Department of Mining Engineering
Dear Student/Prospective Tukkies Mining Student
The Department of Mining Engineering at the University of Pretoria is one of only two Departments in South Africa that train Professional Graduate Mining Engineers, with significant undergraduate student numbers, graduates that are well accepted in the market, and with significant research activities and cooperation on both national and international levels. The Department has recently shown a real increase in post graduate student numbers, which forms a very important part of the Department’s drive for international recognition and credibility in terms of active research.
The undergraduate program is accredited by ECSA (Engineering Council of South Africa) and is as such internationally recognised through the Washington accord. The demographics of the mining students have significantly changed over the last number of years and represent the demographics of South Africa. The Department is also supported by the Mining Alumni Society University of Pretoria (MASUP). The Minerals Education Trust Fund (METF) is responsible for lecturer’s salary subventions and Department financial support, so too the South African Colliery Managers’ Association (SACMA), the Association of Mine Managers of South Africa (AMMSA), The Mines Qualifications Authority (MQA) and the South African Institute for Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM), scholarship fund. The Department is guided by the Mining Advisory Board, which is represented by prominent members of the Mining Industry which includes several alumni students.
The Department is actively involved with the community through the participation of staff in the activities of professional societies, expert consultation and community projects within the faculty. The Department is offering short courses, in cooperation with industry and the professional societies and there is a huge potential for further development of additional courses.
The teaching staff is the prime resource of the Department and encouraged to improve their teaching and research skills, active in teaching in industry to remain current, departmental administration and community service. Active participation of contracted-in industry experts as part time lecturers forms a very important part of our education strategy when necessary and the involvement of guest lecturers on an ongoing basis keeps us up to date with industry needs. The quest remains to develop each staff member into an internationally recognised engineer and scholar.
The Department is in a healthy state, which serves as a sound foundation for future development of its teaching, research and community service. The development of our students as future managers and technical specialists remain a priority and the development of life skills and responsible leadership through participation in student activities is continuously encouraged.
We have embarked on a new innovative teaching and learning strategy for our 3rd and 4th year students. It was also the first year (2010) that all our final year students took part in the Herman Brain Dominance (HBDI), Shadowmatch, DISC and Myers Briggs evaluation to understanding their own learning and thinking preferences.
This is a major contribution in their lives and will come in very handy in future. Mentorship and coaching now forms a very large part of the fourth year academic program.
The introduction of clickers (a radio frequency based interactive answering tool) has also introduced a new dimension in terms of lecturers proactively knowing what students understand or don’t understand on a real time basis.
The introduction of discussion rooms has created a real academic environment for our students. We are the only engineering Department with a full time Instructional Designer, sponsored annually by SACMA. We are the only Mining Department in the world that offers instructionally designed material for all our mining related subjects and in this way enhance the learning experience for all students.
Recently we have secured sponsorships for Chairs in Safety Health and the Environment from Sasol Mining (R 4.2 million) as well as a Rock Engineering and Numerical Modeling Chair sponsored by Harmony Gold (R 4.7 million). Kumba Iron Ore have made available R18.8 million rand for the establishment of a Virtual Reality Centre for mine design. It is also envisaged that a complete new Mining Department will be built on the 5th floor of the current Mineral Sciences Building in the very near future.
We have also upgraded our computer facilities and now have our own mining IT Lab for use by our students. We are one of only a few Engineering Departments that have an active bulk SMS system available to communicate with our students and has one of the most active student societies, the Tuks Mining Society, on campus. Key issues in developing good quality mining engineers are: discipline (including time management guidelines), passion, coaching ability and enthusiasm for the mining degree and maintaining high standards for Mining Engineering education. We owe it to our alumni and the future generation of Mining Engineers of this country that will be educated in this Department.
The Department has gone through a major revamping exercise in terms of our professional image which is well received by the industry as a whole.
You as students have chosen a great career and it is a great honour for me to be Head of Department Mining Engineering and part of this prestigious career.
Professor RCW Webber-Youngman
Head of the Department of Mining Engineering