Extraordinary Professors at home at Optentia

Annette Willemse -- Wed, 01/20/2016 - 15:32

Extraordinary Professors at home at Optentia

The Optentia Research Focus Area on the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University is home to several Extraordinary Professors.

The latest members to be welcomed include: Prof Silvia Koller, Prof Marco Hessels and Prof Hannu Savolainen.

At the back: Prof Tinie Theron, Dr Elrie Botha, Prof Ian Rothmann and Prof Tumi Khumalo. In front are: Prof Linda du Plessis and Prof Silvia Koller


Prof Silvia Koller

Professor Silvia Koller presented her prestige lecture in the latter part of 2015 and she will collaborate in the research sub-programme - Psychosocial Well-being and Communal Thriving, led by Prof Tumi Khumalo.

She is a full Professor and Chair of the Centre for Psychological Studies of At Risk Youth and Families in the Department of Psychology at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. In addition to numerous recognitions and awards, and journal editorial positions she has held, she serves on the Executive Committee of the International Society for Research in Behavioural Development (ISSBD) and on the Board of International Applied Psychology (IAAP). Her research focuses primarily on positive developmental and applied psychology, ecological development, children’s rights, resilience, and pro-social moral development. She is committed to building capacity among youth, and fostering young people’s awareness of their human rights.

Prof Marco Hessels

Professor Hessels is an associate Professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. His areas of specialization include dynamic assessment, learning potential, intellectual disabilities and metacognition. In this regard, Prof Hessels have published 72 scientific articles.

The Optentia Research Focus Area appointed Prof Hessels to support the sub-programme – Holistic Learner Development in Diverse Contexts, as led by Prof Mary Grosser.  Given Prof Hessels’s specialization in dynamic assessment of intelligence with people with intellectual disabilities or learning difficulties, meta-cognitive intervention with children with disabilities or learning difficulties, and social participation of people with disabilities, he will make a significant contribution to strengthen the research in this particular sub-programme.

Prof Hannu Savolainen

Professor Hannu Savolainen is a Professor of special education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland. He is a Member of the Finnish National Commission for UNESCO and a member of the Research Council for Culture and Society of Finland.

He has published more than 40 scientific articles – many of the articles have been cited more than 50 times.  Prof Savolainen is an expert on quantitative research and is respected worldwide for his knowledge and scholarly contributions to the field of inclusive education.