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About Cree

CREE was founded in the former Faculty of Engineering – now the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment – in 1996. Its purpose was to support and promote engineering education as a viable research field at UCT and within the broader academic community. Much of the concern in the early years was the support of engineering students who had been educationally disadvantaged by the apartheid education system and had managed to gain entry to UCT but were struggling academically. As such, the focus at this stage was on teaching and learning at the individual student level.

Later on, CREE grew to incorporate researchers working in the science disciplines which brought an interdisciplinary flavour to the work of CREE and there was cross-fertilization from many fields including from chemistry education, maths education and physics education. CREE also began to reach out and work with colleagues from other universities in the region such as the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the University of the Western Cape and Stellenbosch University. An important milestone for CREE was the formulation of a position paper which was the combined effort of 20 colleagues from diverse fields and different institutions. This was published in the European Journal of Engineering Education under the title “Learning as acquiring a discursive identity through participation in a community: improving student learning in engineering education” (Allie et al. 2009).

After more than two decades of work and action, engineering education has become well-established at UCT as evidenced by peer-reviewed research output as well as the number of researchers working towards postgraduate qualifications in this area. CREE also has a strong national profile which is sustained through publications and involvement in national conferences and workshops on engineering education.

Past Directors:

  • 2015–2017: Dr Tracy Craig, previously the Academic Support Programme for Engineering at Cape Town (ASPECT), UCT; now Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Twente, Netherlands.
  • 2012–2014: Dr Kate Le Roux, Language Development Group, Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED), UCT.
  • 2009–2011: Associate Professor Brandon-Collier Reed, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UCT.
  • 2006–2008: Professor Jenni Case, previously Department of Chemical Engineering, UCT; now Department Head, Department of Engineering Education, Virginia Tech, USA.
  • 2000–2005: The late Professor Duncan Fraser, previously Department of Chemical Engineering, UCT. 
  • 1996–1999: Associate Professor Jeff Jawitz, Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, CHED, UCT