The first half of 2011 has seen the School continuing towards achieving goals as set out in our Vision and Mission statements. These are:
Vision: To be a world leader in knowledge and human development in the fields of Chemical and Materials and Metallurgical Engineering in Africa. We aim to produce graduates who are at the forefront of the internationally competitive markets with our programme of integrated, multidisciplinary teaching and research in the science and principles of materials and process engineering.
Mission: By providing world-class education and by advancing knowledge in chemical, metallurgical and materials engineering, we aim to improve the quality of life of all in South Africa.
The School has been enjoying a renewed sense of teamwork and good morale in all divisions since 2009. The lessons learnt from the 2009 ECSA (Engineering Council of South Africa) visit have helped the School to keep ECSA files updated for every course, especially the outcomes based subjects. There has been a comprehensive realignment of some common second year courses to improve efficiencies in both the Chemical and Metallurgical programmes of the School and there is a continuing spirit of cooperation between senior and junior staff. Publication output remains high despite increasing undergraduate student numbers.
The retention of academic staff has improved significantly which has contributed to the improvement in staff morale. Mr. G Simate and Mr. E Madigoe were each appointed as Associate Lecturers in 2010. Within a year of his appointment as an associate lecturer, Geoffrey Simate has been promoted to Lecturer. His promotion has opened up an Associate Lectureship vacancy which has been advertised internally at Wits. Geoffrey Simate developed and improved industrial appliance software which he has tested on an industrial scale in breweries in Zimbabwe and Mozambique in March and April 2011 respectively. The University hopes that he will be rewarded for his research efforts in the form of a patent in the near future. Drs. Natasha Sacks, Vusumuzi Sibanda and Lizelle Van Dyk were promoted to the positions of Senior Lecturer in 2010 and 2011. Nicola Wagner and Linda Jewell were promoted to the level of Associate Professors in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Mr. Craig Sheridan and Dr. Kevin Harding were appointed as Lecturers in 2010. Many other academic staff have successfully completed their probation periods and have been confirmed as permanent staff in the School from 2009 to 2011. The School is therefore very well aligned with the University, in terms of academic staff strength, in the University’s aspiration to becoming one of the top 100 Universities in the world by 2022. Four staff members retired in 2010 namely Prof. Wolter Te Riele, Dr. Tanya Fedotova, Prof. Andreas Koursaris and Mr. Graham Armstrong, and their positions have been filled. In the place of Graham at the School workshop, Mr. Rhoderick Mcrae-Samuel has been employed as Principal Technician, while Wolter has been retained under special conditions as an honorary professor to continue to support the School after his retirement. Members of the academic staff have been very active in research, and have won several research grants ranging from NRF, Thuntuka and URC to externally funded works all of which bring significant funding which is required for both fundamental and applied research. Students and staff won several prizes at conferences, poster and seminar presentations, at national and international academic competitions.
An ad-hoc fund-raising committee, chaired by Prof. Sigalas, has been established in order to raise funds for renovating the school facilities. The committee is currently working on dovetailing the requirements of the various researchers and aligning their research initiatives to the University’s “Vision 2022”. We trust that this will result in greater efficiencies in the use of laboratories and available space. The School wishes to assist Prof. Rosemary Falcon to retain the SANERI Chair or secure another Chair, since the University is expecting to bid, amidst fierce competition, for the 58 Chairs that will be available in the country in the near future. The SAIW (South African Institute of Welding) Chair has been offered to the School and the School and Faculty are delighted with this development, which I believe was initiated by Professor Andreas Koursaris.
Professor David Glasser has retained his A1 NRF rating for another five years, Dr. Sehliselo Ndlovu has been rated C2, while Mr. Craig Sheridan has been registered as a Professional Engineer (Pr. Eng) with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). The School is very proud of these achievements, and that both academic and support staff are happy and motivated in carrying out their jobs in the School.
The School has continued to provide good representations at both staff and student levels in SAIChE, SAIMM, SAIW, ICCP (International Committee for Coal and Organic Petrology), SAIT (South Africa Institute of Tribology). We have aligned our H&S (Health and Safety) committee to the policy provided by the University. However, the university controls the maintenance budget, which implies that the H&S committee has no real mandate to correct any deficiencies and can only advise. Despite this, the H&S committee is functioning and continues to improve on previous years. PIMD (Property and Infrastructure Management Development) has fixed the ceilings of 1st and 4th floors of Richard Ward Building which has improved the safety and appearance of those areas.
We look forward to a successful second half year in 2011.
Professor S. Iyuke, Head of School.