Werner Nell is a senior lecturer in the School of Behavioural Sciences at the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University. He started his academic career as a student assistant in Sociology, in 1996. He was appointed as a part-time lecturer in 1999, and subsequently accepted a full-time position as senior lecturer in Sociology in 2004 where he has worked ever since. Werner obtained his PhD in Sociology in 2005 at the NWU, and completed a Master’s degree in Positive Psychology at the same institution in 2014.
Werner’s main research field is the study of psycho-social well-being, especially in relation to religion and spirituality, as well as the natural environment. He is particularly interested in the ways in which various aspects of human well-being (such as subjective well-being, hope, meaning in life, etc.) are impacted by and related to religion, spirituality and the environment. He has also conducted several studies on communal well-being in various parts of South Africa. These include large scale studies of psycho-social well-being and living conditions of mineworkers in the North-West Province; a study of community well-being in the extreme northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal; and an investigation of community well-being and human-park interaction among communities adjacent to Mokala National Park in the Northern Cape province.
Werner has successfully supervised several post-graduate Master’s and PhD students on a variety of social-science topics. He is also responsible for the creation and teaching of the research component of the postgraduate programmes within the subject group sociology. Werner is passionate about teaching research methodology, and received an Institutional Teaching Excellence Award for best lecturer at the NWU-Vaal campus in 2008.