Human Kinetics and Ergonomics
Welcome to the Department of Human Kinetics and Ergonomics!
HKE is a unique subject in southern Africa studying the Human Factor in a variety of contexts including: work life, sport and activities of daily living. We currently teach +/- 180 undergraduate students in HKE as well as 40 postgraduate (Honours, Masters and PhD) students. Our degrees are recognised by top universities all over the world and our graduates are requested by local and international companies.
2013 Academic Year Information
Welcome to the 2013 academic year. We look forward to a productive year of teaching and research. Below are several documents (in pdf format) to help you for the upcoming academic year:
Please feel free to contact us any time for advice about subject combinations and other queries you may have. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 046 603 8471 or visit us at the HKE department.
Robert Jones wins award for best MSc at Rhodes
Mr Robert Jones who is currently registered for a PhD in the HKE department has been awarded the S2A3 bronze medal from the Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science. This award is made to the top science graduate at the masters level at Rhodes University, a prestigious award for original research. Mr Jones thesis, entitled "THE INFLUENCE OF SOCCER-SPECIFIC FATIGUE ON THE RISK OF THIGH INJURIES IN AMATEUR BLACK AFRICAN PLAYERS" was awarded with distinction and with no corrections. One of the external examiners commented that in 28 years of examining postgraudate research this is the first time that he is awarded a degree with no corrections, high praise for Mr Jones. He will be awarded the bronze medal at the Vice Chanellor's luncheon on the Saturday of the graduation weekend. The department would like to congratulate Rob on an outstanding thesis.
Bumper MSc Graduation for the department
The 2013 graduation is a special one for the HKE department with a total of 10 students graduating with Master of Science (MSc) degrees. With the departments combined focus on sports science and ergonomics and an increased effort to secure research funding by the new Head of Department, Dr Candice Christie, the department has seen an exponential increase in postgraduate numbers. The department now has in excess of 40 postgraduate students and an unprecedented 7 PhD students.
MSc graduates this year include Lee Pote, Robert Jones, David Goble, Tyron Louw, Janice Korte, Caley Chaplin, Sethunya Tau, Ntombi Ndaki, Gareth Barford and Megan Sunshine. The department would like to congratulate all of them and wish them all the best for the future. A special mention must be made of Tyron Louw, Caley Chaplin and Robert Jones who have been awarded their degrees with distinction.
Welcome to Professor Na Jin Seo
The HKE department would like to welcome Professor Na Jin Seo, who will be joining the department for a 4 month fellowship. Professor Seo is from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and you can view her research profile at: https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/seon/www/.
Ergonomics MSc student organizes TEDx event
Tyron Louw a MSc student in the Human Kinetics and Ergonomics department at Rhodes University recently organized a TEDx event hosted at the Box Theatre at Rhodes. TEDx is an independently organized TED event, which is all about the sharing of ideas relating to Technology, Entertainment, Education and Design.
Tyron welcoming the guests to the TEDxRhodesU event.
Tyron was the curator of the event and he was able to put together an amazing group of 16 speakers for the event from an eclectic mix of backgrounds from academics to political commentators. Some of the themes for the day included the sharing of inspirational ideas on how to resolve the education 'crisis' in South Africa and also how to ensure entrepreneurial success. One of the best aspects of the TED initiatives is that the videos are placed onto the internet after the event for the general public to watch. If you are interested in them pleases follow the links below:
TEDxRhodesU facebook page
The HKE department would like to congratulate Tyron on putting together an amazing programme for the event. Student initiatives like this that are exceptionally well run demonstrate that the future of the country is in good hands.
HKE Department hosts ESSA/DoL workshop
The HKE department recently hosted a workshop run by the Ergonomics Society of South Africa (ESSA) for the department of labour. The South African occupational health and safety act states that companies need to consider ergonomics in the design of their work environments, however to date the safety inspectors have not been fully informed in terms of what ergonomics is. Consequently ESSA, under the guidance of Andrew Todd the chairman of the society and a staff member in the HKE department put together a two day workshop for 30 of the department of labour's inspectors from around the country. The purpose of the workshop was to ensure that the inspectors are better able to assess whether or not companies are compliant in terms of ergonomics. Two facilitate this, guest speakers were brought into the HKE department from around the country to discuss their particular areas of expertise. Staff members in the department were also heavily involved in the programme with Dr Christie, Prof Goebel and Mr Todd all making meaningful contributions over the two days of the workshop.
The department of labour has now committed to furthering the relationship between ESSA and the inspectorate. This is very good news for ergonomics in South Africa and for the current postgraduate students in the department as it is likely to increase the demand of ergonomists in South Africa.
International Ergonomics Association council meeting and triennial congress
The International Ergonomics Association (IEA) recently held their annual council meeting and the triennial congress in Recife, Brazil. Andrew Todd a lecturer in the department and the current Chairman of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa (ESSA) attended both of these important meetings. At the council meeting, he represented ESSA for all of the discussions relating to the future of ergonomics as a professional on a global scale. This is particularly important considering the ESSA is one of only two Ergonomics societies affiliated with the international body. Andrew noted that of particular interest was the divergent needs of the developed societies (who are struggling with an aging workforce) and the deveoping societies (who are battling the cycle of disease). At this meeting the council also voted in the new IEA executive.
During the Congress itself, Andrew presented two papers, one on a overview of Ergonomics in South Africa and another on the physiological responses to a variety of pushing and pulling tasks evident in industry worldwide. The congress was attended by over 800 international speakers and hosted most of the top academics from around the world. Andrew was also a chair for one of the sessions on company case studies.
In a move to try and keep the ESSA members up to date with what was happening at both the council meeting and the congress, Andrew ran a blog of events which you can still catch up on at the ESSA website: IEA council and congress report.
Department of labour, Ergonomics and the Occupational Health and Safety Act
Andrew Todd, the Ergonomics Society of South Africa chairman was invited recently to speak at the South African Department of Labour international conference on occupational health and safety. This was an important step for ergonomics in the country as it is imperative that the government recognise the important role the discipline can play in improving productivity and reducing occupationally related injuries.
At the conference, Andrew spoke to around 400 members of government and industry about the key role ergonomics, can and should, be playing within South African industry. The talk was well received and good discussions were held with the department of labour. They (department of labour) has committed to hosting two further discussions/talks on ergonomics during the course of the year. This is very encouraging and bodes well for the growth of ergonomics not only nationally but also at Rhodes University, who currently are the only university offering full time studies in Ergonomics.
Office ergonomics is imperative in ensuring comfort and productivity
Andrew Todd, a lecturer in the HKE department was recently interviewed for the Sunday Times (25th of September) regarding office ergonomics. This branch of ergonomics is involved in ensuring that there is a match between the human user and the office environment they are using. In modern working environments we often sit for extended periods of time without moving, consequently there has been an increase in the number of complaints coming from, in particular, computer workstation users. The Sunday Times article highlighted ways in which ergonomics can be used to reduce the strain placed on the body, with factors such as the appropriate placement of the screen, keyboard and mouse being discussed. Further factors such as the design of the chair were also highlighted in the article.
This is an important stepping in educating the general public about the benefits of implementing sound ergonomics principles. There is significant literature available demonstrating not only the benefits in terms of discomfort but also productivity. However, the South African public still remains unaware of these benefits, thus the mention of ergonomics in a leading weekend paper is a boost to our discipline.
Forging a link between Ergonomics and Occupational Hygiene in South Africa
Andrew Todd recently attended the South African Institute of Occupational Hygiene at the Lesedi Cultural Village in Johannesburg as a guest speaker. As the chairman of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa (ESSA - www.ergonomicssa.com) Andrew spoke about the various ergonomics assessment tools available for the effective analysis of the comparability between the human operator and the task within the work environment. He also highlight the various roles of the numerous occupations involved in occupational health and in ensuring that ergonomics is successfully implemented within the South African context. This was followed by constructive discussions on the specific roles of the ergonomist and occupational hygiene specialist within occupational health. Such discussions are imperative in improving working conditions within South Africa and also to improve productivity of industry. The conference therefore facilitated a closer working relationship between ergonomics and SAIOH an important step in getting ergonomics further recognition within the South African industrial setting.
Searching for new horizons in Sports Science in the home of the Beatles
Dr Candice Christie and Mathew Kirkland, an ex Honours student of the department recently attended16th Annual Congress of the European College of Sports Science, held from the 6th to 9th July 2011 in Liverpool in the United Kingdom. The conference is held annually by a different host country in Europe. The conference previous to this was in Turkey and the one previous to that, Norway. The next conference is in Belgium. It is a large conference with over 2500 delegates from 60 different countries covering a wide range of sports science/medicine topics. Two presentations were made at the congress (presenters underlined):
Christie CJ and Pengelly R (2011). Does heart rate feedback influence ratings of perceived effort and performance time during competitive cycling?
Kirkland M and Christie CJ (2011). Alterations in lower extremity muscle function during squash play.
While attending the conference, also Dr Christie discussed challenges in the current pacing research in the HKE department with researchers from the Australian Institute of Sport regarding. In addition to the congress, Dr Christie also had the opportunity to visit the School of Health and Performance, at Dublin City University, in Ireland where she was shown around the department and discussed possible future collaborations.
Abstracts from the congress were published in book of abstracts (ISBN: 978-09568903-0-6) while a paper on Mathew’s research is nearly ready for publication in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. For more information on the congress, please visit http://www.ecss-congress.eu/2011/
Feeling the heat in India
Dr Candice Christie and three MSc students, Bronwyn Sheppard, Lee Pote and Gareth Barford recently attended the 4th World Congress of Science and Medicine in Cricket, held between the 31 March and 01 April 2011, in Chandigarh, India. The conference is held every 4 years and coincides with the World Cup Cricket tournament. “Owing to the sparse research surrounding the sport of cricket, this gathering offers those doing research in field to congregate to share knowledge and to establish collaborations” commented Dr Christie. As well as attending the meeting, two oral presentations were made (presenters underlined):
Christie CJ, Barford G and Sheppard B (2011). Concentric and eccentric strength changes in the lower limb musculature following repeated sprints between the wickets.
Christie CJ, Pote L and Sheppard B (2011). Changes in physiological and perceptual responses over time during a simulated high scoring batting work bout.
The conference also provided the opportunity for discussions of collaborations with West Indian Cricket through their medical doctor and researcher Dr Mansingh as well as with the strength and conditioning coach from the New Zealand cricket team. Abstracts from the meeting were published in a proceedings (no ISBN) which is available from Dr Christie in hard copy format. As regards journal submission, a combination of the two presentations is in the final stages for submission to the Journal of Sports Sciences. Furthermore, a book chapter has been written on request for publication in the book: Sports Medicine and Sports Injuries (ISBN 979-953-307-096-3) edited by Professor Zaslav from Virginia University, USA. For more information on the conference please visit http://cricketworldcongress.com/index2.php. The next conference will be held in Australia in 2015.
HKE staff member receives research funding from the MRC
Dr Candice Christie, a senior lecturer in the HKE department has received a substantial amount of funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) for work into the health profile of post-menopausal South African women. The value of the award is R 145 639 per year for the next three years, a total amount of R 436 917
The title of the project is ‘The effects of progressive resistance training on the blood lipid profile of post-menopausal women’. The main objective of the research is to establish whether exercise therapy, in the form of chronic, progressive resistance training would be a more effective treatment for hypercholesterolemia in post-menopausal women than either a combined therapy of resistance training plus HRT or just HRT in isolation. The immediate student involved in the project is Janet Viljoen (PhD) but the project funding will continue past her PhD with any other students interested in the project under Dr Christie's supervision.