Prof Marius Stander has been involved in teaching industrial psychology master’s students at the North-West University (NWU) for the past 37 years, which is a source of great pride for him.
Prof Stander joined the NWU in 1979 as a student and worked his way up to become a respected full professor. "I started teaching master’s students before my own master's graduation. I taught people much older than me, mostly human resources executives or senior managers. The average class age was about 15 years older than me, which was very intimidating," recalls Prof Stander, the first lecturer at the Vanderbijpark Campus to receive a teaching award.
He is a valuable part of the School of Industrial Psychology and Human Resource Management and has extensive experience in research, teaching, learning and community engagement.
"I am passionate about developing people, mentoring, coaching, and assessing leadership potential. I am grateful for the opportunities the university has provided me," he says. “I am honoured to have students who are currently school directors at various universities, excellent entrepreneurs and successful global corporate executives.”
He says he feels privileged to have witnessed the growth of the campus from a small institution to its present size.
"I witnessed many significant events. When I started, only a handful of buildings existed. I had the privilege of designing the floor plan of one of the buildings now part of the Faculty for Economic and Management Sciences. I also helped to establish the rugby club and the first Black Management Forum (BMF) student chapter," he recalls.
A man of many talents
Prof Stander is a C2-rated researcher with the National Research Foundation, a life-long honorary member of the Society for Industrial Organisational Psychology of South Africa, and a registered industrial psychologist, mentor and master human resource practitioner with the South African Board for People Practices. Over the years, he has also been actively involved with various forums and groups, including being a member of the NWU Institutional Forum and executive committee member of the NWU Convocation.
To top it off, he started doing consultation work in 1985 and gained valuable experience working with universities and corporations. “Over the years, I have had the privilege of undertaking consultancy work in various countries and regions, including the USA, Europe, Singapore, Middle East, China and the rest of Africa," he shares.
He plans to remain involved in academia and the industry and says he does not believe in the concept of retirement. "Retirement can be daunting, and it's worth continuing if you find purpose and joy in your work. Globally, and in South Africa, where many people remain sharp in their later years, retiring may seem outdated," he shares.
In addition to his academic achievements, Prof Stander has also been a loving and committed spouse to his wife, Annatjie whom he met in 1979 at the NWU. Annatjie is currently a lecturer in accounting. They have been happily married for four decades and have two children, also industrial psychologists, and a daughter-in-law specialising in human resource management. Between the five family members, they have obtained 18 degrees from the NWU!
Prof Stander, known as "Marius Networking", believes life is about relationships. He has built many lasting relationships over the years, including with a cleaning lady named Rebecca, whom he and his wife met at university 44 years ago and still keep in touch with today. Rebecca is now 90 years old.
"I met Rebecca as a young man. She introduced me to my wife and headhunted a lady who worked with us for almost three decades. Rebecca taught me valuable life skills and the importance of relationships. I will always be grateful for the lessons she imparted."
Prof Marius Stander is part of the NWU’s DNA.