http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 15.09Change: -0.04
R/$ = 13.57Change: -0.03
Au 1125.08 $/ozChange: 0.98
Pt 1007.00 $/ozChange: -5.00
 
 
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 Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters 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|Health|Industrial|PROJECT|Screen|Africa|Equipment|Environmental|Kevin Balkwill|Melanie Keartland
Construction|Engineering|Africa|Education|Health|Industrial|PROJECT|Screen|Africa|Equipment|Environmental|
construction|engineering|africa-company|education-company|health|industrial|project|screen|africa|equipment|environmental|kevin-balkwill|melanie-keartland
© 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
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Science and Technology News
Updated 1 hour 16 minutes ago South African guided weapons, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) and space company Denel Dynamics plans to increase its revenues to more than R2-billion within five years. This was reported by company CEO Tsepo Monaheng at its annual "Show and Tell" briefing in Centurion,...
Updated 1 hour 16 minutes ago Mining solutions provider MBE Minerals South Africa’s Pneuflot technology has attracted worldwide attention since its launch in 2012, says company MD Johannes Kottman, who adds that Pneuflot is already surpassing conventional flotation technology in terms of...
Farmers must not be blinded by the bells and whistles of technology, understanding that the blind adoption of precision farming technology will not make them better farmers. “In a long-term business like farming, technology isn’t a short cut to success. It’s a...
More
 
 
Latest News
Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu
The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) will launch 77 “catalytic projects” across the country, which will allow it to achieve its target of building 1.5-million houses over the next five years. Speaking on Thursday at a national contractors and developers workshop...
International logistics company Necotrans Group has, along with a consortium of nine Cameroonian port sector operators, the Kribi Port Multi Operators (KPMO), secured a partnership contract for the operation and maintenance of a multipurpose terminal at the...
The Gauteng provincial government’s (GPG’s) plans to transform South Africa’s most populous province into an integrated city region were gaining traction, with the GPG on Thursday outlining its plans to implement the approved e-government strategy over the next five...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Updated 1 hour 7 minutes ago The Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) has joined forces with Tshwane North Technical, Vocational and Education and Training College (TNC) to train 100 young unemployed learners as artisans, and marked this with an event that took...
JAMES TEMPLETON The increase in distribution is as a result of Emira’s acquisitive growth
Updated 1 hour 7 minutes ago JSE-listed Emira Property Fund reported distributions per participatory interest (PI) of 134.27 c – a distribution growth of 9% – for the 12 months to June 20, 2015.
Updated 1 hour 7 minutes ago Earlier this month ground broke on South Africa’s latest four star green building – the first of its kind in the Eastern Cape. The modern three-storey office block is located within the Baywest City precinct in Port Elizabeth’s western suburbs, along the N2, and...
Updated 1 hour 7 minutes ago South African armoured and mine protected vehicles company Denel Vehicle Systems (DVS) has won its first order since becoming part of the Denel group at the end of April. "It's a sizeable contract," reports DVS CEO Johan Steyn. "We won the contract in July. It's a...
Updated 1 hour 7 minutes ago South African guided weapons, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) and space company Denel Dynamics plans to increase its revenues to more than R2-billion within five years. This was reported by company CEO Tsepo Monaheng at its annual "Show and Tell" briefing in Centurion,...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96