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Swartz receives ASSAf medal for science in service of society receives ASSAf medal for science in service of society Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p>​​​​​<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Over the last decade disability studies as an academic discipline in Africa, particularly South Africa, has developed extensively, in no small part due to the commitment of Prof Leslie Swartz, a distinguished Professor of Psychology at Stellenbosch University (SU) with an interest in mental health and disability studies.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">On Wednesday night Swartz, who is considered one of the most prolific and influential scholars in the field, was recognised by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) for his dedication to developing disability studies when he received the prestigious Science-for-Society Gold Medal for 2019. According to ASSAf, the medal was awarded to Swartz for “excellence in the application of outstanding scientific thinking in the service of society". </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Swartz is the only academic in South Africa to receive a medal this year. The medal was bestowed on Swartz by Prof Jonathan Jansen, the President of ASSAf at the ASSAf Awards Ceremony held at The Capital Hotel-Menlyn Maine in Pretoria on Wednesday night. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">For Swartz it was always inevitable that disability studies, an interdisciplinary field concerned with how and why disability inequality happens and is maintained in the world, would be one of his research focus areas. The first clue came in the form of his 2010 memoir, <em>Able-Bodied: Scenes from a curious life</em>, which chronicles his relationship with his disabled father, yet explores disability from an academic perspective too. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Swartz has not only concentrated on the development of disability studies, but has published over 250 articles in a range of international journals such as the <em>Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society,</em><em> </em>and <em>PLoS One.</em><em> </em>He has also served as the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the <em>African Journal of Disability</em><em> </em>up to 2018 and is the Associate Editor for the international journals, <em>Transcultural Psychiatry</em><em> </em>and <em>International Journal of Disability, Development and Education</em>. Under his leadership, the <em>African Journal of Disability</em><em> </em>became a PubMed and SCOPUS indexed journal which is now a key player in the disability studies field internationally. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He is a Core member of the African Network for Evidence-to-Action in Disability (AfriNEAD), which is headed by Prof Gubela Mji, Head of the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. AfriNEAD links disability scholars across the Africa, and also works with those from more economically developed countries like Norway, the United Kingdom and Canada. He is a Global Advisor to the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University.  He is also an International Advisory Board member of the Movement for Global Mental Health, “a virtual network of individuals and organisations that aim to improve services for people living with mental health problems and psychosocial disabilities in low and middle income countries across the world". </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Swartz has also won many awards, amongst them the Stellenbosch University Chancellor's Award, and the Stals Prize for contributions to psychology from the SA Academy for Science and Arts. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Over the years, he has supervised more than 40 doctoral candidates, many of them disabled, black, or women candidates. Recently Swartz's ongoing project to mainstream disability issues into civil society in South Africa, which saw him receive funding from the NRF for a series of public engagements around disability and citizenship in South Africa, culminated in the book, the <em>Palgrave Handbook of Disability and Citizenship in the Global South</em>, which he co-edited. Other books he has co-edited include <em>Disability and social change: A South African agenda</em>(2006), <em>Searching for dignity: Conversations on human dignity, theology and disability</em><em> </em>(2013), and <em>Transformation through occupation</em><em> </em>(2004), which is widely credited with helping develop a social justice and public health approach to occupational therapy in South Africa and globally.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Prof Swartz has played a leading role in developing the field of disability studies in South Africa, but has been dedicated in his drive to develop research capacity in people previously excluded from the academy and to making principles of scientific engagement accessible to the broader community. For this reason, he is sought after as an academic mentor and contributes regularly to the training of more junior researchers at a range of South African universities. His work is also regularly prescribed in academic courses in South Africa in psychology and other disciplines." said Dr Therina Theron, Senior Director: Research and Innovation at SU.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She applauded him for the central role he has played in diversifying the academy and as an activist “who takes scientific community engagement and linkages seriously". This has led to Swartz working with the Cape Town Holocaust Centre in 2018 and 2019. He presented a two-seminar series on disability and human rights as part of the travelling exhibition, <em>Deadly Medicine</em>: <em>Creating the Master Race</em>,produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and presented by the South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation in South Africa. The exhibition focused on the abuse and murder of disabled people during the Holocaust and the links between these practices, eugenics in South Africa, and contemporary concerns. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Swartz has also given back to communities in need by offering free consultation services to those individuals who require therapy and is currently supervising the first ever prevalence study of mental health issues amongst Deaf children conducted on the African continent. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Speaking at the ceremony, Swartz said: “I am very grateful for this award, and I am deeply honoured. I would not have been granted this award without the help and support of my family, my students and colleagues, and without the many many people who have had the patience and generosity to allow me into their lives as part of my research and scholarly work."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Stellenbosch University is a very supportive environment for me, and I am especially grateful for years of patient help from the Division of Research Development, the University library, and many others."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Swartz added that he was acutely aware of how privileged he has been to have worked with and alongside disabled South Africans and Africans from further afield to inform and expand his research in disability studies.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“They had good reason to mistrust me as a white, non-disabled South African male researcher, yet have given me the benefit of many legitimate doubts, and have allowed me to work with them. If this award is about anything, it is about the opportunities we all have to make a more inclusive world for everyone."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I would like to encourage all researchers, regardless of discipline, to think about how their work can include people with bodies and minds which are not the norm, but which are every bit as valuable as other bodies and minds. We cannot do diversity or decolonise our universities without making all our work accessible to all – and this includes people with disabilities of all kinds.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Added Swartz: “Diversity, which includes disability participation at all levels, and accommodation of difference, will make our world, as the disability studies scholar Rosemarie Garland-Thomson puts it, more habitable for us all."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: Prof Leslie Swartz (middle) received the p</em><em>restigious Science-for-Society Gold Medal for 2019 from ASSAf at an awards ceremony held in Pretoria last night. Here he is with Prof Jonathan Jansen (right), President of ASSAf, and Prof Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies at SU. (Supplied by ASSAf)</em></p>
SU’s Extended Degree Programme provides comprehensive student support’s Extended Degree Programme provides comprehensive student supportAsiphe Nombewu /Corporate Communication<p>​​​​​​​​​Thanks to the Extended Degree Programme (EDP), the future is full of possibilities for students such as Axola Dlepu, a BA Social Dynamics student who gained access to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) through the programme.</p><p>This innovative programme was instituted at SU in 2008 to deal with systemic obstacles to equity and student success and to assist students with additional academic support.</p><p>Coordinator of the programme, Dr Anita Jonker, says the EDP's role is to redress past inequalities and transform higher education by responding to new realities and opportunities.</p><p>According to Jonker, the programme is open to students who are interested in studying towards a Bachelor's degree with an average of 60–64,9% in their National Senior Certificate (NSC). She added that the National Benchmark Test (NBT) results, students' socio-economic status, as well as availability of places, are taken into consideration in EDP admissions.</p><p>EDP and mainstream students obtain the same degrees after completion of their undergraduate studies. The only difference is that EDP students do their first year over two years. Over and above their mainstream subjects, EDP students take modules that prepare them better for their graduate studies, such as Texts in the Humanities, Information Skills and Introduction to the Humanities.</p><p>In the first-year Texts in the Humanities, the focus is on academic reading and writing, plagiarism and referencing, , rhetorical structure, , text-linguistic characteristics, critical thinking and argumentation. The lectures are presented in separate Afrikaans and English classes to provide optimal academic support in students' preferred medium of instruction.</p><p>In Introduction to the Humanities EDP students are introduced to four different subject-fields, with a specific focus on multilingual technical concepts that provide a foundation for other subject fields in the Humanities and Social Sciences. All the terminology and lecture notes are available in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa and interpreters give students the opportunity to participate in lectures in their mother-tongues.</p><p>Students who speak Afrikaans, Kaaps and other related language varieties have a tutor, Jocelyn Solomons, who facilitates the tutorial discussions in these language varieties, and those who speak English and, inter alia, isiXhosa, have a tutor, Busiswa Sobahle, who facilitates the tut discussions in English and isiXhosa.</p><p>Extensive extra-curricular support is integrated into the academic offering to enhance student success. This includes the EDP mentor programme, which has received co-curriculum recognition and which is coordinated by Ms Shona Lombard. Here senior EDP students mentor first-year students with similar BA programmes and help them to adjust to the new challenges of university life.</p><p>Expressing his gratitude for being chosen to be part of the programme, Dlepu said, “The EDP programme has helped me a lot with academic support alongside being mentored. It made my life a lot easier than that of a mainstream first-year student."</p><p>The 20-year-old from Saldanah Bay encouraged other students in the EDP to use the programme to shine.</p><p>He said the EDP modules gave students a broader worldview and taught them how to engage with multilingual students from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.</p><p>Bavani Naicker, a 20-year-old BA Social Dynamics student from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) described the EDP as a comprehensive support system. She said they were given foundational knowledge to assist them in their studies.</p><p>“My highlight of the course was when we visited Parliament and interacted with representatives of the different political parties," she said.</p><p>Chloe Krieger, a BA International Studies student from Cape Town, said if it were not for EDP, she would have dropped out in her first year. “The EDP taught us crucial literacy and life skills that the basic education system failed to teach the majority of students."</p><p>Krieger said that the EDP helped her to develop an awareness about critical issues that she would not otherwise have been aware of. “I was also inspired to be an activist and to be an agent for change. I am currently serving on the 2019/2020 SRC and I am learning so much about issues that marginalised groups on campus face that many people overlook," she said.</p><p>Students who have provisionally been admitted to the EDP and their parents/guardians are invited to the first meeting with EDP lecturers and mentors on Friday, 24 January 2020 from 09:30 to 12:00 in Room 3001 of the Wilcocks Building at 52 Ryneveld Street.</p><p>Prospective students who want to read more about the EDP, can consult the EDP website at <a href="/english/faculty/arts/edp/home"></a><br><br></p>
Do you have what it takes to build the career you want? you have what it takes to build the career you want?Development & Alumni/Ontwikkeling & Alumni-betrekkinge<p style="text-align:justify;">Do you have what it takes to build the career you want? This is the question that the Alumni Relations office will try and help students answer during a series of<strong> </strong>Careers Cafés to be hosted by Alumni Relations, in conjunction with various faculties at Stellenbosch University (SU), starting in October. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The first of these Careers Cafés will be held in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences on 12 October in the form of a TedTalk-styled talk by Google SA Country Manager, Luke McKend, who is also an alumnus of the Faculty. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">McKend completed a BA degree in English and Philosophy and after working for a number of online businesses abroad, joined Google UK in 2007. Over the years he has worked with some of Google's largest clients developing their digital marketing strategies across a number of industries in the UK and is now responsible for building Google's business in South Africa.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">By collaborating with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences for the pilot talk, the Alumni Relations office hopes to provide a platform for alumni to engage with the university in a different manner by offering their time and skills to help current students prepare for the careers they want.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Whilst we are always very thankful and appreciative of the financial contributions and gifts that our alumni continue to make to their alma mater, it is not the only way for alumni to support and engage with our university and faculties. We have come to realise that there are alumni who would like to give back to their university and/or faculty, but would prefer or are only able to contribute their skills and time, which are equally valuable resources," says Mr Shaun Stuart, Manager: Alumni Relations at SU. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">While a graduate destination survey conducted by the Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC) amongst a 2010 cohort of graduates from Western Cape universities indicated that SU had the lowest number – 4,1% – of unemployed graduates in South Africa in 2012, also of concern is a global trend that indicates that while degree studies may equip students for the jobs they will perform in future, they often tend to lack the soft skills, such as communication, time management, conflict resolution, presentation and interpersonal skills, to further excel in the workplace. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"So while this institution and our faculties are equipping students with the relevant skills and knowledge to perform the work required from them when they enter the workplace and as it relates to their specific degrees, we are realising that there is also a need to focus on improving our students' soft skills in the long run."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The first Humanities Careers Café in October will allow the university to do just that and at the same time build more personal relationships with past graduates. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This is part of a bigger drive at the university to connect with our alumni in a variety of meaningful ways, to build more intimate relationships between alumni and their faculties, and to start connecting with our future alumni and inspire them to think about their lives beyond university and start building the career they want now."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Invites have already been sent to students from the Faculty and those who RSVP will receive a free bagged lunch that they can enjoy during the talk, which will held between 13:00 and 13:50 in Room 230 of the Arts building. Students are also encouraged to like the University and Alumni Facebook pages to receive more information about the talk in the weeks preceding it and to enter the Facebook competition to win a free dinner with Luke and members of the faculty and the Alumni Relations office on the evening of the talk. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This will be a great way for two of our students to get to know Luke in person as well," says Stuart. </p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li>After the event, a survey will be conducted amongst students on ways to improve the Café going forward and a lucky student will also stand the chance to win a voucher for two from Hudsons in Stellenbosch during this exercise. If you want to follow this event, tag us by using #BuildYourCareer |#BouJouLoopbaan and #SUCareersCafe | #USLoopbaanKafee.​</li></ul>
Social work more than just a job for Dr Abigail Ornellas work more than just a job for Dr Abigail OrnellasSonika Lamprecht/Corporate Communication Division<p style="text-align:justify;">For many people choosing a career is a difficult decision, but for others, life experiences point them in a direction and it becomes a calling. Dr Abigail Ornellas, who received her PhD in Social Work this week, is one of the latter.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Ornellas and her twin brother were adopted when she was almost five years old, after spending four years in foster care. “The family who adopted us is incredible and has given us an amazing life and opportunities we probably would never have had. This has always given me a sense of wanting to make my life count for something. I was the first in the family to go to university and get a degree. They have been incredibly supportive and are very proud of me.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My experience in foster care has made me intrinsically aware of the importance of social work and the impact it can have on a life. Some of the experiences I went through as a child have also helped me in social work practice, to understand the importance of opportunity. This is all people really need to truly step into who they are. It has kept me humble."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, it wasn't until closer to the end of her social work bachelor's degree that she began to realise how much more the profession was capable of and responsible for, and its complex history.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In her fourth year of social work studies, she worked at a local state hospital and spent a lot of time working in the mental health ward. “My biological mother had dealt with mental illness, and so this was an area of interest for me. But I hadn't realised how social work could play an important role in this field. I became increasingly aware of the struggles in mental health as many public mental health facilities were being shut down due to deinstitutionalisation."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This sparked an interest in the concept of deinstitutionalisation and she decided to focus her Masters on exploring this phenomenon in South Africa. “This was my first real entry into the world of social policy. What I would later realise was that deinstitutionalisation was linked to a much bigger concept – neoliberalism, which emphasises individualism, inequality as a driver for economic growth, protection of the privileged and elite, the commodification of care, the privatisation of services, and the idea that welfare creates dependency. These are all in direct contradiction to the social work values of collectivism, social justice, social cohesion and human dignity."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Following her Masters, she worked as a research fellow on an international staff exchange scheme for two years where teams from 11 different countries actively mapped the impact of neoliberalism on social care and welfare. “This experience had the greatest impact on my career goals in social work and academic research. It gave me that bigger picture. Living in different countries working with social workers who have incredible stories and varied backgrounds opened my eyes to the vastness of our profession. I truly fell in love with it. I began to understand that social work has a responsibility to resist global socioeconomic changes that did not serve people."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Something one of her professors said stuck with her. When talking about the concept of giving a person a fish as opposed to teaching them how to fish, he added, “but it doesn't help teaching someone to fish, if there is a fence around the pond".<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“That day I decided I would commit myself to finding ways of removing the fence – and that is macro and structural, and in my opinion, at the heart of the social work profession. We need to confront the system in which social injustice occurs at the individual level, to tackle things from the outward in."  <br></p><p><br></p>
SU academics visits Malawi to host writing workshop academics visits Malawi to host writing workshopCorporate Marketing/Korporatiewe Bemarking<p>​There is a commonly-cited adage in academia, "publish or perish". Although an exaggeration, the phrase encapsulates a reality of contemporary research: publishing one's research – particularly in journals – is a cornerstone of a successful career. Further, as money, time, and effort go into conducting research, it is the responsibility of the academic to ensure that as many people as possible find out about what this work reveals.</p><p>Being published, however, is easier said than done: writers' block, submission deadlines, and challenging peer-reviews are but a few of the hurdles which lead papers-in-the-making to falter and fade away. In countries only recently beginning to contribute to the international academy, the ill-effects of these barriers are amplified. To ensure that global Southern views and news can enter the global academic space, there is an urgent need to cultivate understanding around publishing on the continent. </p><p>This October, Professor Leslie Swartz of the Psychology Department, and Masters student Xanthe Hunt, visited Zomba, Malawi, to address just such a need.  The visit was funded partly by the Doctoral Capacity Development Programme at the African Doctoral Academy (ADA) at Stellenbosch University International, and was conducted under the auspices of the partnership agreement between Stellenbosch University and University of Malawi</p><p>A two-and-a-half day writing workshop was convened by Swartz, in collaboration with Professor Blessings Chinsinga of the Centre for Social Research at University of Malawi, and Professor Alister Munthali, and was attended by 14 academics from various departments at the University of Malawi. The group consisted of early career researchers, as well as seasoned academics, and had representatives from numerous fields, including political science, theology, library and information sciences, and anthropology.  Prof Chiwoza Bandawe, outgoing editor of the Malawi Medical Journal, and former Head of the Department of Mental Health at University of Malawi was also in attendance on the final day.</p><p>The first day saw Swartz, who is on the editorial board of a number of prominent academic publications and is the editor in chief of the African Journal of Disability, introduce the group to the principles and purpose of academic publishing. This was followed by an interactive afternoon session, during which Swartz and Hunt worked with the attendees on their own.</p><p>Swartz, who has been conducting such trainings in South Africa and other African countries for some years highlighted the importance of working with attendees on their own manuscripts during such trainings.  </p><p>"The best learning in this context comes from engagement with the actual experience of writing and especially in dealing with reviewer comments, which are often phrased in dismissive and unflattering terms.  Sharing struggles around writing, using actual examples, helps to minimize anxiety and avoidance of the process," explained Swartz.  </p><p>Swartz also noted that emphasizing interaction – and asking attendees to determine their own priorities for writing workshops – ensures that the sessions are relevant, and make the most of the time available. </p><p>In line with this, the second day involved a presentation by Hunt on the mechanics of writing a manuscript, which was followed by a feedback session from the group. They requested that the remaining time be allocated to a "crash course" on thematic analysis (TA). TA is widely employed in the social sciences as a qualitative research methodology, and involves analysing textual data (words from research subjects, in the form of interview transcripts, for instance). The course then concluded on the third day with a research methods session by Hunt, who is currently employing TA within her thesis. </p><p>Research methods are the building blocks from which good research is built; good writing puts polish on the finished product, and helps to ensure its dissemination. </p><p>"In the future, it will be important for workshops such as this one to incorporate day-long sessions on every step of the research process, <em>as well as</em> the presentation process," said Hunt, adding that short workshops are important in order to stimulate discussion around priority areas for future workshops. </p><p>The Malawian contingent have expressed their interest in a second, more detailed workshop, and Swartz says that he is optimistic about the prospect of piloting such an expanded agenda in Malawi.</p><p>"The quality of the research being conducted here is high," he concluded, "and I look forward to a continued collaboration with this engaged and engaging group."</p>
Secure software and legal systems needed for cyber safety software and legal systems needed for cyber safetyCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>With an overall increase in the number of cyber-attacks on individuals and organisations alike, we need more than just creating awareness; we also need to urgently work on creating and providing better and more secure (software) systems, as well as update our legal systems – all of which are not easy challenges.<br></p><p>This is the view of cybersecurity expert, Prof Bruce Watson from the Department of Information Science at Stellenbosch University. With October being Cyber Security Month, Watson says more and more people and organisations are being confronted with messages encouraging them to take steps in protecting themselves against actions of cyber criminals within cyber space. <br></p><p>“This is crucial given for instance the current increases in phishing attacks which are fraudulent practices of sending emails purporting to be from reputable departments/companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, or scam them out of their money.<br></p><p>“If an organisation's systems are not adequately protected, they are vulnerable to attacks, whereby law-abiding citizens and business data may be exposed and exploited by cyber criminals posing as banks or even government departments, resulting in unsuspecting citizens and business owners being defrauded out of their money through no fault of their own."<br></p><p>Watson says it is largely the private sector that seems to be championing cybersecurity awareness initiatives, with the South African government lagging behind still. <br></p><p>“As such, a cyber-security savvy citizen will only help to expose the gaps within the government when it comes to dealing with issues of cybersecurity. And as technology advances, more and more citizens will demand services that require the government to protect them from cyber-attacks."  <br></p><p>Watson does acknowledge that cybersecurity can be tough, adding that there are various reasons for this. </p><p>“First of all, cyber space doesn't obey to the normal rules of the world. As such, it is not enough to 'live in a good neighbourhood' in order to be safe from a cyber-attack. More and more, everything is interconnected and we can get cyber-attacked by accident, and at long distance. The internet is also easily anonymous, making attribution a problem as well." <br></p><p>Ideally, these are criminal activities that have to be reported to the authorities and prosecuted according to a particular law. At the least, we need to be able to identify the applicable laws that are transgressed and then be aware of the processes that we have to follow to bring the criminals to book."<br></p><p>Watson says that at the moment, however, South Africa does not have much. He points out that the only legal document that deals with cybersecurity and cybercrime matters is the National Cybersecurity Policy Framework (NCPF), which was adopted by Cabinet in 2012. <br></p><p>“We also have the Cybercrimes Bill, which until late 2018 was called the Cybersecurity and Cybercrimes Bill, but until the Bill has been signed and becomes an Act, nothing much can be done to address the issues raised. Furthermore, the signing of the Bill will not automatically make us safer, as it requires a transition that will take time, whereby the case system of the police will have to be adapted, the evidence chain will have to be aligned and adapted, prosecutors will have to be trained, as well as the judges, etc." <br></p><p>Watson says it is therefore very important that we up our cybersecurity defences, not just where normal citizens or users are concerned, but also for builders of systems (software), as well as the security of our nation as a whole. <br></p><p>“In the end, we all depend on lots of technology: from electricity, to banking to airports and airplanes, to entertainment. If those things fail, the impact can range from merely causing an annoyance to inflicting major economic damage."<br></p><p>Watson says people can protect themselves from becoming victims of cyber-attacks by not clicking on links that are suspicious (especially in emails), not just opening attachments and making sure their devices and anti-virus software are updated. <br></p><p>“Do not use public or free Wi-Fi for personal or banking transactions, it is dangerous. Make use of a virtual private network (VPN) instead. And remember: If it is free, you are the product," adds Watson. <br></p><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Prof Bruce Watson</p><p>Department of Information Science</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 2027</p><p>Email: <a href=""><strong></strong></a> </p><p><strong>ISSUED BY </strong></p><p>Martin Viljoen</p><p>Manager: Media</p><p>Corporate Communication</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 4921</p><p>Email: <a href=""><strong></strong></a> </p><p> </p><p><br></p>
Staff members learn isiXhosa to make Arts environment more accessible members learn isiXhosa to make Arts environment more accessibleLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Towards the end of last year, a group of 25 staff members from various departments in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences completed the very first isiXhosa short course presented by the Department of African Languages. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Dr Anita Jonker, the Faculty's Student Support Coordinator, staff members in this environment have for years been encouraged to learn isiXhosa and other African languages in an effort to improve communication with first-year students who speak an African language. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"To us, it is important to make all our students feel at home at the University as well as in our Faculty. We also want to use our students' mother tongues to help them grasp the technical terminology of their respective disciplines. For this reason, we have developed glossaries for most subject fields in the Faculty, on our own as well as in collaboration with the Language Centre," Jonker explains. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Even though the Stellenbosch University (SU) Language Centre also offers employees a wellestablished isiXhosa course, <em>Masazane</em>, it is presented over a longer period and is more intensive. The Faculty's in-house course takes five weeks only and focuses on conversations that academics, administrative and support staff would typically have with students and colleagues, as well as on using language to create a welcoming atmosphere. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Jonker says the idea for an isiXhosa course came to fruition thanks to the efforts of the three isiXhosa lecturers who form part of the Faculty's Committee for Learning and Teaching (CLT). At the final CLT meeting last year, the three lecturers, Dr Zandile Kondowe, Ms Sibongile Xamlashe and Mr Simthembile Xeketwana, offered to jointly present a free conversation course aimed at the CLT's first-year lecturers and other interested staff members. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">To Xeketwana, it was a wonderful experience to teach isiXhosa to the Faculty's staff. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The need has long been identified and finally it is being fulfilled. The course enhances multilingualism, which speaks to the new Language Policy, broadens access to the University, and creates a welcoming environment and a great staff ethos within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the University at large." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The course was compiled to cater for the specific needs of staff, who requested that maximum time be spent on in-class conversation, and that the focus should be on the type of conversations one would have with a student or colleague to make them feel at home, display empathy or to wish a student success with a test or exam. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The staff members met once a week for five weeks to build an isiXhosa vocabulary under the guidance of Kondowe, Xamlashe and Xeketwana. On her own initiative, the Faculty's newly appointed coordinator of blended learning, Ms Miné de Klerk, integrated each class's course material with a podcast of the day's lesson to enable all participants to continue practising after class by logging onto SUNLearn. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Lauren Mongie, a lecturer in the Department of General Linguistics; Ms Liesl van Kerwel, secretary to the Dean, and Ms Zahn Münch, a lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, say that apart from the course being fun, the lecturers' enthusiasm for the subject and their dedication also made it easy to learn a new language.   </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Since hearing a student address the Rector without understanding what he was saying, I have wanted to learn how to communicate in isiXhosa. I was struck by the helplessness I felt during the course when called on to speak, so it was good to be challenged by how it feels to operate in a world where you are unable to communicate because you don't have all the tools. This has made me much more sympathetic to the many who constantly find themselves in this position. I loved the way the three colleagues embraced us with their infectious enthusiasm for the isiXhosa language, as well as their excellent teaching methods," said Münch. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Van Kerwel added that she can now greet people with confidence in isiXhosa and that "the rest is slowly but surely coming along!" while Mongie said that she "benefitted enormously from the course". "I have been having short little conversations with Xhosa people I run into in my daily life since the course ended and I am surprised at how much the lecturers managed to teach us in such a short time. They were amazing presenters. I will be forever grateful for their kindness and excellent teaching abilities," says Mongie. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Jonker says their aim with this course was to equip staff members to create a welcoming environment, and to do so at grassroots level where they actually encounter students and colleagues. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"We really wanted to develop a course where staff members could speak with students and colleagues as equals, while promoting dialogue in the process. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"That's what made it so useful when, after the first three classes, the isiXhosa lecturers brought some of their isiXhosa students along to offer staff the opportunity to practise their theoretical conversations with actual mother-tongue speakers. In addition, staff could have weekly conversations with their three isiXhosa colleagues who served as joint presenters of the course, as well as with other isiXhosa colleagues in their respective departments."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Staff members who are interested in taking the short course this year may contact Dr Kondowe on <a href=""></a>.</p><p><em>On the photo are (sitting, from the left) Dr Lauren Mongie, Dr Anita Jonker, Dr Zandile Kondowe (isiXhosa course coordinator), Dr Ilse Slabbert, Ms Rochelle Williams and Dr Tasneemah Cornelissen-Nordien. At the back are Ms Liesl van Kerwel, Mr Pieter Janse Van Rensburg, Ms Sibongile Xamlashe, me Miné de Klerk en me Amy Daniels. (Hennie Rudman, SSFD)</em></p>
PANGeA-Ed to bolster academic research capacity in Africa to bolster academic research capacity in Africa Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p></p><p>The Partnership for Africa's Next Generation of Academics (PANGeA), a network consisting of eight leading African universities focused on strengthening and advancing doctoral training and scholarship in the arts, humanities and social sciences on the continent, has launched a new training and skills development programme, PANGeA-Ed. <br><span style="line-height:1.6;"><br>Unlike any other training programme on the continent, PANGeA-Ed will offer </span><span style="line-height:1.6;">high-quality short courses and workshops in research and skills development across </span><span style="line-height:1.6;">the eight partner campuses and at no cost to participants. The announcement was made at the launch held at Makerere University in Uganda on Tuesday, 27 September.</span></p><p>PANGeA was founded in 2010 by the University of Botswana, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Malawi, the University of Nairobi in Kenya and Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Four years later, the University of Ghana and the University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon joined the consortium.  The network aims to strengthen the development of higher education in Africa by creating opportunities for collaborative research and exchange among partner institutions, full-time doctoral study and, in the longer term, the establishment of joint doctoral degree programmes specifically in the arts, humanities and social sciences.</p><p>Doctoral education and training are critical in a world where knowledge has become a significant commodity. Studies show that PhD holders who have accumulated substantial human capital, not only through education but through the acquisition of transferable skills, are key for the renewal of ageing professoriates, staffing the rapidly expanding higher education arena in Africa, boosting research and generating knowledge-based economic growth. </p><p>For the last seven years, various students from across Africa as well as academics based at PANGeA partner universities have been able to pursue full-time doctoral degrees via the PANGeA doctoral scholarship programme housed at the Graduate School of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at SU. </p><p>Since the doctoral scholarship programme commenced in 2010, a total of 66 candidates have been nominated by PANGeA partners and enrolled for a PhD at SU. To date, 36 have completed their studies and resumed their academic positions at their home university, 81% of whom graduated in three years or less. </p><p>While this is a big feat, the chairman of PANGeA, Prof Edward Kirumira of Makerere University, says a decision was made to investigate other avenues of generating more h<span style="line-height:1.6;">uman capital and improving the skills and career-readiness of university staff members who fall within the network.</span></p><p>"At the PANGeA Board meeting in June 2015, the secretariat proposed the establishment of a new initiative that would serve as a complimentary programme to the successful doctoral scholarship programme. After a lengthy discussion, the PANGeA Board unanimously adopted the proposed plans to establish a training and skills development programme, which would address the shortage of skills and training within these research and academic environments by focusing on the development of research capacity at each of the PANGeA partner campuses. At the same time, it would also broaden access to the network. Training will be conducted at partner institutions and be based on institutions' needs," he says.</p><p>The programme will consist of short courses and workshops spanning three days and focus on various soft skills development such as academic writing, guidelines for funding and/or research proposals, and integrity and ethics in research to more specialised research training, including quantitative and qualitative data analysis; (critical) discourse analysis; mixed methods research; social surveys; and ethnographic research, to name a few.</p><p>Through financial support from the Robert Bosch and Gerda Henkel foundations, a total of 50 short courses and workshops will be offered through PANGeA-Ed over the next five years. </p><p>"The PANGeA network has recognized the need not only to generate doctoral graduates but to address the shortage of skills and make a meaningful investment in human capital within this intellectually diverse network as well. This programme is another means to build and retain African talent and human capital," says Kirumira. </p>
Kayamandi learners tackle pollution in the Krom River learners tackle pollution in the Krom RiverWiida Fourie-Basson<p>​​More than 100 learners and their teachers from four schools in Kayamandi will participate in a clean-up initiative of the Krom River in Stellenbosch ahead of National Water Week, as well as adopting and beautifying a spot next to the river for children to play.<br></p><p>This is one of the first public initiatives of the <a href="/si/en-za/Pages/initiative.aspx?iid=1045">Kayamandi River Partnership</a> – a collaboration between the <a href="/english/entities/SUWI/Pages/default.aspx">Stellenbosch University Water Institute</a> and external stakeholders such as the <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6182">Stellenbosch River Collaborative</a>, the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation, the Stellenbosch Municipality's Department of Community Development and Security, and Kayamandi Schools. Other partners include SU's departments of Microbiology and Curriculum Studies. </p><p>Dr Leanne Seeliger, project leader based at SUWI, says previous attempts to address the pollution problems in the Krom and Plankenbrug rivers have been hampered by issues of sustainability and co-ordination among role players: “With this partnership, the aim is to develop a fund resourced by key stakeholders in water management in the area, to ensure continued water monitoring and water education."</p><p>The Plankenbrug river in Enkanini remains one of the most polluted rivers in Stellenbosch: “Initially we will focus on the Krom river as the initial site for awareness surveys and river clean ups, as the Plankenbrug river currently too polluted for learners to use," Seeliger explains.</p><p>With this initiative, the Kayamandi River Partnership hopes to build trust, restore community and rebuild civic responsibility through a shared understanding of ethics between the community and the municipality: “One of the greatest challenges facing most townships is water management. Many residents were previously excluded from crucial decision-making processes. If both the municipality and the community interrogate the principles at hand in water management in this area, then best practice, rather than minimal compliance could be achieved," she concludes.</p><p>Learners will also be monitoring the quality of the water, thereby contributing to their natural science's curriculum. Prof Chris Reddy from the Department of Curriculum Studies in the Faculty of Education will be showing the learners how to test the PH, nitrates and turbidity of the water using a toolkit from the <a href="">School Water Action Programme</a> (SWAP). Prof Wesaal Khan  from SU's Department of Microbiology will discuss the dangers of pollution.</p><p>The high point of the week is on Friday 15 March 2019, when learners will “adopt" and beautify a spot next to the Krom River.</p><p>The initiative has received generous sponsorship of refreshments for participating learners from local businesses, including Ten of Cups, Timberlea Farming Trust and Chill Beverages.</p><p>The initiative takes place ahead of <a href="">World Water Day</a> on 20 March, and South Africa's <a href="">National Water Week</a> from 18 to 24 March 2019.</p><p> <strong>Media enquiries</strong></p><p>Dr Leanne Seeliger</p><p>E-mail: <a href=""></a></p><p>Cell: 072 203 2113<br></p><p><em>On the photos above, Learners from Kayamandi Primary School are taking samples to test the water quality of the Krom River in Stellenbosch, under guidance of the Stellenbosch Water Institute and Prof Chris Reddy from SU's Faculty of Education. Photos: Leanne Seeliger</em><br></p>
“You can't grow roses in concrete" says leading social work expert“You can't grow roses in concrete" says leading social work expertLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Students, staff and social work practitioners flocked to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences on Thursday to hear Prof Eileen Munro, a social worker and academic focused on child protection in the United Kingdom, who presented a talk in which she shared her thoughts on the role of social work in child protection and how social workers can develop their skills in the field. During her talk Munro discussed child abuse and neglect, how child protection services fit into wider cultural relationships between children, parents, community and the State, and on how to develop expertise in social work. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Munro is well-known for an independent review she conducted in 2010 to improve child protection in the United Kingdom. In June 2010 the Secretary of State for Education, the Right Honourable Michael Gove MP, commissioned Munro to conduct the review. The final report was presented to Parliament in May 2011 and contained important recommendations, most of which were subsequently accepted by the English government. Today this report and recommendations are being used as a basis for references by many scholars and policy formulators all over the world. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Her work has been utilised and studied by our social work students and has informed our own research. Social work is swayed by socioeconomic political forces that challenge its commitment to social justice. A neoliberal discourse has infiltrated social welfare and social work training at universities globally, as well as in South Africa. This impact is often discreet, emerging through managerialisation, marketisation, deprofessionalisation and consumerisation. Critique of the impact of a neoliberal discourse on social work and training has primarily been limited to academic circles. This Departmental colloquium serves as a cautioning for the Social Work profession to be aware of neoliberal implications and to stand its ground in a volatile world. The visit of Prof Munro to our Department and her thought provoking lecture, furthermore demonstrates the crucial and leading role which social workers fulfil in society," said Prof Lambert Engelbrecht, Chair of the Social Work Department.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Munro's talk forms part of the centenary celebrations events organised by the Social Work Department for 2018.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My visit to South Africa has provided me with an opportunity to learn more about what happens in South Africa with regards to child protection, so there was plenty of discussion rather than just a lecture," said Munro, who is a Professor of Social Policy in the Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Munro previously served as Transitional Chair for the College of Social Work's Children's Faculty in England. She is a member of a project about 'Knowledge for Use' that is based at Durham University and funded by the European Research Council (ERC).  In 2001, she was also awarded a CBE by the Queen of England, an honour which is awarded to an individual  for a leading role played in society. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Physical abuse was one of the first abuses that were recognised in the United Kingdom and sexual abuse only later, however, neglect was harder to prove, because you could have the most loving parents, but if they are poor and unable to provide for their children, how could you expect them to realistically provide," said Munro during her talk.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This is also true of South Africa, where the children's grant is R420 per month and the focus in social work is more on the individual child than helping the family as a unit. This, says many social workers, makes it difficult to have an impact on changing the family unit and improving the home life of the child. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Psychological abuse wasn't recognised until about 30 years ago and even today, it is harder to prove, but certainly it is the most destructive.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It is however encouraging to see that our protection of children and the quality of life for children going up, but then one does wonder when child neglect and abuse will no longer be present in society."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Munro started off her career on the ground, working as a social worker within a psychiatric hospital. She has a background in philosophy and social work and has shaped her research interests in reasoning skills in child protection, leading to an interest in how organisational cultures help or hinder good quality reasoning and practice.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I thoroughly enjoyed doing direct work with families but made my initial decision to go back to academic study when I was expecting my first child. This led me to review my career plans and it made me realise how fascinated I was by the differing views on how to improve social work expertise," said Munro.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I was working in a psychiatric hospital where I heard vigorous arguments between doctors who thought mental illness was due to physical or neurological problems, unconscious processes or learned behaviour. I was of course influenced by my first degree in philosophy and the angles of this debate that caught my interest.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Of course it was also easier to balance parenting responsibilities with study than with practice. I felt some sadness and missed the practice but recognised that my heart was in academic study," added Munro.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">While Munro studied philosophy, her PhD studies were in the field of social work. Her extensive knowledge has led to her publishing a number of books and numerous articles in professional journals on child protection. Over the years her research has focused, amongst others, on avoidable and unavoidable mistakes in child protection work, common errors of reasoning in child protection work, defending professional social work practice, effective child protection, and integrating intuition and analysis in child protection. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I have an interest in how we learn and develop knowledge. As a social worker I am concerned with how accurately I understand families' problems and how well I can help them.  At first my work focused on individuals but, from my experience in working with child protection services in several countries, I later came to realise how much individual workers can be helped or hindered by their workplace. A recent report I wrote about improvement work in England is called 'You can't grow roses in concrete' to reflect how many times people try to increase the skill of social workers (the roses) but leave them working in the same conditions (the concrete) that make it difficult for them to use their new expertise and so it is gradually stifled," said Munro.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Philosophy has also led me to be critical of the evidence-based practice movement.  I'm not sure how well known it is in South Africa, but there are a growing number of agencies  (mainly in the USA) selling 'evidence-based interventions' and, in my view, they fail to appreciate how cultural diversity means that you can't take a service from one culture and set it up in another one in the way you might reasonably expect an antibiotic to work in a similar way across cultures."</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: Prof Eileen Munro, a social worker and academic focused on reasoning skills in child protection, visited Stellenbosch University on Thursday to share her knowledge about the child protection field.</em> <em>With her are </em><em>Prof Lambert Engelbrecht, Chair of the Social Work Department, and </em><em>Dr Marianne Strydom, a lecturer in the department specialising in child protection. (Lynne Rippenaar-Moses)</em></p>