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In honouring the staff with outstanding presentations on how data is being used to transform the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in line with the Envision 2030, the university recently hosted an online DUT Data Day Awards.

This comes after DUT held a five-day virtual DUT Data Day to raise awareness about the institutional research and institutional data sets that exist across the university, in November 2020.

DUT CampusesDUT Data Day provides an opportunity for the DUT community to showcase and learn about the different types of data and DUT uses data at the university. It focuses on institutional data and on understanding the importance of applying data to guide decision making within DUT. As the university begins implementing its new strategic plan, what exists in new data is important into helping it move towards its vision and its 12 strategic objectives.

The awards ceremony awarded staff members with outstanding data presentations focusing on DUT’s Envision 2030 for each of its core perspectives namely; Stewardship, Systems and Processes, Sustainability and Society.

In recognition of the best presentation in the perspective of Stewardship, the award was handed to Dr Koo Parker for the Student Feedback from the First Year Student Survey (FYSS) which is an initiative of the Siyaphumelela Project.

Dr Parker said the Siyaphumelela Project contributes to an institutional research agenda at DUT.

“Institutional research is research about an institution for the institution. The idea is that we want to improve planning, processes and operations. We engage and build community of practise at DUT, we disseminate our data findings to faculties and other structures. I want to focus on and building communities of practise at DUT around evidence-based student success work,” said Dr Parker.

For Systems and Processes, the award went to the Management Information Reporting by Rajenderen Naicker.

Naicker said their focus is going to be to improve Systems and Processes in alignment with the Envision 2030.

“In 2019 we launched PowerHeda. It has given us an opportunity as the Department of Management Information to provide access to information. We have 128 registered users, 63 dashboards and 91 reports developed. To date we have 174 Academic Heads of Departments and support staff trained at faculty workshops. For the future we want to create customised Business Intelligence reports, dashboards and data models per departmental needs. We want to build capacity of staff in the use of data, this we will do by continuing training workshops and we want to focus on targeting groups and departments. We want to develop Business Intelligence analytics capacity of staff at DUT,” said Naicker.

Meanwhile for Sustainability the award went to the Statutory Reporting Data: DUT Research Outputs by Philisiwe Charity Cele.

“It shows us the research relevance to the industry and society and the impact of the research that is being carried out at DUT. The data also reveals if we are aligned to the sustainable development goals, because it is very important for us when we do these activities that we also see what are the priorities and the bigger agenda outside of DUT. It helps us to measure the Technology Readiness Level of the research being carried out at the institution,” said Cele.

Lastly for Society perspective, the award went to Prof Monique Marks for the Sharing of data on homeless and substance use in eThekwini and how this was used in creating safe open spaces and a harm reduction programme for homeless people with withdrawals.

“What this says about DUT and the Urban Future Centre is that I think we have taken a lead with regards to providing services to the marginal and vulnerable population grouping in our country, particularly homeless people with a substance use disorder. We are in the process of developing drug policy and implementation models, through the work during lockdown but now through the Harm Reduction Centre which we are running, partnering with a public health NGO called Advanced Access and Delivery. We have a very close relationship with the offices of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor,” said Prof Marks

Special mention went to the best ‘Take Two’ video awarded to Tendai Chiwandamira from the Faculty of Arts and Design.

A special thank you also went to the DUT Data Day presenters for taking part and the DUT Data Day adjudicators.

Pictured: DUT hosted the DUT Data Day Awards

Picture 2: DUT’s different campuses

Simangele Zuma

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