The North-West University (NWU) celebrated its best-of-the-best lecturers during its Teaching Excellence Awards ceremony (TEA). This annual event took place on 12 March at the Snowflake venue in Potchefstroom.
Dr Deon van Tonder of the Faculty of Education received the coveted Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award (DTEA).
Deon is the deputy-director of the School for Commerce and Social Studies in Education and a senior lecturer. His research focuses on the professional development of educators. Deon is involved in curriculum development of the BEd in Further Education and Training, Honours in Economic Management Sciences in Education, and teaching and learning for under- and postgraduate students
His teaching philosophy is grounded in social constructivism, where learning is based on student-centred learning: “As lecturer and subject expert I support the learning process as a facilitator, and not merely as an instrument of knowledge transfer.”
He believes successful teaching and learning are an outcome of shared efforts in a teaching and learning collaboration, with both the student and the lecturer actively involved in the learning process.
Deon says he continually examines his teaching techniques to become a more effective lecturer by integrating technology and adapting strategies to address the needs of an increasingly diverse student generation.
Prof Linda du Plessis, vice-principal and deputy vice-chancellor for planning and Vanderbijlpark Campus operations applauded the winners. “Teaching is a special calling which enables the transmission of knowledge and inspires students. It is a special privilege to lead someone to experience something new and develop their own critical thinking and creativity. Therefore when we recognise excellence in teaching we are doing much more than motivating academics to achieve a special standard. Our celebration is also a way of inspiring others to appreciate what it takes to achieve excellence.”
More about the awards
The awards are made to show appreciation to lecturers for their commitment and dedication to student success, and also to encourage academics to develop as university teachers in the field of teaching and learning.
Thirty-seven academics received awards this year. The Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and the Faculty of Health Sciences produced the most winners overall with eight awards each, followed by the Faculty of Education with seven awards.
What the different categories are about
The ETEA rewards emerging lecturers for excellent teaching. It recognises emerging lecturers who display a long-term vision for their professional and career development by means of exceptional and proven achievement towards innovation in teaching and learning in their field.
The TEA is awarded to established lecturers who boast exceptional and proven achievements in teaching excellence. They use innovative approaches to facilitate learning that inspires and challenges students.
The DTEA is a commendation in the TEA category. It endorses excellence and commends distinguished scholars for leadership and achievement in the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Participants must comply with at least 80% of the criteria in the individual categories. They have to submit a reflective portfolio as evidence of their teaching and learning activities and teaching philosophy. At least two learning opportunities are also observed, one of which is not announced beforehand.
TEA participants are also expected to make presentations at an annual campus or faculty colloquium on teaching and learning.
The reflective portfolios of DTEA winners are moderated internally and externally.
Distinguished Teaching Excellence Awards
Dr Deon van Tonder, Faculty of Education
Teaching Excellence Awards
Dr Klaas Beiter, Faculty of Law
Dr Doret Botha, Faculty of Humanities
Mr Martin Chanza, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences
Ms Naomi du Plessis, Faculty of Humanities
Dr Alcia Fourie, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences
Prof Anja Franken, Faculty of Health Sciences
Dr Tertia Jordaan, Faculty of Education
Dr Marlene Julyan, Faculty of Health Sciences
Dr Braam Klaasen, Faculty of Law
Dr Magda Kloppers, Faculty of Education
Prof Hannes Knoetze, Faculty of Theology
Mr Michael Laubscher, Faculty of Law
Ms Pelagamotse Tabea Motsilanyane, Faculty of Health Sciences
Dr Re-an Müller, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences
Prof Cornelie Nienaber-Rousseau, Faculty of Health Sciences
Ms Verushka Pelser-Carstens, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences
Dr Ephrem Redda, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences
Ms Cornelia Schreck, Faculty of Health Sciences
Ms Julia Sibanda, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences
Prof Marius Smit, Faculty of Education
Ms Seugnet Smit, Faculty of Education
Mr Walter Uys, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences
Dr CP van der Vyver, Faculty of Education
Dr Deon van Tonder, Faculty of Education
Dr Pieter van Zyl, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Dr Theron Weilbach, Faculty of Health Sciences
Prof Ché Weldon, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Dr Catrien Wentink, Faculty of Humanities
Emerging Teaching Excellence Awards
Prof Howard Chitimira, Faculty of Law
Dr Omolola Esther Fayemi, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Dr Suné Ferreira, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences
Dr Lebo Gafane-Matemane, Faculty of Health Sciences
Dr Claudia Gouws, Faculty of Humanities
Dr Janien Linde, Faculty of Humanities
Dr Natasha Ravyse, Faculty of Humanities
Ms Yolanda Stevens, Faculty of Health Sciences
Dr Philip Venter, Faculty of Engineering
This year’s recipient of the NWU’s Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award is Dr Deon van Tonder. He was honoured during the NWU’s Teaching Excellence Awards ceremony.