Dean makes history

Issued by North West University
North-West, Jun 18, 2019

It was an enormous honour for the Faculty of Engineering at the North-West University (NWU) to inaugurate its executive dean as the first female professor of this faculty.

Prof Liezl van Dyk, an industrial engineer, recently delivered her inaugural address for a full professorship to an audience of about 120 guests during a prestige event.

In her address on the fourth industrial revolution, she provided an overview of the history of several industrial revolutions the world has experienced so far, and the development that has taken place over several decades up to where we stand at the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution today.

As a sign of emotional support and congratulation to this former director of the School of Industrial Engineering, all the staff members of the school attended Prof Van Dyk's inaugural address. Not only was this school established under her guidance in 2017, but she is also the first person from this school to be promoted to professor.

The NWU Puk Choir brought the house down when they performed the NWU's University Anthem, and three other works, from the first floor of the engineering building. The acoustics of this building seem to have been designed especially for choir performances, because the sounds heard in the foyer of this building were superb!

Prof Van Dyk's spouse, Prof Tobie van Dyk, their children, Karla and Tobias, her relatives and friends, were also part of the audience. The faculty management and two of the NWU's deputy vice-chancellors also congratulated her on what is surely the biggest milestone in an academic's career.

"This is another occasion on which we experienced what the essence of the NWU involves. Congratulations to you, Prof Liezl. We look forward to experiencing your leadership skills at the School of Industrial Engineering, in the faculty and the professional industry," said Prof Linda du Plessis, deputy vice-chancellor for planning and campus operations in Vanderbijlpark.

In her career thus far, Prof Van Dyk has been the author and co-author of 39 locally and internationally published academic articles, chapters and congress papers. She has been the supervisor of 12 completed PhD and MEng studies and has offered supervision to more than 60 BEng mini-dissertations.

Currently, she is the supervisor of three PhD students and has delivered more than 20 papers at local and international congresses. Prof Van Dyk serves her academic and professional community as, among other things, assessor, external examiner and mentor to candidate professional engineers.

"My mission, in line with that of the faculty and the NWU, is to change the world into a better place by training engineers who want to and can make a difference. Through my research and involvement in the professional industry, I also want to integrate and optimise systems and processes that will also contribute to a better life for all," Prof Van Dyk said.

During her acknowledgement speech she thanked her husband and two children, four parents and the staff of the Faculty of Engineering in particular. "But all the honour goes to God, who is always in control, also in the timing of the seasons, governments and even industrial revolutions," she said.