On Friday, 18th October 2019, the Advancement and Alumni Relations Department, in collaboration with the DUT debating, hosted the first University Talks and Engagement (UTE) event; under the theme “Redeeming DUT Identity” with the #I’M DUT.
The Talks and Engagement session was held at the University’s Mansfield Hall. The purpose of the event was to initiate discussions and conversations on how stakeholders can contribute towards making DUT a safe and enjoyable learning environment.
Welcoming guests was Mr Sihle Mbanjwa, Acting Director: Student Services, whilst giving highlights of recent events that have negatively affected the entire DUT community, he challenged the audience to reflect on these events. “When these events and all these negative things happen at the University, what went through your mind as a DUT person regardless of your positions or your status at the institution, what did they say to you?”
Several centres and units made presentations about their departments and how they are driving towards building a positive DUT brand identity. The departments represented were the International Centre of Non-Violence, Enactus, Student Governance, Disability Right Unit, Student Counselling and Health; and the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT).
The key message from each of the departments and units centred on gender-based violence, acculturation, student support initiatives and the introduction of advanced diplomas and postgraduate qualifications.
Attendees of the event also had an opportunity to voice their views and concerns and these revolved mainly around facilities and support for students with disabilities. They also expressed the need for ongoing engagement and information sharing between students and the various departments and services they offer, in order to ensure adequate awareness and visibility.
There were also concerns raised about the waiting period for students seeking help from student counselling in that it was too long. Representatives from student counselling acknowledged that there are challenges around staffing and availability of psychologists but indicated that students who are in crisis situations or need urgent assistance, must indicate this when making bookings, as such cases must be handled urgently as there are measures in place to assist.
In her closing remarks, Mrs Nishie Govender: Advancement and Alumni Relations Manager, thanked all panellists and everyone who did presentations.
“I wish to thank all speakers for availing themselves. To the audience, thank you for having taken the time to attend and be part of this event, I am sure this is the first of many that you will be attending” she said.
For more information about Advancement and Alumni projects and activities, please refer to their DUT Connect Platform (https://dutconnect.co.za/) or for any information regarding DUT departments that were present at the UTE event, please refer to the details below.
Student Counselling: (031)3 73 2158
Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching: (031) 373 3122
ICON International Centre of Non-violence: (031) 373 5499
Pictured: UTE Panellists at the event.