space as it will host the MUT Multidisciplinary Research Institute (M-MRI)”, said Prof Dlamini. The RIE week has already received positive media coverage on SABC and East Coast Radio. Delegates to the RIE week will include speakers from BRICS countries: International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB-India); Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT-Mumbai), University of Sao Paulo –Brazil.  From Europe, speakers will hail from the University of Nottingham (UK) and Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland while the USA will be represented by the University of Hawaii,  Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University (FAMU) and former Chief of Party for the United Negro College Fund Special Programmes. Top research institutions such as SA-MRC, ARC and government departments will be part of the delegates and speakers. “The level of support in sponsorships has been a good sign of better things to come for MUT”, said Professor Shale, Research Professor in the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Acting Research Director. More information is on www.rie.co.za

 

Young MUT Entrepreneur jets off to US

Bright, seated, right, with MUT staff and sponsors

Bright Hlongwane (20), a second year Public Administration student from Umlazi’s B section, has captured the attention of many in the academic and business world. On 6 July 2017 MUT academics, some Durban business leaders and Bright’s friends gathered at the Durban’s Olive Convention Centre for his send-off party. On 8 July Bright is jetting off to Stanford University for an Advanced ntrepreneurship Programme.  “The main purpose for going to the US is to acquire knowledge that I will share with my peers back home. I believe if we all share information and knowledge, we all grow equally.”  Such a programme will enable Bright to run his two businesses even better, upon his return on 30 July 2017. Pavinamo Moodliar, the Public Administration and Economics department Head, said Bright was an example everyone had to look up to.

MUT hosts a successful IT conference

MUT staff and some of the delegates that attended the conference

The 7th annual National ASAUDIT Technology Event (NATE) 2017 hosted by MUT from 26-29 June has been hailed by the organisers as “a huge success”. Val Theron, the General Manager of the Association of South African Directors of Information Technology (SAUDIT), said they were able to achieve the objectives of the conference, which were to develop skills, and promote collaboration within the IT sector in the higher education environment. “There were representatives from 24 out of 26 of the country’s higher education institutions,” said Val. Dr Vikash Jugoo, the Acting Head of MUT’s IT&N said the success of the conference augurs well for the future. Information Technology is the future, he said.

MUT student attains provincial colours

Now looking for national colours! Lindani Mbonambi

His tenacity and sense of purpose has seen Lindani Mbonambi, a third year Accounting student from Ntuzuma, Durban, achieving a highest goal in his life so far. Lindani achieved gold in the KwaZulu-Natal Elite Boxing Tournament in Ladysmith from 23 – 25 June 2017, and was awarded with the KwaZulu-Natal colours, black and white! Lindani said what has driven him has been his commitment to the sport, and his mentor Muzi Mvimbi. “In life you must have a goal, and work towards it,” said Lindani. Muzi, a former MUT student, is now a professional.

MUT former staff pay a visit

Mbali Mkhize, senior Director, MarComms, reminiscing with Dr Brookes, left, and Jill

Two former MUT academics paid a surprise visit to the Department of Marketing and Communications (MarComms) on 21 June 2017. “This was my first boss,” said a very happy Mbali Mkhize to colleagues at MarComms, where she is a senior director. She was referring to Jill D’Eramo. Jill was the head of the Department of Communication. She worked at MUT from 1989 to 2003. The other lecturer was Dr Bridget Brookes who worked at the Department of Chemistry for almost two decades – 1989-2007. Dr Brooks said she missed teaching and her MUT students. Both are now enjoying their retirement. But Dr Brookes does teaching from time to time.

The Department of Human resources and Development staff, Dudu Shezi and Agnes Mkhwanazi were very happy to meet their former colleagues. Dudu said it was like meeting family members after a long time. Jill taught her Communication when Dudu was studying towards her Diploma in Office Technology. Dudu described Jill as “a very kind person,” and Dr Brookes “as a diplomat with good ideas who gave solutions to challenges.” Like Jill and Dr Brookes, Dudu and Agnes joined MUT in 1989.

 

ABSA gives R3million scholarship to MUT Students

From left, Steve Seaka, Faisal Mkhize, both of ABSA;  MUT’s Acting VC, Prof Marcus Ramogale, and Gona Govender, MUT’s Acting DVC  – Teaching and Learning 

ABSA has given a scholarship of R3 million for 2017 to deserving MUT students. The  scholarship, which was the bank’s initiative, will cover all three faculties. It is performance driven. Faisal Mkhize, Managing Executive, ABSA, KwaZulu-Natal, said the primary reason for them helping the students with such funds was their long-term view. Handing over the cheque on 22 June 2017, to the University Council Chair, Justice Jerome Ngwenya, Mkhize said: “For the economy’s future to be secure, we need to invest in the youth. We need to guarantee the future by investing in skills to sustain the economy in the long run. The banking sector has all kinds of careers that is why we are covering all faculties at MUT.” The students will be selected by MUT’s Financial Aid Office (FAO), according to ABSA specifications. FAO’s Manager, Andrew Kubone, said the much appreciated aid from ABSA would increase the number of students who receive corporate bursaries.

ABSA will also extend the same scholarship to DUT, UniZulu, and UKZN. But the figures may vary.

MUT delivers Science kits to Umlazi schools

We can only go up with this kind of help! Vukuzakhe Principal, Doris Fulela, middle, accepting the kit from Moosa, left

The principals of four high schools in Umlazi – Shumayela, Umlazi, Vukuzakhe and Okumhlophe, said they expected their grade 12 results to improve a lot in 2017, thanks to the grade 10 to 12 Science kits they received from the Willowton Group in support of MUT’s Circle of Excellence Awards. MUT’s Department of Marketing and Communications (Marcomms) team accompanied Farouk Moosa, Executive Director of Willowton Group, and Ahmed Motala, CEO of New Africa Education Foundation on 5 June 2017 to hand over the donation. “It is not enough to congratulate the schools for the good results in grade 12. As a responsible Institution, we need to contribute in improving the results.  Our contribution in sourcing sponsorship of education resources for our surrounding schools will result in MUT enrolling the best students, especially in the areas of Maths and Science,” said Zama Sishi, Director of Stakeholder Relations, MarComms. Victor Ngcamu, a Mathematics teacher at Shumayela High, said their learners were going to see for themselves what they have been taught. The kit is going to transform the learners’ view from abstract to concrete, he said. Doris Fulela, the Principal of Vukuzakhe, said they were expecting a 10% improvement in their Science results.

MUT cricketer signs with Umlazi Club

Nice forward drive! Mlungisi at the nets

MUT cricketer, Mlungisi Nxumalo, has signed a three season contract with Umlazi Cricket Club. The club is going to play in the KZN Premier League next season. Mlungisi, the top order batsman, was selected after his trial season with the club. He impressed the selectors, particularly during the last two games when he scored the winning runs. Mlungisi thanked his coach, Xolani Gasa, who saw a potential in him in 2015. “To get a chance to compete in the premier league in South Africa means a lot to me. This will help me prepare for the upcoming USSA games in September,” said Mlungisi. Mlungisi said his target was to go for the top run scorer award and batsman of the tournament award.

Acting VC thanks industry for their support

Prof Ramogale addressing industry leaders and MUT staff at the Gala Dinner

In his address to industry representatives that attended the Gala Dinner on 1 June 2017, MUT’s Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof Marcus Ramogale thanked industry for their contribution to the education of the University’s students. The dinner was part the annual Careers Fair that took place at the University on 1-2 June 2017.

Prof Ramogale said that by joining hands with MUT, “industry was becoming part of the village that was helping to raise the African child.” Prof Ramogale said in the African context, there are many stakeholders that contribute to the education of the African child. Industry was contributing to this by offering the students an opportunity to put into practice what they would have learnt in class. This way their knowledge is massively enhanced. Prof Ramogale said that students that have done both theory and the practical part of their studies were more likely to be employed as employers then know that such students had the technical know-how required in the world of work. He said that balance between theory and practice was what made the work integrated learning (WIL) all the more important, a fact that became part of the US commercial landscape since the beginning of the 20th Century when the Americans introduced and formalised the idea giving students a chance to experience what it was like to do any sort of work, based on what they had studied.

Prof Ramogale also emphasized the necessity of the partnership between the industry and the higher education sector as it results in more relevant academic programmes; industry representatives are afforded an opportunity to influence the programmes through the advisory forums of which they become part.

Students at one of the stands at the University’s Seme Hall during the first day

Prof Ramogale informed industry leaders that out of necessity, MUT Senate a few years ago, took decision that the students would take the core modules. “All students must have communication skills, and computer skills. Also, MUT students must learn by doing. We are busy extending this to all programmes. Also every graduate must be exposed to entrepreneurship. This will empower them to employ themselves,” Prof Ramogale said.

The industry leaders were also addressed by Dr Diran Makinde, a Senior Advisor, NEPAD Industrialisation, Science, Technology and Innovation Hub. Dr Makinde’s speech was on University – Industry Partnerships in the Creation of an Industrialised African Economy.

Prof Ramogale pays tribute to 2015-16 student leadership

Prof Glenda Gray addressing graduates and parents during the first ceremony

Prof Ramogale quoted national newspapers that carried screaming headlines that highlighted that MUT was normal while all other institutions were dealing with the fees related problems. This calmness at MUT drew the attention of the national education officials. In an email to Prof Ramogale, Prof Diane Grayson, Director of Institutional Audits at the CHE   commended MUT students for the “maturity, rationality, discipline and understanding” they had demonstrated.

Prof Ramogale said the 2016 class would be given a testimonial that would be an indication of the kind of people they were. They kept calm, focused on their studies, and this led to the continuation of MUT as the leading institution with a good throughput rate, a feat MUT has continued to carry for the past few years. For this reason, Prof Ramogale informed the audience that his office had conceptualised the idea of giving all the Class of 2016 graduates a testimonial that would make it easier for the new graduates to secure jobs. This would be a direct message from executive management laying bare the relationship between them and the graduates.

The graduation ceremonies were dedicated to four esteemed individuals that have made a huge mark in the lives of their country folks and beyond. The Natural Sciences faculty ceremony was dedicated to Prof Glenda Gray, the CEO of the SAMRC, who is one of TIME’s magazine’s top 100 most influential people. The others were Thembinkosi Madikane, MD of Igoda Projects who is also an MUT graduate of the Department of Electrical Engineering, to whom two Engineering faculty ceremonies were dedicated; and Prof Otty Nxumalo, and Dr Reuel Khoza, both for the Faculty of Management Sciences.