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Public intervention shows Arts Faculty's opposition to racism on campushttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=2397 Public intervention shows Arts Faculty's opposition to racism on campusLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p>​"Racists don't belong here."</p><p>This was the powerful message that students and staff members from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences conveyed in a public intervention which was held outside the Faculty's building on the corner of Merriman and Ryneveld Streets earlier in March. </p><p>The intervention, which was organised by Dr Kylie Thomas from the English Department at Stellenbosch University, will be followed by a discussion on Wednesday, 1 April on <em>Racism and Change </em>in Room 401 of the Arts building. It will take place from 12:30 to 14:00. Everyone is welcome.</p><p>Thomas, whose research focuses on various forms of violence, in particular sexual violence, invited students and staff to pen down messages at the entrance to the building showing their disdain for all forms of racism on and off campus on 3 March. </p><p>Messages like "Race is a social construction. Deconstruct it!" and "South Africa belongs to all who live in it – black and white" were printed on pieces of paper which were then glued to the wall. </p><p>The event took place three days before another march, the Reaffirming Human Dignity March (6 March), which was organised by several student groups and coordinated by the Student Representative Council. About 400 students and staff members participated in the Dignity March, which was a "silent" march. Participants placed duct tape over their mouths and collectively removed it at the end of this march to symbolise that they would "not remain silent when the dignity of others is infringed upon and that open discussion is one of the most important ways to create a society where such incidents are not commonplace and where respect for other's human dignity will increase".</p><p>Thomas says she decided to organise the Faculty intervention following a recent report that three black students had allegedly been attacked by a group of white students outside the local McDonalds while trying to prevent the white students from verbally abusing staff members at the fast food restaurant.</p><p>"It was also driven by other events that I have heard about that have happened on campus but have been silenced, and by black students relating their experiences of Stellenbosch University to me," adds Thomas. </p><p>"This intervention was an opportunity to open a space for conversation on campus. Last year I organised a similar intervention outside this building. These interventions are held in open spaces, where you can have an exchange between students who may not otherwise encounter each other, other than walking past each other, so it really opens up a space for dialogue and where person-to-person encounters can take place." <br><br>She says that it is important for the University to respond as a community against racism and that the intervention was a way to do so. </p><p>A work of wall art created by Mook Lion, an artist from Durban who has worked with Thomas on other projects, also adorned the entrance walls to the Faculty on the day. The art depicted two similar looking baboons in a relaxing position.</p><p>Asked on why he chose baboons considering how they have often been used in the past to represent racist notions of black persons, Lion says: "I chose baboons because they are common in the Western Cape and because of how they have been forced out of their natural spaces because of urban development. They are also often seen as a menace and you can easily compare how baboons have been forced out of their living spaces to such tragic forced removals which occurred in District Six and even here in this space where this university building now stands. People of colour used to live here. So while there is a history of using baboons to make racist comparisons to black persons, the identical baboons created in this artwork were used to show how we mirror and reflect each other and how alike we also are."</p><p>Adds Thomas: "The baboon is a highly charged symbol that we want to forget about in some ways. In viewing Mook Lion's work, we are forced to confront this terrible and very shameful history instead of just making it disappear. It's actually quite funny looking at these two animals who are staring at us and mocking us as we go about our business in this intellectual space where we are supposed to be smart people and should be thinking about issues of discrimination".</p><p>Thomas says that while South Africa may have once been a totalitarian state where all resistance was suppressed, it also has a "proud tradition of resistance through the arts and in the street" and this is another reason she incorporated street art into the intervention.</p><p>During the event, many people returned to the space to ask if they could write more messages on the wall while others, says Thomas, seemed to feel uncomfortable.   </p><p>"There was a good response for the most part, but there were also a lot of painful accounts that surfaced from people who have experienced this space as a racist one. Some people who passed the event were also defensive and hostile – there seemed to be a lack of historical consciousness – and this is exactly why these things need to happen. </p><p>"I work with a lot of young people, some racist and some not, who are grappling with what it means to live in this country today. Many of the students in my classes are opposed to the violence that took place (at McDonald's), but they do not have an immediate space to respond to such violence and therefore do nothing. As teachers we can provide ways for our students to engage with racism in our society and speak about it in a constructive way." </p><p>For this reason, Thomas' work within the courses she teaches as well as the public interventions she stages "entails processing and trying to teach students that you can stand in solidarity with all people who experience discrimination". </p><p>"It is not only black people who can feel uncomfortable in this building or at this university. Anyone who is against discrimination will feel uncomfortable in a discriminatory space." </p><p><em>​Photo</em><em style="line-height:20.7999992370605px;">: Mook Lion (at the back, left) and a student from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the public intervention against racism that was held in front of the Arts building on 3 March.  (Anton Jordaan, SSFD)​</em></p>
Letter to students by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=2783Letter to students by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.Prof Johan Hattingh<p>​On Monday (27 July 2015) one of our undergraduate classes (Political Science 354) was disrupted under the banner of Open Stellenbosch by students engaging in a protest action which was directed at the usage of the T-option. As Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, I would like to bring the following to your attention:<br>1.The Faculty is in the process of an in-depth investigation concerning its language implementation, and, within the resources available, it is committed to ensuring that no-one is excluded by language of tuition.<br>2.Your experience of our Faculty's language of tuition is very important to us, so, if you have not done so already, please complete our online survey. It is available up to and including 31 July 2015. Please see below for more details.<br>3.If you experience any problem with the language of tuition you should take it up immediately with the lecturer responsible for the course and/or the chair of the department. You can do this directly or via your class representative. Then we can attend to it immediately.<br>4.The Faculty acknowledges the right of every student to peaceful protest, but no-one has the right to disrupt any classes or the administration of the University under the guise of protest. Furthermore we as a Faculty have committed ourselves already to enter into conversation with any student or group with a grievance on the basis of academic discourse and democratic principles. It is therefore important to know that any class disruption is unacceptable to the University in terms of its code of conduct, and that students who engage in such activities may expose themselves to possible disciplinary action.<br>5.Never try to break up any class disruption yourself. Rather stay cool and calm and leave it to qualified staff of the University to address any class disruptions.</p><p><strong>Language Survey</strong></p><p>I would also like to remind you to please complete this short questionnaire (<a href="https://sunsurveys.sun.ac.za/Survey.aspx?s=7d2a31fcec4a45609c10b043ef69c316">click here</a>) by 31 July 2015. Its purpose is to determine how you experience the language of tuition at this Faculty. As you are aware, several methods are used within the Faculty and the University to accommodate both Afrikaans and English as languages of teaching. In this questionnaire you can give your honest opinion on the T-option, interpreting, parallel medium lectures (the same lecture is taught separately in Afrikaans and in English), language support tutorials, etc.</p><p>Your anonymity as well as the confidentiality of your answers are completely guaranteed in this faculty-wide survey. The results of this survey will not be used for research purposes, but to determine whether any problems exist in the Faculty regarding the language of tuition and if so, to try and rectify these problems.</p>
Stellenbosch University becomes hub for artificial intelligence (AI) developmenthttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=3331Stellenbosch University becomes hub for artificial intelligence (AI) developmentLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">​​Mention the words artificial intelligence (AI) and the first thing that may come to mind for most people, may be the 2004 Hollywood blockbuster, <em>I.Robot</em>, featuring Will Smith acting alongside a human-like robot. While this may be one aspect of AI, the science is already being applied in our daily lives, with social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter using AI for quite some time to predict our next move before we have even thought about it. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">All this is done through computer systems that process large amounts of data at record speeds. This is why, for example, Facebook is able to draw information into your newsfeed on your favourite rugby sports team moments after you have concluded a search on the 2015 Rugby World Cup through Google.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Google, Facebook and Twitter all use a form of AI known as machine learning. The systems are able to learn what you are doing and match what you are doing with what people similar to you are doing and then very accurately identify what you may do next," explains Prof Bruce Watson, Chairperson of the Information Science Department at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU). </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Since July this year, the Department has been home to a Chair in Artificial Intelligence which is co-directed (with Watson) by Prof Arina Britz, a CSIR Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAIR) representative, who will be based at SU, one of CAIR's nodes. SU is one of the partner institutions of CAIR, a national collaborative research network that originated in 2011 as a joint initiative between the CSIR and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Watson, the research chair will allow the Department to double its research capacity and allow for the allocation of bursaries to undergraduate and postgraduate students in this field. <br><br>"It would make it possible to bring more artificial intelligence research into our courses and would also create a student pipeline for the CSIR in the sense that students may one day work with or for the CSIR," said Watson at the announcement of the chair in July. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">But what exactly is AI and how does it work?</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Artifical intelligence refers to computer systems that are able to learn and improve themselves over time by adapting to new situations. They are systems that are therefore not limited by what a designer or programmer put in at the very beginning." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">​It can be utilised in defense, service delivery, and information and communications technology for example. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"As these systems accumulate data, process it and learn more, they can, for example, be applied to existing systems to improve the planning and implementation of service delivery systems, medical care and advice, and monitor risks for us by learning what risks look like and predicting where they are more likely to occur. At present, we do not have these kinds of systems in place in South Africa, but our aim through the research we will conduct here is to develop systems that can, for example, learn where you should allocate resources such as medical resources or doctors, and even identify in which schools students are falling behind and why. At present, those are the things that human specialists do. Our aim is to capture what humans can do and extend beyond that knowledge through a system that can learn new things and go way beyond what a human being is capable of." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Watson admits that any talk of replacing humans with machines can be scary and that there is a danger of "automating away jobs as a consequence of this". It is the reason, he says, the Department also investigates the ethical implications of AI development, and are asking difficult questions about whether one should even want these kinds of improvements in the first place. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Of course we also need limits on AI. I completely agree with this as there are some risks that it could be used for the development of weapon systems which can be utilised by the military or on the battlefield. We have already witnessed how AI can influence election outcomes through Facebook. When I vote for a certain party and mention who that party is online, an AI system can place that information on the pages of people that I am linked to and that can influence people's voting choices."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">With the research chair based at SU and Britz stationed there too, Watson believes that the Department will be able to retain and develop more students interested in the field on the African continent instead of losing them to overseas institutions. It also paves the way for multidisciplinary research opportunities between academics. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">At present, SU academics from the Information Science Department like, Watson, Dr Richard Barnett, Mr Dewald Blaauw, Christiaan Maasdorp and Carianne Cowley, as well as Prof Bernd Fischer from the Computer Science Division of the Department of Mathematical Science and Mr Seelan Naidoo from the Centre for Knowledge Dynamics and Decision-Making are working on projects that could benefit greatly from AI. For example, research is being conducted on knowledge dynamics, management and representation and how it connects to AI; on visualisation and presentation of big data; computer security (typically called cyber security); privacy and anonymity; big data and machine learning in the wine industry. <br><br>"At the end of the day, AI systems can become the key enabler for us to utilise large amounts of data referred to as big data effectively. Big data is just that, but once you have a system that can go through all that data and find and use that data well, you have living data which can lead us to making discoveries much faster and  bring more sense to various kinds of fields of research. It can capture some of the knowledge we have in our heads and more and find things that we often overlook because of our limited capacity to process large amount of data," says Watson.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Research Alliance for Disaster and Risk Reduction (RADAR) at SU, he adds, which focuses on urban risks and hydrometeorological threats and fire, is a good example of where large amounts of data have been gathered and stored, but once understood effectively by an AI system, can be used to saved lives. "Of course you can have a human look at all the data and analyse it, but if you have a system that can use all the information available and is able to learn and make predictions in terms off where risks will happen next, then you can identify where a fire will break out for instance and react faster to prevent human loss." </p><p style="line-height:20px;color:#333333;font-family:'noto sans', helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;"><strong>Photo</strong>: Present at the launch of the AI research chair were from the back from left: Prof Erich Rohwer, Executive Head of the Department of Physics, Dr Hermann Uys, Prof Johan Hattingh, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and Prof Bruce Watson. Front from the left are: Prof Eugene Cloete, Dr Rachel<strong> </strong>Chikwamba, and Prof Louise Warnich.</p><p style="line-height:20px;color:#333333;font-family:'noto sans', helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;"><strong>Photographer</strong>: Justin Alberts</p>
SU honours prominent opinion-makers, business and academic leadershttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4403SU honours prominent opinion-makers, business and academic leadersCorporate Marketing/Korporatiewe Bemarking<p><em></em>Respected opinion-makers, business leaders, policy makers and prominent academics are among the latest group of recipients of honorary degrees from Stellenbosch University (SU).</p><p>The recipients are the opinion-maker, mediator and agent of reconciliation, Dr Franklin Sonn; the prominent music scholar and professor of Musicology and Music Theory at Princeton University – the foremost music scholar to have come from the African continent, Prof Kofi Agawu; business and higher education leader, Dr Johan van Zyl; Rwandan banker, policy-maker, campaigner for women's rights and former government leader, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa; Namibian politician and "peace broker", Mr Dirk Mudge; and a pioneer in computing, satellite technology and engineering, Prof Jan du Plessis.</p><p>Each year, SU awards honorary doctorates to individuals who have excelled in various disciplines and are recognised as role models. The University Council approved the honorary doctorates at its meeting on Monday, 26 September 2016. The honorary degrees will be conferred on the recipients either in December 2016 or March 2017.</p><p>Prof Kofi Agawu will receive the Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), <em>honoris causa</em>; Prof Jan du Plessis the Degree Doctor of Engineering, (DIng), <em>honoris causa, </em>Mr Dirk Mudge<em> the Degree </em>Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), <em>honoris causa</em>, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa the Degree Doctor of Commerce, (DCom), <em>honoris causa, Dr </em>Franklin Sonn the Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Dr Johan van Zyl the Degree Doctor of Commerce, (DCom), <em>honoris causa.</em></p><p>Over a period of several decades, <strong>Dr Franklink Sonn</strong> has achieved widespread recognition as a principled and resolute leader. Despite the socio-political system in which he functioned, Dr Sonn never allowed his humanity to be defined by an unjust political order and a corpus of discriminatory laws. Through the integrity of his person and leadership, as well as his unfailing faith in the power of the reasonable argument rather than in the path of violence and disorder, he has made a decisive contribution, in his own, striking manner, to systematically turning the ship of South African society so that it could begin to sail in a new direction. </p><p>This educator, education leader, businessman, public figure and unwavering critic of race-based discrimination has already received 12 honorary doctorates. Among others, he has been a school principal, rector of the former Peninsula Technikon (now Cape Peninsula University of Technology), president of leading teacher associations and South Africa's first post-1994 ambassador to the USA. </p><p>Dr Sonn is also a business leader, company director, patron of non-governmental organisations and former president of the <em>Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut</em>, as well as vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce of Industries of South Africa.</p><p>Ghanaian-born <strong>Prof Kofi Agawu, </strong>a professor of Musicology and Music Theory at Princeton University and the most prominent music scholar to have come from the African continent, is widely recognised as the leading authority on African music and his publications on African music have become the gold standard for scholarship in this field.</p><p>In his work, he crosses traditional boundaries in music research by bringing together perspectives from music theory, ethnomusicology and historical musicology. He has been able to straddle two very different musical traditions – those of 18th and 19th-century Europe and of West Africa – linking the two by exploring their respective structures and significance within their unique historical and social settings. In this sense, his work serves as a benchmark for all other, similar research. In addition, he has contributed ground-breaking research to the fields of semiotics and postcolonial studies.  </p><p>Cementing previous, less formal exchanges, Prof Agawu was recently appointed as extraordinary professor in the Department of Music at Stellenbosch University.</p><p><strong>Dr Johan van Zyl</strong> is a well-known business leader who stepped down as Group Chief Executive Officer of Sanlam in 2015. Under his leadership, Sanlam was placed on a path of sustained growth and outperformance. Prior to his arrival, Sanlam had for just over 90 years been known mainly for life insurance in the white Afrikaans-speaking middle market. Van Zyl transformed the company into a diversified financial services group with a footprint across 34 African countries, substantial businesses worth several billion rand in India and Malaysia, and a niche focus in developed countries such as the United Kingdom, the USA and Australia.</p><p>Van Zyl was <em>Sunday Times</em> Business Leader of the Year in 2014, <em>Media24/Die Burger</em> Sakeleier van die Jaar 2012 and <em>Cape Times</em>/KPMG Personality of the Year 2006, as well as the recipient of the All Africa Business Leader Award in 2015 as the top business leader in Southern Africa. </p><p>In his earlier career, Van Zyl  was a highly respected academic and Rector of the University of Pretoria (UP) – a position he assumed in January 1997 at the young age of 40. He was also named as one of the top 100 academics on the UP's list when the university celebrated its centenary in 2008.</p><p><strong>Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa,</strong> who obtained her master's degree (top of her class) and doctorate at SU, has held, at young age, two successive portfolios as a minister in the government of her native Rwanda. She designed and implemented policy initiatives that have contributed to the remarkable economic turnaround of her country over the past 15 years, and helped build government institutions that are now ranked among the best in the world. She is a brilliant scholar and an inspirational leader with a true commitment to improving society and the lives of African women in particular.</p><p>As minister of state for economic planning, she led Rwanda's economic development and poverty reduction strategy and formulated the country's first ever policy and legal framework for microfinance.</p><p>Five years later, she was appointed to the more senior cabinet position of minister of trade and industry. This appointment placed her at the centre of the country's strategy to transform its economy, making it more balanced and less agriculturally dominated. </p><p>She was awarded her PhD by SU in 2012, shortly after being appointed deputy governor of the National Bank of Rwanda. In this role, she is closely involved in monetary policy, financial regulation and the bank's research publications. With Dr Nsanzabaganwa's active participation as a minister and central banker, Rwanda's institutions of governance and economic policy have developed enormously since 2000 and are presently recognised for their exceptional quality, not only regionally but also internationally.</p><p><strong>Mr Dirk Mudge</strong> played a pivotal role in facilitating the transition of the former South West Africa to a political democracy and could arguably be considered one of the main architects of Namibia's independence. </p><p>With exceptional visionary, strategic and transformational leadership, he not only served as "peace broker", leading his traditional support base onto a new path, but also played a significant role in facilitating reconciliation between white and black in Namibia. In many respects, he helped break through the post-World War II impasse on the status and position of this former mandated territory of South Africa. </p><p>Through his outstanding negotiating skills and sense of strategy, this SU alumnus has proven himself an exceptional leader of transformation, who not only helped steer Namibia towards independence, but certainly also paved the way for political transition in South Africa. His tireless leadership in service of his country, his innovation in search of alternative political solutions for Namibia and his extraordinary transition management capabilities are all qualities that SU seeks to instil in its graduates.</p><p><strong>Prof Jan du Plessis</strong> has played a significant and pioneering role in the development of both computer and satellite technology in South Africa. He has also had a strong, formative influence on generations of electronic engineering students at SU.</p><p>He was responsible, among other things, for the importation and installation of the first minicomputer at a university in South Africa during the 1970s and was also the driving force behind the acquisition and installation of the first laboratory of microcomputers at Stellenbosch University in 1977, the same time as the first Apple 1 and PET personal computers were introduced in the USA. In 1986, he established the first modern personal computer laboratory with network connections – believed to be the first in South Africa. This introduced the era of computer user areas for students.</p><p>In the early nineties of the previous century, Jan du Plessis, along with Arnold Schoonwinkel and the late Garth Milne, was the initial driving force behind the development of the SUNSAT microsatellite – Africa's first satellite. Its successful launch by NASA in February 1999 made the world properly take notice of the university.</p><p>He was also involved with SunSpace, the spin-off company that was established to build more satellites. He has played a major technical role in the design and construction of satellites built by SunSpace, with SumbandilaSat being the best known one. Du Plessis can rightly be regarded as one of the "fathers" of space science and in particular of the satellite industry in South Africa, to which he made great technical contributions. </p><p><strong></strong></p>
Mapping science communication research over more than three decadeshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4888Mapping science communication research over more than three decadesJournal of Science Communication & Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Over the past year, two researchers from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) have generated a "world map of science communication research", based on the broadest bibliographical analysis of global science communication research outputs to date, shedding new light on current trends in the field. They have also provided very valuable recommendations for increasing diversity and representation of developing countries, which – unfortunately – are still considerably under-represented.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Their work has been <a href="https://jcom.sissa.it/archive/16/02/JCOM_1602_2017_A02">published</a> in the Journal of Science Communication (JCOM), an open access journal on science communication published by Sissa Medialab in Italy.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This milestone contribution to the field comes from two researchers linked to the South African Research Chair in Science Communication, hosted at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST). The study was carried out by Dr Lars Guenther, a postdoctoral fellow and Marina Joubert, a science communication researcher.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Our aim was to determine patterns and trends concerning the authors, institutions and countries that are actively contributing to scholarship in this emerging field of research, in order to highlight areas in need of attention", say Guenther and Joubert.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Research in the field of science communication started emerging about 50 years ago and has since then matured as a field of academic enquiry. According to the researchers, early findings about research-active authors and countries reveal that scholarly activity in the field has traditionally been dominated by male authors from English-speaking countries in the West. Their study encompasses a systematic, bibliographic analysis of a full sample of research papers that were published in the three most prominent journals in the field from 1979 to 2016. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Our findings reveal that early inequities remain prevalent, but also that there are indications that recent increases in research outputs and trends in authorship patterns — for example the growth in female authorship — are beginning to correct some of these imbalances," the researchers say. <br><br>"Furthermore, the current study verifies earlier indications that science communication research is becoming increasingly institutionalised and internationalised, as demonstrated by an upward trend in papers reflecting cross-institutional collaboration and the diversity of countries where authors are based."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Yet, even with these positive findings, the researchers concur, diversity in the field is still lacking with a striking majority of research contributions made to the three main journals in the field – <em>Science Communication, Public Understanding of Science</em> and <em>JCOM</em> – originating from the USA, UK and Australia, and continents like Asia, Africa and South America still considerably under-represented.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Although publications in general have increased over time in all three journals, suggesting that "science communication is maturing as a field of scholarly activity", it is interesting to notice that out of a total of 2 680 unique authors who contributed to published research in the study, the vast majority of them (82.3%) published only once in the main journals of the field. Furthermore, "the fact that only 28 researchers published six or more articles (over the entire period since 1979 and in all three journals combined) is perhaps an indication that there are still relatively few research leaders in the field". Most of the articles (74%) were written by only one or two authors, and it is rare to find research teams presenting joint research papers (only 5% of all research outputs were authored by five or more authors).</p><p style="text-align:justify;">An extremely useful suggestion raised by the authors to address the issue of some countries overshadowing the contributions of others is that, "(…) instead of calling for research papers from developing country authors, a more effective way of stimulating diversity in research authorship would be to encourage collaborative research that would include researchers in developing countries from the outset of multi-country research projects". <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The South African Research Chair in Science Communication is supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF).<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: Dr Lars Guenther and Ms Marina Joubert have managed to map science communication research over more than three decades</em></p>
Geography Department loses leading human geography researcherhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4505Geography Department loses leading human geography researcherLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Prof Izak Johannes van der Merwe, a leading human geographer in the Geography and Environmental Studies Department at Stellenbosch University, passed away earlier this month after losing his battle with cancer. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Van der Merwe was born on 21 March 1941 and completed his matric at Hottentots Holland High School in Somerset West. In 1962, he obtained a BA degree from Stellenbosch University, followed by a BA Honours and a Masters degree, which he attained with cum laude. Ten years after first enrolling at Stellenbosch University (SU), he completed a DPhil, focusing on <em>The differential development of the intra-urban space of Kimberley</em> in his thesis.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">He joined the Geography Department as junior lecturer in 1966 and for the next 29 years developed an academic career in that environment that saw him rise to the position of professor and serve as Chair (1991-1996) of this department as well as fulfil the role of Director of the Institute for Cartographic Analysis at SU for 15 years. From 1997 to 2002, he was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Science and in 2003, joined the Geography Department again, this time as a Research Fellow. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Over the years, his research and teaching has focused on urbanisation and urban problems in Southern Africa, socio-cultural and language patterns, regionalism and boundaries, and higher education change and structures, however, much of his research was linked to spatialising socio-economic change in the greater Cape Town area. As a leading human geographer in the department for most of the 1970s until the mid-1990s, he also made some unique contributions to South African geographical discourse through language and medical geographies. One of his latest contributions was 'an investment strategy for effective town development in the Western Cape' in 2005.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Van der Merwe has published 53 scientific articles in accredited journals in South Africa and abroad and has authored and co-authored a total of 15 books and atlases and 12 research reports. His first book, the 1983 <em>Di</em><em>e Stad en Omgewing</em> (in English, The city and its Environment), became a widely used prescribed textbook for students at Afrikaans-speaking universities in the 1980s and 1990s. It was followed by books like the <em>Social Atlas of the Cape Town Metropolitan area</em>, <em>Atlas for Encyclopaedia of the World, Economic Atlas of South Africa</em>, <em>Language Atlas of South Africa</em>, <em>Language in South Africa: Distribution and change</em>, <em>Stellenbosch University: Origin of students</em> and <em>The Linguistic Atlas of South Africa - Language in space and time</em>. Over the last 10 years before his retirement, he delivered an average of two academic papers per year at national and international conferences as well.</p><p>He has held a number of professional positions, amongst them serving as editor of the South African Geographer<em> </em>(1992 - 1993) and as the first President of the newly formed Society of South African Geographers between 1995 and 1997. In the 1980s, Van der Merwe was a member of the editorial committee of the Israeli academic journal <em>Geography Research Forum</em> and a member of the SA Academy of Arts and Science, and in the 1990s was a member of the Development Society for Southern Africa and the Chairman of the Management Board of the Centre for Geographical Analysis at SU. He also served on the 1993 official Task Group of the Negotiation Council on the demarcation of provinces in South Africa which led to the formation of the country's nine post-apartheid provinces, and was a visiting professor at the Institute for Territorial Planning at the University of Ancona in Italy in 1998.<br><br>During his illustrious academic career, Van der Merwe was also awarded the Stals Prize from the South African Academy for Science and Arts in 1984 followed by a fellowship from the South African Geographers' Society in 1991. In 2002 he received a C-rating as a researcher from the National Research Foundation.<br></p><p>"He was a great mentor, lecturer and supervisor and inspired thousands of geography graduates to think critically about the urban challenges our cities face,"said  Prof Ronnie Donaldson, a former PhD student of Van der Merwe and currently the Chair of the Department. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Van der Merwe leaves behind his wife Audrey Erica Rankin and their two sons, Izak Johannes and Rian.</p>
Women in five new SARChI chairs at SUhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=2877Women in five new SARChI chairs at SUKorporatiewe Bemarking / Corporate Marketing<p>​​Stellenbosch University (SU) boasts five new research chairs as part of the South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI). These chairs, which are funded by Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF), were awarded to five esteemed women researchers at SU. This brings the total number of research chairs at SU to 33 (24 SARChI chairs, and nine other chairs funded through other sources).</p><p>The new SARChI chairs are Dr Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs (Chair in "Social-Ecological Systems and Resilience", placed within SU's new Centre for Complex Systems in Transition); Prof Cherryl Walker of the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Chair in Sociology of Land, Environment and Sustainable Development); Prof Amanda Gouws of the Department of Political Science (Chair in Gender Politics); Prof Anneke Hesseling, director of the paediatric TB research programme at the Desmond Tutu TB Centre and the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health (Chair in Paediatric Tuberculosis); and Prof Kathy Myburgh, distinguished professor in die Department of Physiology (Chair in Integrative Skeletal Muscle Physiology, Biology and Biotechnology).</p><p>SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers congratulated the recipients: "It makes us very proud. This is recognition of their academic work and research, which is to the highest quality."</p><p>He linked it to the transformation of the University, which includes gender. "The University is committed to the career advancement of women, especially at senior levels, where they are unfortunately still underrepresented. We are working on correcting this."</p><p>"We are extremely pleased with the success of the five excellent SU candidates. For female researchers at SU and across the SA higher education sector this is a day to celebrate the important role of female academic staff members in this institution and in the country", said Dr Therina Theron, Senior Director: Research and Innovation at SU.</p><p>She added: "More importantly, the sector now has 42 new female SARChI role models who will do transformative research, train large numbers of postgraduate students, and hopefully inspire large numbers of female students to enter the area of academic research." </p><p>Theron said they will do their utmost to support these new Chairs, and to develop more capacity that will assist us in transforming and rejuvenating our academic cohort through programmes like this in the future.</p><p>The DST-NRF SARChI research chair initiative is designed to significantly expand the scientific research base of South Africa in a way that supports implementation of the national Research and Development policies. The main goal of the initiative is to strengthen and improve research and innovation capacity of public universities for producing high quality postgraduate students, research, and innovation outputs. Since its inception in 2006, 153 Research Chairs have been awarded in various disciplines and research fields and the Funding Instrument has been successful in retaining leading South African scientists in the university system and attracting leading foreign researchers and expatriate researchers to South Africa. </p><ul><li><strong style="line-height:1.6;">​Photo</strong><span style="line-height:1.6;">: <em>Front </em>Dr Reinette Biggs, Profs <span style="line-height:20.8px;">Amanda Gouws</span>, <span style="line-height:20.8px;">Kathy Myburgh and Dr <span style="line-height:20.8px;">The</span><span style="line-height:20.8px;">rina Theron. <em>Back</em></span><em> </em></span>Profs Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research and Innovation, Cherryl Walker and Anneke Hesseling.</span><br></li></ul><p> </p>
Arts Faculty signs translation studies agreement with KU Leuvenhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=2121Arts Faculty signs translation studies agreement with KU LeuvenLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">​​​The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences recently signed a cooperation agreement, primarily aimed at the PhD programme in Translation (translation, interpreting, editing), with the Faculty of Arts of the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) on the latter's Antwerp campus in Belgium. This agreement not only provides for exchange opportunities, but also the future conferment of a joint PhD degree by Stellenbosch University (SU) and KU Leuven.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The agreement was signed on 13 November by representatives of both universities, as well as Prof Luc van Doorslaer, the director of CETRA (the Centre for Translation Studies) at Leuven. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"For some time now, our faculty, and particularly our department, has been collaborating at an individual level with the former Lessius Hogeschool in Antwerp, which now forms part of KU Leuven. Prof Luc van Doorslaer, for instance, has been a research fellow in our department since 2013. Following the signing of this agreement, Van Doorslaer will specifically assist in supervising PhD candidates in Translation in our department," explains Prof Ilse Feinauer, Vice-Dean: Languages and the coordinator of programmes in Translation in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The agreement, Feinauer says, entails researcher exchange (particularly doctoral and postdoctoral students, but academics also), research initiatives and projects, as well as future joint PhDs.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This will enable us to offer our PhD and postdoctoral candidates joint PhD supervision in translation, interpreting and editing," she adds.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Feinauer says the groundwork for the agreement was laid by Prof Rufus Gouws, who spent part of his research leave at KU Leuven in 2014. Here, Gouws liaised with the dean of arts on Antwerp campus, Prof Frieda Steurs, and held further talks to facilitate the agreement. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"What further enabled the agreement was the signing of a preferred partner agreement between Leuven and SU in May 2014. That agreement has certainly helped facilitate the signing of this accord between our two faculties." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Feinauer, CETRA hosts an annual summer school in translation studies, which SU's PhD students would now also be able to access more easily, while Leuven students would be able to visit Stellenbosch to conduct their research here. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"For Leuven, this agreement not only presents an opportunity for us to learn from them, but also for them to learn from us, particularly about translation and interpreting in Africa and South Africa, but more specifically about multilingualism. They are also unfamiliar with our concept of educational interpreting, and one of our PhD students will hopefully be the first to conduct research on this topic as part of the joint degree programme."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"We have a strong postgraduate programme in Translation, and the fact that they have chosen to enter into an agreement with us at that level confirms that Leuven understands the significance of the research conducted here, which I believe is a feather in our cap," says Feinauer.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em style="line-height:20.7999992370605px;text-align:justify;">Photo 1: Johan Hattingh​​ and <em style="line-height:20.7999992370605px;">Luk Draye. </em><em style="line-height:20.7999992370605px;">(Photo supplied.)</em></em><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo 2: The signing of the agreement between the Faculties of Arts of Stellenbosch University and KU Leuven. Pictured from the left are Profs Ilse Feinauer, Vice-Dean: Languages in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and coordinator of programmes in Translation in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, SU</em><em>; Johan Hattingh, Dean: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; Rufus Gouws, coordinator of Lexicography programmes in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, SU; Bart van den Bossche, Vice-Dean: Internationalisation, KU Leuven; Frieda Steurs, Dean: Arts of Antwerp campus, KU Leuven; Luk Draye, Dean: Arts, KU Leuven; Luc van Doorslaer, Vice-Dean: Research of Antwerp campus and CETRA director, KU Leuven. (Photo supplied.)</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p>
Prof Ilse Feinauer appointed as honorary professor in Chinahttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=1809Prof Ilse Feinauer appointed as honorary professor in ChinaL de Roubaix<p> The Taiyuan University of Technology in Taiyuan, Shanxi, China appointed Prof Ilse Feinauer of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch as an honorary professor in the Faculty of International Language and Culture on Monday 15 September. </p><p>The vice president of the University, Prof Xu Bingshe, presented Prof Feinauer with the certificate of appointment at a ceremony that preceded her inaugural lecture. The title of her inaugural lecture was <em>The interaction between translation and technology. </em>Prof Xu Bingshe said by means of an interpreter that he hopes the appointment will strengthen relationships and future agreements with Stellenbosch University.</p><p>Prof. Feinauer was invited to present a series of lectures on translation at the Taiyuan University of Technology, and she returns to Stellenbosch on 24 September.</p>
Makunga tells all at "Confessions of a communicating scientist" talkhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=2366Makunga tells all at "Confessions of a communicating scientist" talkLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p>​<span style="line-height:1.6;">Write it in your diary and make sure that you do not miss the next Science Fridays @ Stellenbosch on 27 March. The dynamic Prof Nox Makunga of the Botany and Zoology Department will share how science communication has changed her life in her talk "Confessions of a communication scientist – how public engagement is shaping my research career and making me a better scientist".</span></p><p>Science Fridays @ Stellenbosch is held once a month over the lunch hour on a Friday and focuses on issues that impact on science and society. </p><p>The seminar series was established in 2015 after a Chair in Communication Science was awarded in 2014 to the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST), which is situated in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.</p><p>The Chair provides South Africa and the University with the opportunity to do "groundbreaking work on this developing academic terrain".</p><p>It is also the first chair of its kind on the African continent. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Makunga will focus on how her interaction with the public has helped her shape her career and has made her a better researcher. Her research focuses on the application of biotechnology to Cape medicinal flora and stems from her PhD study which focused on a plant with anticancer activity. Today she also focuses on people-plant interactions and on research on medicinal plants, their cultural significance and opportunities presented for socioeconomic development. </p><p><strong>Date: </strong>Friday, 27 March 2015 <br><strong>Time: </strong>13:00 – 14:00 (Refreshments to be served at 12:30)<br> <strong>Venue:</strong> CREST, 5<sup>th</sup> floor, Wilcocks building, c/o Ryneveld & Victoria Streets, Stellenbosch<br> <strong>RSVP:</strong>  Rolene Langford (rlm@sun.ac.za) by 25 March 2015<br> <strong>Enquiries:</strong> 021 808 9387<br><br></p>