During a virtual ceremony on 25 November the North-West University (NWU) acknowledged staff for their exceptional contributions to teaching and learning, research and community engagement.
These torchbearers were honoured during the first ever NWU Excellence Awards ceremony. The event, which was streamed online, brought staff in the three key areas of the university together in a fresh new awards format, replacing the separate functions that used to be held.
NWU celebrates its best-of-the-best in teaching and learning
The NWU was ranked as one of the universities in South Africa with the best teaching and learning performance. Leading lecturers of 2021 were acknowledged for their work in taking teaching and learning to higher levels in six brand-new award categories.
Dr Sune van der Linde of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Veruschka Carstens-Pelser of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences were honoured with the University Teaching Excellence Award.
The Online Teaching Award went to Dr Kristien Andrianatos, while André Gouws received the Teaching with Information and Communication Technology Award. They are both from the Faculty of Humanities. Dr Merna Meyer of the Faculty of Education received the Innovation in Teaching and Learning Award.
Skyler Jade Pedro (Faculty of Education), Erika Potgieter (Faculty of Education), Wayde Percival Douglas (Faculty of Health Sciences) and Duncan Peter Sutcliffe (Faculty of Health Sciences) received the Novice Teacher Award.
The winners of the Faculty Teaching Award will be announced at a later date.
Community engagement champions receive their due
Staff were recognised in seven categories for their active contributions to the NWU’s community engagement efforts. For the first time a distinction was made between novice and established academics. Support staff and outstanding community partners also received recognition.
Dr Jess Auerbach and Prof Leenta Grobler received the Engaged Teaching and Learning Award as a Novice awardee and an Established awardee respectively.
Prof Petra Bester, Dr Christi Niesing and Karlien van Schalkwyk from the Faculty of Health Sciences received the Engaged Research and Innovation Award for their Wellness Project and the Sustainable Health and Well-being Project.
The Outreach with Engaged Teaching and Learning Award, recognising the best in-service learning directed at specific community needs, went to Prof Daleen Koen, Mianda Erasmus and Prof Vicki Koen for the Respect your SOLE project. They are from the Faculty of Health Sciences.
The Volunteerism and Outreach Award, which includes all additional services or activities performed by staff and students to assist communities in need (especially the local communities in which the university’s campuses are based), went to Dr Ankit Katrodia (Novice Award) from the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences for various partnerships with the community and schools.
The recipients in the Established category of this award were Prof LJ Grobler, Prof Leenta Grobler and Danie Vorster from the Faculty of Engineering for the Nature Conservation and Food Distribution Project.
Prof Anna-Marie Pelser from the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences also received the award in the Established category for the outreach to Phakisang Primary School’s Grade R class, the AngelCats Heaven Project, the Bottle of Hope Project and the Rotarus Old Age Home Project.
Hannes du Toit from the Faculty of Engineering, together with the Student Representative Council, received the award in the Support Staff Volunteerism and Outreach category for the Engenius Kids Project.
NWU specialists are often approached to share their expertise on various matters to empower people or solve problems. In this regard the Sharing of Expertise Award was presented to Ncobile Nkosi (Novice Award) from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences for several community engagement activities at various high schools, and to Adv René Koraan (Established Award) from the Faculty of Law for the NWU-Juta Mock Trial Competition.
The Scholarship of Engagement Award recognising collaboration between academics and individuals outside academia was given to the Potchefstroom Law Clinic and the Mahikeng Law Clinic of the Faculty of Law. Prof Pieter Kruger from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Dr Aaron Tshidzumba from the Faculty of Humanities received awards for, respectively, enhancing mental health nationally and internationally, and contributing to digital skills development.
Wilna Store at Curro Academy Mahikeng and Trevor Rammitlwa, chief executive officer of NEMISA, respectively received the Outstanding Community Partnership Award for the Respect your SOLE project and for the NWU COLAB-E-AGRO-TOURISM project.
Researchers and innovators recognised for excellence
For the fourth consecutive year Prof Marius Nel of the Faculty of Theology took home the coveted title of Most Productive Senior Researcher, while Dr Jess Auerbach of the Faculty of Humanities was named Most Productive Junior Researcher.
Dr Martani Lombard of the Faculty of Health received recognition as winner of the Malaspina International Scholar Award.
Prof Piet Koornhof and Jana Mathee of the Faculty of Humanities received the Creative Outputs Award.
Students Jacques Beukes of the Faculty of Engineering, Wessel du Toit of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Jealandri van der Westhuizen of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences were recipients of the Vice-Chancellor’s Medal. Willem Landman of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences took home an S2A3 bronze medal for original research at master’s-degree level.
Thirty-four researchers and academics were celebrated for receiving National Research Foundation (NRF) ratings. (Click here to see the full list: https://www.nwu.ac.za/sites/www.nwu.ac.za/files/files/i-news/electronic_newsletters/From-VC/2021/VCExcellence-awards-2021-withoutlink.html)
In congratulating the winners, Prof Dan Kgwadi, principal and vice-chancellor of the NWU, said the university is proud of all the award recipients for their exceptional contributions in making the university what it is. “We are very proud of the NWU’s performance in the sector with regard to our rankings and ratings, locally and internationally.”
To watch the awards ceremony, please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MdSC1-7-ik