http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.14Change: 0.09
R/$ = 10.51Change: 0.07
Au 1305.10 $/ozChange: -2.25
Pt 1483.20 $/ozChange: -0.30
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Apr 06, 2012

Wits hopes ‘science stadium’ will set stage for new science champions

Back
University of the Witwatersrand head of the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences Professor Kevin Balkwill discusses the university's new science stadium. Camerawork: Nicholas Boyd. Editing: Darlene Creamer.
Construction|Engineering|Africa|Education|Industrial|PROJECT|Screen|Africa|Environmental|Kevin Balkwill|Melanie Keartland
Construction|Engineering|Africa|Education|Industrial|PROJECT||Africa|Environmental|
construction|engineering|africa-company|education-company|industrial|project|screen-company|africa|environmental|kevin-balkwill|melanie-keartland
More Insight
© Reuse this



Tertiary capacity for engineering, science and mathematics students has been boosted through the construction of the University of the Witwatersrand’s science stadium, which boasts a 435-seat lecture auditorium, two 330-seat lecture auditoria, and two 240-seat lecture auditoria, all equipped with cameras and modern equipment, says capital campaign manager in the development and fundraising office at the university Melanie Keartland.

The facility also has a number of different laboratories, specifically chemistry (376 seats), biology (300 seats) and physics (408 seats), and holds 23 tutorial rooms, some sponsored by industrial companies, seating between 30 and 50 students each. The projected occupancy of the tutorial rooms and lecture auditoria will be 95%, she adds.

“This facility is specifically for first-year engineering, health sciences and science, but it is also focused on liberating space in the existing discipline-specific buildings for research and postgraduate studies, and providing the postgraduate scientists of the future,” she says.

The university has about 3 200 first-year sciences students, which is a significant portion of its total 30 000 student complement, and aims to increase this number to 5 000, making the development of the facility a priority.

“We are a research institution and must ensure that we have postgraduate students, specifically master’s and PhD students, to conduct primary research.”

Lectures are recorded as podcasts and there are cameras above the lecturers to enable them to project demonstrations, experiments and calculations onto a big screen, so that all the students can participate. Further, the lecture halls also have equipment that enables lecturers to use input from students, in the form of multiple-choice feedback, to ascertain whether students have grasped key concepts.

“We now have space in the physics and chemistry buildings for laboratories for postgraduates. We expect to have more postgraduates over the next few years. Not only are we dealing with the quantity issue, but because we have consolidated our teaching, we are also dealing with the quality of graduates. “We are also starting to refur- bish the discipline-specific build- ings to make additional space for more postgraduate laboratories,” she details.

The new science stadium enables more effective teaching of undergraduates, which means that undergraduates are better prepared for postgraduate studies, says University of the Witwatersrand head of the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences Professor Kevin Balkwill.

“We attract a number of postgraduate students from Africa and across disciplines but the bulk of our postgraduates come from our own students,” he notes.

“The laboratories in the science stadium are specifically for under- graduates and are much more spacious than our previous laboratories.”

There is a significant interlock between the university’s sciences and engineering disciplines, says Keartland, adding that the university aims to consolidate its science libraries and open a single, modern library near the stadium.

Balkwill cites the numbers of natural sciences students, noting that while mathematics has a flat growth rate for the year, geo- logical sciences have enrolled 140 students, at least double their usual 60 complement.

“We have 530 first-year students in the introductory life sciences course who will enter into the fields of anatomy, physiology, microbiology, genetics, biochemistry, plant sciences, zoology, and environmental science, ecology and conservation. “We have had to do a reshuffle of first-year health sciences practical classes because we could not cope with the numbers.

“One of the former first-year laboratories has already gone to molecular and cell biology, because, instead of having 119 second-year students, as they did last year, they have 190 this year. On the postgraduate side, one of the former first-year labs will be used to house postgraduate students of three research groups,” he emphasises.

“We now have space to accommodate postgraduate students and will need to increase our staff,” he adds.

“Further, we are emphasising research readiness in our undergraduate teaching. The science stadium facilitates better first-year teaching and [should improve] pass rates, which, in turn, leads to better development of high-level skills in more second- and third-year students. This will mean that students graduating with degrees will be better prepared for undertaking research within their postgraduate degrees,” he says.

“It is not just the skills but the ethos that university education creates. People who have gone through university, for example engineers, are more likely to become entrepreneurs, to develop new technologies, new businesses, innovation and research and development,” says Keartland.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Science and Technology News
Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will have a budget of R6.47-billion for the financial year 2014/2015, it was reported on Tuesday. More than half of this (R3.5-billion), Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor noted in her budget speech to...
With local content likely to play a critical role in South Africa’s imminent digital broadcasting future, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) gazetted a draft discussion document to review the “outdated” regulations overseeing...
The first Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) facility in Africa was officially launched by Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor on July 7. The facility is located at the iThemba Laboratory for Accelerator Based Sciences (iThemba LABS) Gauteng unit, on the...
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 2 hours 33 minutes ago President Jacob Zuma announced the composition on Wednesday of the ‘Energy Security Cabinet Sub-Committee’, which he said would oversee the development of South Africa’s future energy mix. Delivering his Budget Vote in the National Assembly, Zuma said the...
Cesa CEO Lefadi Makibinyane
Updated 2 hours 34 minutes ago Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) on Wednesday stated that it welcomed government’s move to lead municipalities back to basics and to put in place institutional mechanisms to enable them to deliver core municipal services, as announced by Cooperative...
Updated 2 hours 55 minutes ago JSE-listed construction firm Group Five on Wednesday announced that it expected its fully diluted headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the year ended June 30 to be between 20% and 30% higher, at 382c to 414c, than the fully-diluted HEPS of 318c achieved during the...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Local aerospace company Denel Aerostructures (DAe), part of the State-owned Denel Group, has won a fourth contract to manufacture parts for the Airbus A400M military air transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft. The new contract, which was won in an international...
Bob Skinstad
Although CEO Mark McChlery and chief marketing officer Bob Skinstad likened themselves to children in a playground when taking on the task of “reengineering and repositioning” the Seartec brand, the “young, dynamic and enthusiastic guys” were like proud...
An increasing number of buyers, in both the new and used car markets, are opting for finance structures that lower their monthly repayments, says asset financing company WesBank. These include the use of large balloon payments (also known as residuals), as well as...
Tertiary education institutions can use search engine giant Google’s Chromebook to provide secure mobile end-point devices for students on which they can share documents, work collaboratively on documents and access education materials and applications being used...
Local ceiling and partition company Abbeycon has beaten global competition at the Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy competition, which was held last month in Berlin, Germany.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks