Prof Tinie Theron appointed as acting vice-rector

Annette Willemse -- Sat, 01/16/2016 - 12:26

Prof Tinie Theron appointed as acting vice-rector

The name Tinie Theron has become synonymous with the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal) – first as a professor in Education Management, then as executive dean of the Faculty of Humanities and more recently as the acting vice-rector.


Prof Tinie Theron Prof Tinie Theron during a graduation ceremony


Professor Theron’s affiliation with the Campus dates back to 1 January 1988 when he was appointed as a professor in Education Management. At that time the Campus was still small enough for all staff members to enjoy tea together and exchange ideas on a daily basis and the student body comprised of approximately 1 000 students. Much has happened since those early days – Prof Theron moved through the ranks and became the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and a valued member of the Vaal Management Committee (VMC), and as from 15 January 2016 he will step into the forefront as the acting Vice-Rector of the Campus.

More about Prof Tinie Theron

As a farm boy, the Basotho called him “the one who plays with rocks”. Even today, Prof Theron loves everything related to nature but has very little interest in materialism and pretentiousness. This world view grew with him in the wide open spaces of the North-Eastern Free State. He and his brother and two sisters were raised on a farm in the Memel district and attended a one-teacher school.

“Some of my fondest memories are of the simplicity of my childhood years and of spending time with the family on cold winter evenings around the black stove in the kitchen,” he says. It is in this secure environment that his mother gave him advice that he remembers to this day. “She told me not to measure myself against other people – you compete with yourself. She also told me me that doing your best every day is good enough. Also, never give up and remember that life is what you make of it.”

This advice has guided him throughout his 28 years on the Vaal Triangle Campus.

Big changes

The Campus has change significantly since his appointment, especially in size and demographics. In 1988, there were approximately 1 000 students on Campus whereas today the NWU Vaal boasts with a student populace of more than 7 000. Today the Campus is also regarded as a metropolitan hub of cultural diversity.  The academic culture has also changed.

According to Prof Theron the emphasis used to be solely on the quality of teaching, whereas today a good balance between teaching-learning and research is maintained.

As the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Prof Theron lead a team of dedicated and motivated staff members and ensured high-quality teaching-learning activities whilst fostering a vibrant research culture.

Developing potential

Professor Theron takes pleasure in supporting colleagues on different levels, so that they can realize their full potential and, at the same time, help the University to achieve its objectives. And what are the challenges in his work? “There are many, but if I have to pick three, they are: always to be objective, to ensure that everybody is treated fairly, and to increase academic productivity without losing sight of the person.”

As a farm boy he built with rocks, but as a professor he builds with knowledge. Brick by brick he lays the foundation on which students and staff can further develop their careers.