NWU Vaal Campus research focus area gets great reviews

Anjonet Jordaan -- Thu, 02/12/2015 - 16:07

NWU Vaal Campus research focus area gets great reviews

The Vaal Triangle Campus-based research focus area, UPSET, recently got a positive evaluation from an external panel of reviewers. UPSET’s research focuses on understanding and processing language in complex settings and consists of four sub-programmes: audio-visual translation, multilingualism, translation studies, and descriptive linguistics.

According the director of UPSET, Prof Susan Coetzee-van Rooy, the panel selected for this evaluation hails from Norway, Singapore and Germany, since there are no other universities in South Africa with research entities with a similar composition of sub-programme focus areas. The North-West University subjects its various research entities on the three campuses to regular external evaluations to ensure both the growth and quality of research output.

UPSET’s activities are highly relevant for South Africa, both in an educational and more extended community context, while at the same time also maintaining high levels of scientific relevance. The leadership and senior researchers serve as models and mentors for the younger researchers.

UPSET has a number of NRF-rated researchers and researchers who are good candidates to receive an NRF rating, who head up the research, while nurturing a number of junior researchers, PhD and Master’s students. MA students and graduates are mentored into a culture of publication and are beginning to produce publications that are accredited to the group.

The panel noted that UPSET’s use of state-of-the-art empirical methodologies, a number of which involve excellent technical equipment that can be used for many types of research.

At the outset, UPSET set its members the challenge of becoming the leading national centre for the study of language practice, multilingualism and the usage-based theoretical frameworks informing our research.

Their aim is to conduct research that offers solutions to practical problems, while opening up deeper theoretical perspectives. The researchers of UPSET specifically use the problems and contexts in which they work to enrich their understanding of the relationship between social and individual processes that contribute to shape language and the linguistic choices and behaviours of individual human beings.


UPSET’s publications are increasingly predominantly in ranked international journal. Of the 12 peer-reviewed articles published by top-tier researchers in 2013, six were ISI international, and two ISI national publications.

At an international conference on of UPSET’s postgraduate students, Ronel Wasserman from the sub-programme Descriptive Linguistics received an award as an emerging researcher. Another significant mark of peer recognition of UPSET is the leading role in international and national organisations – Prof Bertus van Rooy’s presidency of the International Association of World Englishes; and Prof Susan Coetzee-van Rooy’s presidency of the South African Association of Language Teachers, as well as her leading role in the editing of academic journals such as the Journal of Language Teaching.

Prof Susan Coetzee-van Rooy recently accepted the directorship of UPSET for the next three years.