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Top engineering student wins Chancellor’s Medal engineering student wins Chancellor’s MedalCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie​Ms Jacqueline Kazmaier received Stellenbosch University (SU)'s coveted Chancellor's Medal for 2017 on Thursday (7 December) at the seventh graduation ceremony of SU's December graduation. <div><br><p>As the highest honour bestowed on a student by the University, the Chancellor's Medal is awarded annually to a final year or postgraduate student who has excelled.<br></p><p>Ms Kazmaier, who hails from Namibia and now lives in Somerset West, enrolled for a BEng degree in Industrial Engineering in 2014.<br></p><p>She achieved the rare feat of passing all of her modules with distinction during the four-year Engineering course and also boasted the best overall average in Industrial Engineering over the last three years. Her average over four years was 89.7%.<br></p><p>Being a top academic achiever, Kazmaier has been a member of the Golden Key International Honours Society since 2014. The Golden Key International Honours Society is the world's premier collegiate honour society that recognises outstanding academic achievement and connects high-achieving individuals locally, regionally & globally.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">But for Kazmaier it hasn't just been about books, going to classes and studying for tests and exams over the past four years. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“You have to keep a good balance. I actually noticed after my first year, when I started to do more things I enjoy over weekends or after class, that I actually started doing better than before, so my advice to other students would be to do your hobbies as much as you do your university work," said Kazmaier.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Apart from honing her skills in photography, videography and graphic design, she was also actively involved in, among others, the Management Committee of the German Carnival Society of Stellenbosch University (<em>MatieKa</em>); DASUS, a university society for primarily German-speaking students that facilitates the introduction of new German students into the Matie Community, and SU's<em> Consulting Society</em>. As a music lover, Kazmaier also took part in a very successful run during the <em>Sêr</em> acapella singing competition in 2015 and 2016 at SU.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Throughout her studies, Kazmaier also took time out to participate in surfing and volleyball as a member of both Maties Surfing and Maties Volleyball.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Kazmaier says she will return to SU next year and continue her studies by doing a Masters in Industrial Engineering. She also plans to do an exchange to Munich for six months, as part of her postgraduate studies.</p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li>​This is the second consecutive year that the Chancellor's Medal is awarded to an Engineering student.<br></li></ul><p><strong>​Phot​o</strong>: Ms Jacqueline Kazmaier with Proff Wikus van Niekerk, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, at the graduation ceremony. </p><p><strong>Photographer</strong>: Stefan Els</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p>​ </p><p><br></p></div>
Stellenbosch University Graduation Ceremonies - December 2017 University Graduation Ceremonies - December 2017Corporate Communications Division<p>​Stellenbosch University will award 5 720 degrees, certificates and diplomas at eight graduation ceremonies in the Coertzenburg Centre this week. It is 420 qualifications more than in December 2016, and 700 more than in December 2015. The December total includes 142 doctoral and 545 Master's degrees. <br></p><p><a href="/english/students/_layouts/15/WopiFrame.aspx?sourcedoc={E0231EF3-B516-4641-A2EA-1128F3AC7BC6}&file=gradeboek_des17_fin.pdf&action=default" style="text-decoration:underline;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-4" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>Click here</strong></span> ​</a>for more information on the graduation ceremonies and a digital version of the graduation programme. Graduates and diplomats are reminded that they should arrive at the Danie Craven stadium two hours before their graduation ceremony commences to te set up in the procession. </p><ul><li><span><span>The graduation ceremonies can be followed live on the internet at <a href="/streaming" style="text-decoration:underline;"></a><span style="text-decoration:underline;">.</span></span></span><br></li></ul><p>---------------------------</p><p><strong>SU December Graduation Ceremonies to see more Maties graduating</strong></p><p>Stellenbosch University (SU) will again award a record number of degrees and diplomas at this year's December Graduation Ceremonies – 5720 compared to 5300 in 2016 and 5020 in 2015. There is also an increase in the number of doctorates (142) and master's degrees (545).  </p><p>Eight ceremonies are to be held in the Coetzenberg Centre from Monday 4 to Friday 8 December 2017. </p><p><strong>The schedule of the December graduation ceremonies are as follow:</strong></p><ul><li><strong>Monday 4 December</strong> at 17:30: Faculty of Science</li><li><strong>Tuesday 5 December</strong> at 10:00: Faculty of Medicine and Health Science and at 17:30: Education and Military Science</li><li><strong>Wednesday 6 December </strong>at 10:00: for a first group in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and at 17:30: a first group in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and students in the Faculties of Law and AgriSciences.</li><li><strong>Thursday 7 December</strong> at 10:00: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and at 17:30: Faculties of Theology and Engineering.</li><li><strong>Friday 8 December</strong> at 10:00: a second group in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and honorary degrees.</li></ul><span><p>Three honorary doctorates will also be awarded: The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil), <em>honoris causa</em>, will be bestowed upon one of the country's foremost documentary photographers, Mr Omar Badsha; the degree of Doctor of Science (DSc), <em>honoris causa</em>, upon the President of the South African Medical Research Council and world-renowned researcher, Prof Glenda Gray; and the Degree Doctor of Engineering (DEng) <em>honoris causa on the </em>internationally recognised engineer and academic, Prof Markus Reuter.</p><p>An annual highlight is former HOPE@Maties and SciMathUS students graduating – university preparation programmes offered by SU. HOPE@Maties offers students in Grade 12 supplementary tuition during their school holidays. SciMathUS is a Stellenbosch campus based university preparation programme where post Grade 12 learners have a second opportunity to improve some of their Grade 12 results to qualify for specific degree programmes in higher education.</p><p>66 former HOPE@Maties and 49 former SciMathUS students will be graduating. </p></span><p>The university also gives recognition to some of its foremost academics and other staff members throughout the graduation ceremonie</p><p><br></p>
SU unveils Huis Simon Nkoli House unveils Huis Simon Nkoli HouseCorporate Communications / Rozanne Engel<p>​​​On World Aids Day (01 December 2017), revered anti-apartheid and HIV/AIDS activist Simon Nkoli's name and legacy became part of Stellenbosch University (SU). The university officially unveiled Huis Simon Nkoli House, after it was decided earlier in the year to rename its buildings at 39 Victoria Street after the late equality activist.</p><p>As part of SU's strategic positioning in building and sustaining an environment of inclusivity, transformation, innovation and diversity, the renaming of the buildings at 39 Victoria Street aims to celebrate Simon Nkoli's legacy and embracing the principles he stood for. </p><p>At the historic unveiling Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, Vice Rector: Learning and Teaching at SU, reiterated the university's strategic positioning and added that it/institution is looking forward to carrying on the inspiration that Simon Nkoli brought. “The university has fully committed itself to promoting all fundamental rights and freedoms for every person on campus, including those who are marginalised in society and even at this university," said Prof Schoonwinkel. </p><p>The Soweto-born Nkoli was one of the first black male anti-apartheid activists to reveal tha he was gay and HIV positive. He was at the forefront in the fight for gay and lesbian rights during Apartheid. As one of the founding members of the first multiracial gay-rights organisation in South Africa, the Gay and Lesbian Organisation of the Witwatersrand (GLOW), Nkoli was also given several human rights awards in Europe and North America. After being infected with HIV and living with the disease for 12 years, he died of AIDS on 30 November 1998.</p><p>In an emotional speech, Jaco Greeff, the Head of the Equality Unit at SU, said that they are very excited about the name change and the milestones the university has achieved in the fight against the oppression of the LGBT community and of those affected by HIV/AIDS. </p><p>“This has been a long road. Through working with HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care, when I reflect upon the friends I lost, colleagues I have lost in the community and the university and health care workers, things are looking better. Our treatment options, options to care is better, in the Department of Health, and at the university," said Greeff. </p><p>The unveiling of Huis Simon Nkoli House also coincides with the birthday celebrations of the Equality Unit and the Disability Unit at SU, who together proposed for the name change and will continue to share office space in the newly renamed building. </p><ul><li>Read more about Simon Nkoli here: <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5289"></a><br></li><li>For more information on the Equality and Disability Unit click <a href="/english/learning-teaching/student-affairs/cscd/equality-unit">here</a>.<br></li></ul><p><strong>Photo</strong>: Dr Birgit Schreiber and  Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel at the unveiling of the Simon Nkoli house.<br></p><p><strong>Photographer</strong>: Rozanne Engel<br></p>
SU to honour equal rights activist, Simon Nkoli to honour equal rights activist, Simon NkoliDumile Mlambo and JC Landman<p style="text-align:justify;">​​Stellenbosch University (SU) has ensured that the name of late anti-apartheid student leader, gay rights lobbyist, equal rights proponent and HIV/Aids activist, Simon Nkoli, becomes part of the present and future of the university.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This comes after management proudly announced its decision to rename one of its buildings at 39 Victoria Street after him as <em>Huis Simon Nkoli House</em>. The occasion of the unveiling of the new name will take place on World Aids Day (1 December 2017) – a day to commemorate those infected and affected by HIV/Aids. The festivities of this day will coincide with birthday celebrations of the Equality Unit (EqU) and Disability Unit (DU), marking their two and ten years of existence, respectively.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The proposal to rename 39 Victoria Street after Nkoli was first proposed by the EqU and supported by the DU, both within the Centre for Student Counselling and Development (CSCD) – the two share the house as office space. The CSCD is one of the centres in the Division of Student Affairs (DSA), which recognises that in order to achieve greater student success at SU, they need to be thoughtful and proactive in speaking to the needs of those often made vulnerable in society.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">As an equality activist, the late Nkoli will be honoured for his steadfast quest for equal rights and fair treatment of all South Africans irrespective of one's race, political affiliation, HIV status or sexual orientation. He resolutely fought unfair discrimination in all its forms.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Simon Nkoli quoted in 1990, notably said: “I am black and I am gay. I cannot separate the two parts of me into secondary or primary struggles. In South Africa, I am oppressed because I am a black man and I am oppressed because I am a gay man. So, when I fight for my freedom I must fight against both oppressions… All those who believe in a democratic South Africa must fight against all oppression, all intolerance, all injustice".<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Mr. Jaco Greeff Brink, head of the EqU, having Nkoli's name on this house will echo the social justice foundation on which they (the EqU and DU) are founded, both historically and looking into the future. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We couldn't think of any other name than his! <em>Huis Simon Nkoli House</em> is the ideal name for 39 Victoria Street as this embodies the collaboration of two units.  Mr Nkoli was a fighter for equality, against unfair discrimination and the rights for all marginal groups and this is exactly what the two units are advocating for," said Brink. He added that Nkoli's name, and what it stands for, has significant national and international stature and reverence.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Marcia Lyner-Cleophas, head of the DU, also shared the same sentiments, saying that they are very excited about this new chapter. Disability as an area of focus that still needs much advocacy work to establish disability inclusion from a human rights perspective in society. She added that the move will increase the two units' imprint and service excellence to the staff and students at SU.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">During consultation processes between March and July 2016, students applauded the proposal saying it is a step in the right direction to celebrate and honour those who have fought relentlessly for human rights. Mr Bongani Mapumulo, the current chairperson of the Dis-Maties had this to say about Nkoli: “His rights activism and clear stance on non-discrimination appeals to the issues faced by minorities that co-exist under the pressures of heteronormativity, HIV stigma and racialism. In addition, his driven activism intersects with the struggles still faced by groups that remain on the outskirts of mainstream society of political and economic participation including women, racial minorities, people with disabilities and homosexuals."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">SU's strategic positioning is anchored in creating and sustaining an environment of inclusivity, transformation, innovation and diversity. The University has fully committed itself to promoting all fundamental rights and freedoms of every person on campus. It is furthermore committed to become a more diverse, inclusive and representative institution and is working hard to create student-friendly living and learning spaces as well as a congenial staff work environment. SU aims to create a more enabling environment inclusive to a diverse group of staff and students and celebrates Simon Nkoli's legacy, while looking forward to inspire and reflect back on the principles Simon Nkoli stood for.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Simon Nkoli, the road less travelled…</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The 1957 Soweto-born, grew up on a farm in the Free State and his family later moved to Sebokeng. When he joined the mainly white Gay Association of South Africa in 1983, little did he know that he would later be the founder of the first black gay group in Africa called the Saturday Group.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">During his activism, Nkoli spent a great deal of time giving talks at various rallies across the Vaal Region in support of rent-boycotts. In 1984 he was arrested and faced the death penalty for treason with twenty-one other political leaders in Delmas, collectively known as the Delmas 22.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">As a co-founder of the Gay and Lesbian Organisation of the Witwatersrand (GLOW), Nkoli, along with LGBT activist, Beverley Palesa Ditsie, was very instrumental in organising the first pride parade in South Africa in 1990.  His commitment to the cause saw him travel widely, receiving several human rights awards in Europe and North America including becoming a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association Board, representing the African region.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Another one of his major achievements was a successful campaign for the inclusion of protection from discrimination in the Bill of Rights in the South African constitution and for the repeal of the sodomy law, which happened in May 1998, in his last months.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">After becoming one of the first publicly HIV-positive African gay men, he initiated the Positive African Men group based in central Johannesburg. He lived with HIV for around 12 years, and had been seriously ill, on and off, for the last four years. He died of AIDS in 1998 in Johannesburg.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>More about the Equality and Disability Units</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The EqU, formerly known as the Institutional HIV Office, promotes collective action towards social justice and discourse regarding social asymmetries at SU. Its core mandate is to oversee the implementation of SU's policies on unfair discrimination, sexual harassment and HIV/Aids, educate students and staff around sexualities, gender non-violence, HIV/Aids and anti-discrimination and to provide comprehensive HIV and LGBTQI services.<br></p><p>The DU, formerly known as the Office for Students with Special Learning Needs (Disabilities) is responsible to facilitate support to students with disabilities on campus, by creating an awareness about issues pertinent to disabilities, in the academic, social and psychological sense. The unit is a starting point for coordinated support for students with disabilities, engaging with prospective students as needed.<br></p>
​​SU reports on progress towards gender equality​​SU reports on progress towards gender equalityCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p>​Stellenbosch University (SU) made a presentation to the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) in Johannesburg on Wednesday (1 Nov 2017) regarding progress at the institution towards gender equality.<br></p><p>This stems from a request by the CGE, in line with its Constitutional mandate, as a Chapter 9 institution, “to promote the protection, development and attainment of gender equality". It is conducting a series of public investigative hearings into gender transformation at tertiary institutions.</p><p>“We are happy to collaborate with the Commission. SU respects the Constitution and the democratic oversight role performed by its institutions, such as the CGE," SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers, who led the delegation, said.</p><p>“As a public institution and a national asset, SU is committed to the imperative of gender transformation in search of gender equality. We believe we are making progress, though we acknowledge we are not where we want to be."</p><p>In its <span style="line-height:107%;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;font-size:11pt;"><font color="#000000"></font><font color="#000000"><span style="font-size:11pt;line-height:107%;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;">presentation, the </span>​ </font></span>University pointed out 54% of its students and 56% of its staff members are women. Dr Ronel Retief, Registrar of SU, said that female enrolment in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences is above 75%, and in Economic and Management Sciences above 50%. In terms of qualifications achieved, female students are also in the majority. At undergraduate level the figure reached 56% last year, and at postgraduate level 55%. In addition, all 33 Maties Sport codes make provision for women, including football and rugby. And 56% of those living in University housing are women.</p><p>Staff numbers overall are positive in terms of gender equality, but the University acknowledged that women are underrepresented in the academic corps and also at senior levels, both academic and management.</p><p>The Commission picked up on this issue as well. “We all see the big elephant in the room – the preponderance of white males at the top. There must come a time when there are targeted interventions to bring equality to bear otherwise transformation is going to be hollow," CGE Commissioner Mr Wallace Mgoqi said.</p><p>The SU delegation provided information about various measure in place to address this challenge. This includes the SU Rector's Strategic Personnel Fund and the New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) of the Department of Higher Education and Training. The past two years, 14 female staff members were appointed or promoted at SU in terms of these initiatives. And in 2016, the last remaining instances of inequality in the remuneration of men and women on comparable job levels were eliminated.</p><p>Dr Birgit Schreiber, Senior Director for Student Affairs, highlighted measures to address gender violence. She led a task team to End Rape Culture, which earlier this year concluded its investigation. All its recommendations were accepted by management. This includes monitoring, training of all students and staff, including management, as well as support to gender advocacy groups and individuals.</p><p>“Our journey of transformation is incomplete, but we remain resolute to walk the path of gender equality with our stakeholders," Prof Nico Koopman, Vice-Rector for Social Impact, Transformation and Personnel, said.</p><p>The Commission expressed its appreciation to the University for its participation in the process. <br>“Going forward, we are going to work with you. There might be things we can help with. Previous reports that we have done that you can learn from. We are building a relationship with institutions," Commissioner Ms Nomsisi Bata said. <br></p><ul><li><a href="/english/management/wim-de-villiers/Documents/SU%20CGE%2020171101%20(final).pdf" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icpdf.png" alt="" /><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">Click here for SU's PowerP​oint presentation</span></a></li><li><a href="/english/management/wim-de-villiers/Documents/Report%20to%20Commission%20for%20Gender%20Equality%20September%202017[1]%20(with%20cover%20page).pdf" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icpdf.png" alt="" /><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">Click here for SU's written r​​eport to ​the Gender Commission</span></a><br></li></ul><p><em>​​PHOTO: Members of the SU delegation at the Gender Commission hearing in Braamfontein, from left, Dr Phumzile Mmope, Senior Director: Corporate Communication; Dr Birgit Schreiber, Senior Director: Student Affairs; Mr Gerhard Lipp, Director: Legal Services; <em>Dr Ronel Retief, Registrar</em>; Mr Sello Molapo, Manager: Employment Equity and Promotion of Diversity; Mr Victor Mothobi, Chief Director (Designate): Human Resources; Prof Nico Koopman, Vice-Rector: Social Impact, Transformation and Personnel; and Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor.</em></p><p> <br></p>
USAf releases statement on leaked 'Fees Commission' report releases statement on leaked 'Fees Commission' reportCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">​​In a statement released on Sunday 29 October 2017 Universities South Africa (USAf) has expressed concern about the manner in which the final report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education Funding and Related Issues  (Fees Commission) has been brought to the public’s attention. The report by the Commission, chaired by Justice J.A. Heher,  was leaked to a newspaper over the weekend.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">Read the statement <a href="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/PR%20-%20Universities%20SA%20Response%20to%20Statement%20of%20the%20Presidency%20(002).pdf" style="text-decoration:underline;">here</a>.</span></p>
Women’s rights not properly implemented in Africa’s rights not properly implemented in AfricaAlec Basson<p>Violations of women's human rights are rampant on the African continent, said Prof Annika Rudman of the Department of Public Law at Stellenbosch University on Thursday (26 October 2017). She delivered her inaugural lecture in the Old Main Building on the Stellenbosch campus</p><p>Rudman said millions of African women who suffer from discrimination, violence and oppression have no access to regional and international human rights institutions.<br></p><p>They also lack access to resources, knowledge, legal aid and proficient legal representation, she added.<br></p><p>Rudman said women's rights must be implemented because the United Nations' Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW committee) stipulates that the right of access to justice for women is a fundamental element of the rule of law and essential to the realisation of women's human rights everywhere.<br></p><p>She pointed out, however, that despite the CEDAW committee and other legal instruments such as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), women's rights are not properly implemented. <img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Annika%20Rudman%20(7)_preview.jpeg" alt="Annika Rudman (7)_preview.jpeg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:450px;height:305px;" /><br></p><p>The Maputo Protocol  - adopted by the Assembly of the African Union ( AU) in 2003 and entered into force in November 2005 - is a comprehensive treaty that prohibits all forms of discrimination, harmful cultural practices and domestic violence against women and girls. It also prescribes rights to property and inheritance and contains civil and political as well as socio-economic rights. To date, it has been ratified by 39 of the 55 AU member states and has been in force for a period of ten years or longer in 24 of these states.<br></p><p>Rudman said even though the ratification of the Maputo Protocol has been relatively successful, “the invisibility of women's rights in the decisions and judgments of the treaty bodies set up to protect women's rights on the African continent is glaring."<br></p><p>She highlighted the need for a specialised committee to monitor the application of the Maputo Protocol in the protection of women's rights. <br></p><p>​“There is no specialised women's rights institution in Africa that can put the spotlight on issues of women and to bring their claims of human rights violations to the forefront," she said.</p><p>“A specialised women's rights institution would serve as a <em>receiver </em>of litigation and as a <em>driver </em>of implementation, with the potential of increasing women's access to justice and providing important insight into the Maputo Protocol."</p><p>“Establishing a Committee on the Rights of Women in Africa would strengthen the protection of the rights in the Maputo Protocol. A specialised institution would honour women's rights."<br></p><p>Rudman argued that treaty bodies would only be able to interpret and apply women's human rights law if women have reasonable access to these bodies.<br></p><p>She said the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights could be altered or improved to support the domestic implementation and enforcement of the Maputo Protocol and the rule of law.<br></p><ul><li><strong>Main photo</strong>: African woman (Credit: Pixabay)<br></li><li><strong>Photo 2</strong>: Prof Annika Rudman (middle) with Proff Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, and Nicola Smit, Dean of the Faculty of Law, at the inaugural lecture. <strong>Photographer</strong>: Anton Jordaan<br></li></ul><p> </p><p> </p><p><br></p>
Four Matie students’ recipe for success Matie students’ recipe for successSandra Mulder<p>​​​​​​Commitment, confidence, perseverance, self-discipline and stepping out of one's comfort zone: these are some of the qualities exhibited by four Stellenbosch University (SU) students who are recipients of the Gradstar Top 100 Graduate Employers and Future Leaders Awards for 2017.<br></p><p>Lee Baatjes and Avuyile Mbangatha (both studying MB,ChB), Cameron Foster (Investment Management) and Amy Pike (Fine Arts and Psychology) received this honour after entering Gradstar's online national competition – a platform that celebrates South Africa's leading graduate employers and also recognises and honours the best students at South African tertiary institutions.</p><p>These four recipients of the Gradstar awards were in full agreement that their participation had been a great experience and had helped them tremendously in preparing for the day when they need to enter the workplace.</p><p>To him being one of the 100 Top Leaders and Achievers in the country was a phenomenal achievement, Avuyile said, especially as he was one of the youngest.  He added: “As a former SA Junior Research Ambassador, it provides a platform to be able to network and shape my vision of giving back to communities and health systems one day."</p><p>Avuyile's advice to students was short and sweet: “Remember, life is tough, but so are you."</p><p>Amy's advice to fellow students was to look for opportunities and pursue them.  She explained: “You cannot expect them to come to you and you need to strive towards growing yourself as a person and realising your responsibility not only to your country, university, or peers, but also to yourself. Be committed and confident in what you wish to achieve in this world, and make every effort to fulfil it."  She added that she was proud of being chosen as a top student, especially receiving recognition on behalf of the smaller departments at SU such as Fine Arts.</p><p>Lee, who served as Chairperson of the Tygerberg Student Representative Council, is of the opinion that all students receive equal opportunities to prosper.  He said he could take all the attributes, skills and lessons learnt in his time at the University into his future workplace and bring about change.  He continued: “Students need to live a disciplined and well-balanced life.  Grab every opportunity that comes your way and be a servant leader in your community. Step out of your comfort zone and endeavour to make a change in your society."</p><p>Cameron has been one of the top students for two years in a row.  Said Cameron: “I feel immensely honoured because in this competition leadership and readiness for work are tested."</p><ul><li>The process for being selected as one of the 100 Top Students includes psychometric testing using Testgrid and being interviewed, amongst other things.  The competition is designed to emulate the typical recruitment process that students undergo when applying for a graduate programme.</li></ul><p> The students will attend an awards ceremony in February 2018.<br></p><p>Caption: Stellenbosch University's top students are pictured here (from left) Cameron Foster; Amy Pike; Lee Baatjes and Avuyile Mbangatha.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p><br></p>
SU taking action to prevent and address gender-based violence taking action to prevent and address gender-based violenceDumile Mlambo<p style="text-align:justify;">​Gender-based violence is a significant yet preventable barrier to gender equality. In response to the rising threat of gender-based violence in the country as a whole, Stellenbosch University has taken its zero tolerance approach of the matter to a new level. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">To prevent and address this critical issue, the university recently made an announcement that a gender non-violence response will be setup through which matters related to gender based violence will be coordinated and monitored. The decision follows the release of the SU EndRapeCulture Report 2017. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Based on the findings and recommendations of the report, the Equality Unit (EqU), based at the Centre for Student Counselling and Development within Division Student Affairs, proposed the formation of a Gender Non-Violence & Rape Culture portfolio to address some of the major challenges raised in the report. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Mr. Jaco Greeff Brink, Head of the EqU, a dedicated Gender Non-Violence Coordinator will be appointed for a three year period starting from January 2018 and will avail their services to all SU staff and students. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>“One of the major responsibilities of this portfolio is to come up with a comprehensive institutional response to gender violence and rape culture at SU",</em> said Brink. He added that SU management's approval of this new position is an indication that it views gender non-violence and an end to rape culture as strategically important to SU. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Brink also added that appointing a coordinator only speaks to one component of the report's recommendations but says moving forward, strategic partnerships will be forged with other key stakeholders such as the Transformation Office, Human Resources, Campus Security and a proposed monitoring committee. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This is very critical in our shared responsibility and response to pervasive issues around gender violence", he concluded. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The new portfolio will be under the auspices of EqU which promotes collective action towards social justice and discourse regarding social asymmetries at SU. The EqU is grounded in the understanding that in order to achieve greater societal equality we should use a process of equity to achieve this outcome. The unit also coordinates complaints of unfair discrimination and harassment as well as implements a comprehensive institutional HIV/Aids response.<br></p>
Smartphones keep students from concentrating during lectures keep students from concentrating during lectures Corporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p>​​Digital technologies, especially smartphones, have become such an integral part of our lives that it is difficult to picture life without them. Today, people spend over three hours on their phones every day.  <br></p><p>“While ever-smarter digital devices have made many aspects of our lives easier and more efficient, a growing body of evidence suggests that, by continuously distracting us, they are harming our ability to concentrate," say researchers Dr Daniel le Roux and Douglas Parry from the Cognition and Technology Research Group in the Department of Information Science at Stellenbosch University. Le Roux heads the research group, while Parry is a doctoral candidate. Their work focuses on the impact of digital media, particularly phones, on students' ability to concentrate in the classroom.</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><ul><li><em>Mobile users click </em><a href=""><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><em><strong>here</strong></em></span></a><em> for video</em>.<br></li></ul><p>According to them, today's students are digital natives – individuals born after 1980 – who have grown up surrounded by digital media and quickly adapted to this environment to such an extent that “they are constantly media-multitasking, that is, concurrently engaging with, and rapidly switching between, multiple media to stay connected, always updated and always stimulated."<br></p><p>The researchers say it shouldn't be surprising that university lecturers are encouraged to develop <em>blended learning </em>initiatives and bring tech – videos, podcasts, Facebook pages, etc. – into the classroom more and more to offer students the enhanced experiences enabled by digital media.<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/doug%20%26%20daan-web.jpg" alt="doug & daan-web.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:360px;height:245px;" /><br></p><p>They warn, however, that an important effect of these initiatives has been to establish media use during university lectures as the norm.<br></p><p>“Studies by ourselves and researchers across the world show that students constantly use their phones when they are in class. <br></p><p>“But here's the kicker: if you think they are following the lecture slides or engaging in debates about the topic you are mistaken. In fact, this is hardly ever the case. When students use their phones during lectures they do it to communicate with friends, engage in social networks, watch YouTube videos or just browse around the web to follow their interests."<br></p><p>The researchers say there are two primary reasons why this form of behaviour is problematic from a cognitive control and learning perspective. <br></p><p>“The first is that when we engage in multitasking our performance on the primary task suffers. Making sense of lecture content is very difficult when you switch attention to your phone every five minutes. A strong body of evidence supports this, showing that media use during lectures is associated with lower academic performance." <br></p><p>“The second reason is that it harms students' ability to concentrate on any particular thing for an extended period of time. They become accustomed to switching to alternative streams of stimuli at increasingly short intervals. The moment the lecture fails to engage or becomes difficult to follow, the phones come out."<br></p><p>The researchers say awareness of this trend has prompted some lecturers, even at leading tech-oriented universities like MIT in the United States, to declare their lectures <em>device-free </em>in an attempt to cultivate engagement, attentiveness and, ultimately, critical thinking skills among their students.</p><p>“No one can deny that mobile computing devices make our lives easier and more fun in a myriad of ways. But, in the face of all the connectedness and entertainment they offer, we should be mindful of the costs." <br></p><p>The researchers encourage educational policy makers and lecturers, in particular, to consider the implications of their decisions with a much deeper awareness of the dynamics between technology use and the cognitive functions which enable us to learn. <br></p><ul><li><strong>Main photo</strong>: Students on their smartphones during a lecture.<br></li><li><strong>Photo 1</strong>: Researchers Douglas Parry and Dr Daniel le Roux. <strong>Photographe</strong>r: Stefan Els<br></li></ul><p><br></p><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Dr Daniel le Roux</p><p>Cognition and Technology Research Group (<a href=""></a> )</p><p>Department of Information Science</p><p>Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 3803</p><p>E-mail: <a href=""></a> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p><br></p>