HELTASA-CHE National Excellence in Teaching Awards 2013

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Thursday, November 28, 2013
Unisa, Muckelneuck Campus, Pretoria

The National Excellence in Teaching Awards is a project of the Council of Higher Education (CHE) in collaboration with the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA).

Below are photos taken at the event as well as short introductions to the award winners and commendees.


Award Winners: National excellence in teaching award

Anthony Collins - University of KwaZulu- Natal

Anthony worked at the University of KwaZulu Natal as a Psychology lecturer, where he taught both undergraduate and post graduate students. He has done ground-breaking work in curriculum design and teaching in Psychology, which has opened up new ways of dealing with critical social issues, including violence, trauma and consumer culture. Fundamental to his curriculum work is the question, “What is worth teaching?” This led him to develop a contextually relevant curriculum through combining psychology and critical social theory. His approach is based on Critical and Transformative Pedagogies and is highly participatory, starting with students’ own lived experiences and how these can be understood using conceptual tools from the social sciences. He believes it is vital to begin with students and their life experiences in order enable them to develop insights and skills to transform themselves and the society in which they live. He uses a blended approach, integrating contact, films, online and social media within a large class environment where student diversity is the norm. From 2014 he will be Associate Professor at Rhodes University’s Department of Journalism and Media Studies. More information on his work is available at http://ukzn.academia.edu/AnthonyCollins.

Elmarie Costandius - University of Stellenbosch

Elmarie is a senior lecturer in Visual Communication Design in the Visual Arts Department at Stellenbosch University (SU), where she teaches both undergraduate and post graduate students. She is a highly reflective practitioner who espouses a pedagogy of hope. In her programme she uses Critical Citizenship Education as a framework to work on ingrained cultural perceptions. Students have weekly contact with communities in the process of working on their projects. The activities enable students to read diverse literature, interact with communities and produce designs that reflect their core knowledge and skills in the programme. Her passion for her work has led to the formation of a multi-disciplinary critical professionalism research group on campus and a critical citizenship group with participants from other African countries. She has participated in a US teaching fellowship and in a project related to the US strategic plan to make the campus more welcoming for first years. Her publications focus on the scholarship of teaching and learning. Contact her at: elmarie@sun.ac.za

Family Medicine Team - University of Pretoria (Jannie Hugo)

The University of Pretoria’s Family Medicine Team, under the leadership of Prof Jannie Hugo, comprises university staff and doctors as well as clinical associates, registrars and support staff at various hospitals. Their practice is informed by a clear philosophy to serve the needs of the country in the 21st century. ‘The practice is your curriculum and the outcome is your test’, so practice informs theory. The team has created authentic learning opportunities for students through working with communities around Pretoria, in Mpumalanga as well as in the SADC region and the rest of Africa, establishing extensive community and municipal partnerships in the process. They have progressively moved practice ‘outward and downwards’ to the people in their communities. This approach is integrated from doctoral level to their three-year Bachelor’s in Clinical Medical Practice (BCMP) degree. In recognition of their remarkable work, in 2012 they received UP’s Education Innovation Laureate award. Information on the team and on their work (both teaching and community engagement) can be accessed at http://www.upfamilymedicine or contact jannie.hugo@up.ac.za

Award Winners: Leadership in excellent teaching

Jenni Case - University of Cape Town

Jenni is professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where she teaches undergraduate and post graduate students. She is responsible for academic development in the Faculty of Engineering, which, through her efforts, is regarded by the Faculty as part of their mainstream activities. She uses innovative techniques that are student-focused and interactive to support learning, including using technology and multimedia. She shares her successes in the use of the innovations with colleagues as part of peer-enhanced professional development. She builds students’ identities as engineers from the first year, moving from a study skills curriculum to a study and career focus, which includes inviting practicing engineers to give talks. She has been leading curriculum renewal in her department since 2009. Her work on engineering students’ learning is widely published, nationally and internationally. She also plays a leading role in the field of engineering education. She is the founder of the Centre for Research in Engineering Education, which she headed for two years, and the founding president of the South African Association for Engineering Education. In 2007 she received the UCT distinguished Teacher’s Award. Contact her at: jenni.case@uct.ac.za

Philemon Akach - University of the Free State

Philemon is a senior lecturer and Head of the Department of South African Sign Language (SASL) at the University of the Free State. He is a renowned expert in sign language. He designed and teaches the undergraduate curriculum for teaching SASL at the UFS. The curriculum and materials he developed are based on second language communicative language principles. In his teaching he involves local deaf people in class, and the students engage with the deaf community as part of community outreach activities, which provides opportunities for authentic learning. He also supervises post graduate students. His national advocacy for South African Sign Language makes him a leader in the field, both at his university and at national level. He has participated in workshops nationally and internationally, presented at conferences and published books and book chapters, including PANSALB-sponsored publications. He also engages in international research collaborations and plays a leadership role in international societies. Contact him at: akach@ufs.ac.za


Cassim Vanker - Durban University of Technology

Cassim Vanker (cassimv@dut.ac.za) is a Lecturer, software developer and researcher in Information Technology at the Durban University of Technology. He is commended for using technology as a catalyst for pedagogical change to engage students in teaching and assessment and for engaging his students in authentic activities, the world of work and communities. He has received a Faculty teaching excellence award.

Ed Jacobs - University of Stellenbosch

Ed Jacobs (epj@sun.ac.za) is a Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science at the University of Stellenbosch. He is especially commended for his work in the past 5 or 6 years, teaching in the extended degree programme, introducing a more student-centred approach with the use of the flipped classroom method and peer instruction. To read more about his work, visit http://blogs.sun.ac.za/scienceed/pagl/.

Enid Schutte - University of the Witwatersrand

Enid Schutte (enid.schutte@wits.ac.za) teaches Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand, with a focus on Neuropsychology. She teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate students. She is commended for her highly engaging undergraduate classes that have resulted in over-subscription in her Honours courses. She has received a Vice Chancellor’s award for teaching.

Michael Rowe - University of the Western Cape

Michael Rowe (Michael@realmdigital.co.za) works in the Department of Physiotherapy at the University of the Western Cape. He is commended for his innovative use of technology to engage students intensively with ideas and one another in self-directed learning. He has received a Dean’s merit award for excellence in teaching. He is well-published in the field of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. To read more about Michael, access the following: http://www.mrowe.co.za/blog/ http://twitter.com/michael_rowe https://plus.google.com/u/0/106725202975518193003/posts

Mohamed Paleker - University of Cape Town

Mohamed Paleker (mohamed.paleker@uct.ac.za) is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Cape Town, focusing mainly on the LLB students. He is commended for engaging his students using a case and problem-based approach as well as real examples and innovative techniques. He has had an impact in his field by participating in national policy and rule setting. He has received a Distinguished Teacher’s Award at UCT.

Teaching and Learning Centre Team - University of Fort Hare (Vuyo Makalima)

The Teaching and Learning Centre team of the University of Fort Hare is commended for its work in professionalizing teaching and creative critical reflective practice for lecturers through the Post-Graduate Diploma in Higher Education and Training. (Vuyo Makalima, VMakalima@ufh.ac.za)