The Unit for Community Engagement Research and Post Graduate Studies is responsible for the following:
The University Staff Doctoral Programme in Community Development and Community Education
The Department of Higher Education and Training offers staff through the University Staff Development Programme mentorship and exposure in community development for the duration of their PhD studies. The programme is a collaboration between four universities: the University of the Western Cape, University of Pretoria, University of Missouri and Rutgers University-Newark. The mentorship programme is funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)’s University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP). Each student is paired with a faculty mentor from both a South African and US-based university.
University of Pretoria students on the programme are:
PhD topic: Improving undergraduate students’ inferential skills through a reading intervention dealing with expository texts
Thabelo Rodney Mudau
Rodney Mudau is a lecturer at Health Science.
PhD topic: Association of nutritional and environmental risk factors with asthma among rural and urban pre-schoolers in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.
'My research study focuses on the association of the nutritional and environmental risk factors with asthma, in preschool children under the age of five years, in the rural and urban areas of the Gert Sibade district municipality, Mpumalanga province. Asthma has become a major public health problem globally. In addition, it continues to affect children in both the developed and developing world, with the latter being severely affected. The prevalence of asthma and its associated risk factors need to be investigated if the strategies or guidelines are to be developed to alleviate the disease burden in this population group.'
PhD topic: An investigation into the domains related to student success in an Academic Development Programme.
Study background: The increase in student numbers does not necessarily relate to an increase in student retention and success in Higher Education. This relates also to the students in the Extended Curriculum Programme on Mamelodi campus. Gideon will be investigating six different domains to determine which domains relate more to student success than others. The six domains are: cognitive, demographic, institutional, economical, personal and psychological. The study will be conducted in three phases. Phase I is a secondary, quantitative analysis on UP data, phase II will be administrating quantitative questionnaires and phase III will be conducting qualitative interviews. The hope and intention of the study are to gather sufficient information, as a source of knowledge, to assist the University in determining which students need early interventions for academic success from commencing of their studies at the University of Pretoria.
PhD topic: Targeting multiple virulence factors of Streptococcus mutants using Heteropyxis and the role of Nanoparticles on efficacy and toxicity
Her PhD project aims to test the ability of two members of the Heteropyxidaceae family to specifically target the virulence factors of S.mutans.Namely; Attachment, Biofilm formation (specifically looking at co-species biofilm formation along with Candida albicans) and Acid production. The plants previously showed good antibacterial activity against Streptococcus mutans and moderate activity against Candida albicans. Nanoparticles using the plant extracts and gold salts will be synthesised with a hypothesis that they may be more effective in penetrating the co-species biofilm.
Mamelodi campus writing retreats
The writing retreats form part of the capacity development programme for early-career researchers working on the Mamelodi campus and associated faculties, namely Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Engineering, Built Environment and IT, Education and Economic and Management Sciences. These events take place during exam time to enable the participants to take time out and participate fully in the retreat.