Research & Innovation 2015-16 - Page 26

Victor John McKinney
Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Are Civil Engineer Undergraduates Learning how to Accommodate
People with Disabilities in the Built Environment?
Disabled people represent 15% of the population and encounter many
daily challenges within the built environment, despite legislation calling for
accessible buildings and transport systems. As civil engineers are at the heart
of all infrastructure, McKinney’s doctoral research set out to explore whether
undergraduate civil engineering students at UCT are being prepared to
contribute to an inclusive society that accommodates people with disabilities.
His findings revealed a conspicuous gap in collaboration between the
stakeholders, which hinders the adoption of a multidisciplinary approach in
the preparation of students. Despite strong commitment to transformation by
the Engineering Council of South Africa and UCT, he found that more could
be done to incorporate disability and the concept of universal design into
engineering education and practice. Read profile story
Disa Mogashana
Chemical Engineering, Engineering Education Research Group
How Academic Development Programme Students Make Their Way
Through Their Studies
Mogashana’s PhD investigates how students who were part of an Academic
Development Programme (ADP) negotiated their way through to the fourth
year of their studies – against the odds. She interviewed 12 engineering
students; her findings show that students in difficult circumstances have
to be innovative in navigating academic obstacles such as a fragmented
curriculum, shortened examination periods, and unfavourable examination
timetables. She also found that having been in an ADP had ‘unintended
consequences’ that left the students with feelings of marginalisation and
exception. Moreover, because of historical circumstances, many of the
students in the Academic Support Programme for Engineering in Cape Town
(ASPECT) are black, and felt there was an element of racial exclusion related
to the ADP. The study highlighted that, while the ADP has facilitated entry to
the university for students, it also exacerbates their experience of exception.
Read profile story
Corey Beavon
Minerals to Metals Signature Theme
Sustainable Mineral Development
Master’s student Beavon is specialising in sustainable mineral development,
and is working on projects that include how to operationalise the sustainable
development goals (SDGs) in the South African mining industry, and investigating
the barriers to and opportunities for growth in the industrial-mineral industry.
He has been accepted for an internship at the World Economic Forum (WEF),
and is working on ensuring the SDGs are integrated into the Responsible Mining
Development Initiative (RMDI), a flagship project at WEF. The RMDI is a multistakeholder tool that provides practical mechanisms to measure and communicate
the needs and expectations of stakeholders in the mining industry, and is currently
being tested in Guinea.

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