Something to smile about: For the past decade Pauline Groves has been funding a tutorship in maths.
STAFF and students of the Department of Mathematics and the Development Office gathered recently to thank donor Pauline Groves who, as founder of the Chisnall Endowment Tutorship 10 years ago, has donated R250 000 to train and employ mathematics tutors at UCT.
Groves, who completed a BSc at UCT in 1941, established the Tutorship in 1992 to advance mathematics teaching and learning in mathematics among black students at UCT, and has annually contributed towards one tutorship position in the department.
â€œI had heard that unless students have the necessary language skills to grasp concepts, they will not be able to understand mathematics,â€ she noted as her reason for setting up the tutorship.
Since its inception, the Chisnall Endowment Tutorship has been awarded to eight postgraduate students, who have become part of the league of about 30 tutors recruited each year to help undergraduate students. This year, Groves made a lump sum donation, of which the interest is to be used to fund one tutoring position each year.
â€œYour contribution to mathematics education at UCT and in the country is greatly appreciated,â€ said past recipient Diane Wilcox, who has just handed in her doctoral thesis, to Groves at the recent function. Wilcox was accompanied by fellow tutors, MSc student Bonita De Swardt and PhD candidate Fernando Durrell.
Professor Brian Hahn, Head of the Department of Mathematics, observed that with around 3 500 students registered for about 60 mathematics courses, the 400 or so hours that tutors put in each year make a huge difference to the workload of staff members.
â€œIt's very helpful when people like you make contributions of this nature,â€ he said to Groves.
Just prior to the function, Groves handed a cheque of R109 000 to Campbell Lyons of the Development Office, bringing her largesse to UCT to R250 000.
This has proven to be a busy time for Development staff, who only the week before celebrated their fundraising efforts towards the multi-million rand laboratory renovation project of the Department of Civil Engineering.