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Renee Smit

About Renee

Renee is an Academic Development Lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, UCT.

Research Focus

Renee holds an M.Sc in Science Education from the University of the Witwatersrand. She is currently busy with a PhD in engineering education. Her interest is in the differences in knowledge structures between disciplines – in the case of her PhD work between engineering sciences and the pure sciences. She is using the work of Basil Bernstein as a theoretical framework for this, and the empirical work is in the thermodynamics curriculum in chemistry, physics, mechanical engineering and chemical engineering. Flowing from this, she has also developed an interest in the philosophy of the engineering sciences and technology. Other research interests include academic development work: she has done some work on the role of the Academic Development Lecturers in the engineering faculty at UCT, and on challenging deficit thinking when working in an environment where educational diversity in student background presents a challenge.

Selected Publications

  • Smit, R. (2012) The recontextualisation of thermodynamics knowledge into science and engineering curricula: the effect of regionalisation. Paper presented at 7th Basil Bernstein Symposium, 27-30 June 2012. Aix-en-Provence, France.
  • Smit, R. (2012). Engineering science and pure science: do disciplinary differences matter in engineering education? Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education, 3-5 December 2012. Melbourne, Australia: AAEE.
  • Smit, R. (2012). Towards a clearer understanding of student disadvantage in higher education: problematising deficit thinking, Higher Education Research & Development. 31(3). p. 369-380.
  • Smit, R., Wolmarans, N. (2010). Student voice in ‘the transition to university’ problem. Paper presented at Academy of Science of South Africa’s (ASSAf) STEM ‘Mind the Gap’ Forum, 19 October 2010, Cape Town.
  • Smit, R.  (2010) Doctoral supervision: facilitating access to a research community of practice? African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and technology Education. Vol. 14 (2), p. 96-109.