http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.17Change: -0.24
R/$ = 11.77Change: -0.23
Au 1208.69 $/ozChange: -8.81
Pt 1189.50 $/ozChange: -1.00
 
 
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|Industrial|PROJECT|Screen|Africa|Equipment|Environmental|Kevin Balkwill|Melanie Keartland
Construction|Engineering|Africa|Education|Industrial|PROJECT|Screen|Africa|Equipment|Environmental|
construction|engineering|africa-company|education-company|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
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Labour and Skills Development News
Updated 2 hours 12 minutes ago South Africa could see food shortages in the next ten years as the country’s commercial farmers, with an average age of 62, start to retire and the new crop of farmers entering the sector are unable to fill the void, placing considerable pressure on the nation’s...
Eight affiliates of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) have pledged not to participate in the federation's meetings until the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is reinstated. The national office bearers (NOBs) of the eight...
African entrepreneurs under the age of 22 have until April 15 to submit applications for the fifth Anzisha Prize, which aims to identify Africa’s most exciting young social and business entrepreneurs.
More
 
 
Latest News
Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel
Updated 1 hour 45 minutes ago The Department of Economic Development, together with Spanish solar company Abengoa and the Industrial Development Corporation on Monday launched a 100 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) park, about 60 km outside Pofadder, in the Northern Cape. Speaking to journalists...
Updated 1 hour 54 minutes ago South Africa could face another delay in its already years-delayed digital migration project if government adopted the much-disputed conditional access (CA) for the set-top boxes (STBs) required to intercept digital broadcasting frequencies. Emerging black-owned...
Updated 1 hour 54 minutes ago JSE-listed real estate investment trust Dipula Income Fund has entered into agreements to acquire the Umzimkhulu Shopping Centre, in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as the Corporate Industrial Park, in Polokwane, from two different vendors for R336-million. The industrial...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Subscribe to Engineering News and Mining Weekly for two years, but only pay for the first year.  The weekly editions of Engineering News and Mining Weekly will be posted to your preferred postal address and also gain access to:
National flag carrier South African Airways (SAA) is in an advanced stage of renegotiating its deal with European airliner manufacturer Airbus to acquire A320 single-aisle (or narrow body) aircraft. The aim is to replace ten of the aircraft still on order with five...
Worldwide, the main thrust in the ports industry over the past decade or more has been to increase efficiency. Traditionally, ports have been run by engineers and mariners and, in the past, increasing a port’s capacity was achieved by expanding the harbour. “That has...
What do you do when an elephant has a toothache? You call Dr Gerhard Steenkamp from the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) faculty of veterinary science, Onderstepoort, one of only two elephant ‘dentists’ in the world.
The 2015 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) competition was launched earlier this month in Johannesburg, with the main focus on creating and inspiring entrepreneurs to create jobs and boost the economy.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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