VC visits PASS staff
Since he first took office as vice-chancellor at UCT, Prof Njabulo Ndebele has made a point of paying regular visits to the oft-overlooked administrative and support departments. Now into his second term, he's keeping up these stopovers. Most recently he sat down with professional, administrative and support staff (Pass) from the Faculty of Humanities, chatting about anything that came to mind, including the always thorny issue of transformation. "Our Pass staff are vital to the excellence we seek to achieve and maintain in the teaching, learning, research, and social responsibility mandates of UCT," says the vice-chancellor. "In my visits I have learned that they care deeply about the quality of their professional and human relationships with their academic counterparts. Many are at the interface of the university's links with the public. They are committed to playing that role to the highest levels of excellence."
More funding for Macassar dune project
The Environmental Evaluation Unit (EEU), in environmental and geographical sciences, has been awarded funding from the National Lotteries Board (R1.2-million) and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (Deat) Poverty Alleviation Fund (R1.2-million) on behalf of the Macassar Dunes Co-management Committee. The funds will support a number of environmental and poverty alleviation projects in this important conservation area. These include the development of an eco-trail system, training and employing local guides and community monitors, and the development of an educational initiative linked to local schools. It also includes the Macassar Dunes, part of the vital coastal dune system, one of the biodiversity hotspots of the Western Cape. Until recently, the dunes were under enormous threat from competing and conflicting activities such as sand mining, cattle grazing, and off-road vehicles use. The resource needed a clear management strategy, one that had the support of the local community. In 2002, the EEU was awarded funding from the Deat Poverty Alleviation Fund to work with communities in the Macassar and Khayelitsha areas to address tensions between conservation and development in the Macassar Dune area. Since then the EEU has worked with the committee to identify suitable projects and to prepare funding proposals that would ensure the long-term conservation status of this area and, at the same time, address the urgent need for job creation in the community.
New websites go live
A couple of UCT sites have been vamped up over recent weeks. The Faculty of Law has gone live with its new site at www.law.uct.ac.za, as has the Sasol Advanced Fuels Laboratory, based in part in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at www.safl.uct.ac.za. Check them out.
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