One common course for all first-year engineering students

By Naledi Mashishi

First-year engineering students will now complete the Common First Year course which will teach core subjects equally across the board.

STARTING in 2019, all first-year engineering students, regardless of branch of engineering, will begin their studies with the new Common First Year (CFY) course which will teach core subjects such as science and maths equally across all branches.

Although students are still expected to register for a specific branch from first year, the new CFY course means that students who choose to change branches in second year, will now be able to do so without taking an additional year.

The different engineering branches at Wits include: architecture and planning; civil and environmental engineering; chemical and metallurgical engineering; construction economics and management; electrical and information engineering; mechanical, industrial and aeronautical engineering; and mining.

Executive dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, Prof Ian Jandrell, told Wits Vuvuzela that in addition to maths and science, the new course will include communications, problem solving, understanding the engineering profession, and design.

First-years will also be expected to complete a Humanities course. “[This is] speaking to the growing need for engineers to be cognisant of their role in society right from the very start of their university career,” Jandrell said.

The CFY course will be assessed by a team of academics across all the faculty’s schools, under the oversight of the Academic Development Unit. According to Jandrell, there will be continuous assessments, dedicated test weeks after the Autumn and Spring breaks, and the final assessment at the end of the year, will be done through the submission of portfolios.

“Students whose overall result is between 45 and 49% will be invited to an oral exam, but this is the only exam for the course,” he said.

Third-year BSc metallurgic engineering student, Asakundwi Ramurafhi, said that the introduction of the CFY was an improvement on the previous years.

“The differing first year [courses] put people at a disadvantage in second year because of the differing intensities of the courses. I wish we had had a joint first year for the more difficult courses like maths to make second and third year easier,” she said.

Jandrell said that the CFY course aimed to produce a “21st century engineer” who can work across boundaries, is confident in their own abilities, and is willing to learn and serve in society.

FEATURED PHOTO: The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment is introducing a Common First Year course for all first-year engineering student.

Photo: File

JoziFM DJ’s murdered girlfriend a Witsie and secretary in engineering faculty


Flavia Rachel ‘Dolly’ Tshabalala was a secretary at Wits University. She was allegedly killed by her boyfriend, JoziFM DJ, Donald Sebolai. Photo: Facebook.

The young woman who was allegedly killed by her boyfriend, JoziFM DJ Donald Sebolai on Sunday, worked at Wits University as a secretary.

Flavia Rachel Tshabalala who worked in the Wits School of Civil Engineering, was found dead in her flat in Soweto bypolice. She was allegedly stabbed to death.

Wits Communications confirmed to Wits Vuvuzela on Tuesday that Tshabalala “worked as a senior secretary” for the university.

“Her death leaves a tremendous void and she will be dearly remembered.”

Professor Ian Jandrell, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment referred to Tshabalala as “a revered and much-appreciated staff member.”

“Her death leaves a tremendous void and she will be dearly remembered,” he said.

Tshabalala was also studying towards a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in psychology at the Wits Plus centre for part-time students.

The Independent Online reported earlier that Sebolai, a chat show host, called a friend of Tshabalala’s and admitted to killing her.

He then called her again early on Sunday morning and said that Tshabalala was “just sleeping” and her friend should come to the flat to “help wake her up”.

The friend alerted police which led to the discovery of Tshabalala’s body. Sebolai has not been seen or heard from since.