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NWU honours outstanding lecturers

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).

Van Tonder 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. Van Tonder 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 post-graduate 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.

Van Tonder 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 Vaal Triangle 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.

Awards were presented in three categories, namely the Emerging Teaching Excellence Award (ETEA), the Teaching Excellence Award (TEA), and the Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award (DTEA).

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.

And the winners are...

Distinguished Teaching Excellence Awards

Dr Deon van Tonder, Faculty of Education

Teaching Excellence Awards

Dr Klaas Beiter, Faculty of LawDr Doret Botha, Faculty of HumanitiesMr Martin Chanza, Faculty of Economic and Management SciencesMs Naomi du Plessis, Faculty of HumanitiesDr Alcia Fourie, Faculty of Economic and Management SciencesProf Anja Franken, Faculty of Health SciencesDr Tertia Jordaan, Faculty of EducationDr Marlene Julyan, Faculty of Health SciencesDr Braam Klaasen, Faculty of LawDr Magda Kloppers, Faculty of EducationProf Hannes Knoetze, Faculty of TheologyMr Michael Laubscher, Faculty of LawMs Pelagamotse Tabea Motsilanyane, Faculty of Health SciencesDr Re-an M"uller, Faculty of Economic and Management SciencesProf Cornelie Nienaber-Rousseau, Faculty of Health SciencesMs Verushka Pelser-Carstens, Faculty of Economic and Management SciencesDr Ephrem Redda, Faculty of Economic and Management SciencesMs Cornelia Schreck, Faculty of Health SciencesMs Julia Sibanda, Faculty of Economic and Management SciencesProf Marius Smit, Faculty of EducationMs Seugnet Smit, Faculty of EducationMr Walter Uys, Faculty of Economic and Management SciencesDr CP van der Vyver, Faculty of EducationDr Deon van Tonder, Faculty of EducationDr Pieter van Zyl, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural SciencesDr Theron Weilbach, Faculty of Health SciencesProf Ch'e Weldon, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural SciencesDr Catrien Wentink, Faculty of Humanities

Emerging Teaching Excellence Awards

Prof Howard Chitimira, Faculty of LawDr Omolola Esther Fayemi, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural SciencesDr Sun'e Ferreira, Faculty of Economic and Management SciencesDr Lebo Gafane-Matemane, Faculty of Health SciencesDr Claudia Gouws, Faculty of HumanitiesDr Janien Linde, Faculty of HumanitiesDr Natasha Ravyse, Faculty of HumanitiesMs Yolanda Stevens, Faculty of Health SciencesDr Philip Venter, Faculty of Engineering