NWU appoints new principal and vice-chancellor
The North-West University (NWU) Council is proud to announce the appointment of alumnus Dr Bismark Tyobeka as its new principal and vice-chancellor.
Dr Tyobeka, who is recognised as one of the leading nuclear power experts in the world, will steer the NWU for the next five years, commencing on 1 June 2022. He follows in the footsteps of Prof Dan Kgwadi, who left the employment of the NWU at the end of January 2022.
The appointment was confirmed on 17 March 2022 after Council considered an excellent group of applicants. “We believe Dr Tyobeka, a seasoned governance champion, is the ideal candidate to lead the NWU to new successes,” said Bert Sorgdrager, acting chairperson of the NWU Council.
He has had a long and fruitful association with his alma mater since starting with his studies at the former University of North-West in the 90s.
Dr Tyobeka was elected fifth chairperson of the NWU Council in 2017 and reappointed for a second term in November 2020. Dr Tyobeka has been a member of the NWU Council since November 2014.
As a member of the NWU Council, he successfully oversaw the major restructuring of the NWU to a unitary model to accelerate institutional transformation.
He was also honoured with an NWU Alumni Award of Excellence in 2013, for his personal and career achievements, in particular for his significant contribution to nuclear science across the world.
Illustrious career in science
Dr Tyobeka has held the position of CEO of the National Nuclear Regulator of South Africa since 2013, and plays a major role in various initiatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Despite his international prominence, among others: serving in the IAEA’s International Advisory Committees on Nuclear Safety (INSAG) and being the vice-chairman of the International Nuclear Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF), as well as serving as the vice-chairman of the Forum for Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa (FNRBA), he has not forgotten his roots and retained strong contact with the university and with many of its former students who now work in various fields, including the nuclear power industry in South Africa.
An avid student and scientist, he obtained the degrees BSc (Ed) (1999) and MSc (2001) at the former University of North West, and in 2004 another master's degree in Nuclear Engineering at Penn State University in the USA.
In 2005, he obtained a master's degree in project management at the Colorado Technical University in the USA, and in 2007, his PhD in Nuclear Engineering at Penn State University.
Prior to his appointment as CEO of the National Nuclear Regulator of South Africa in 2013, Dr Tyobeka was working as a nuclear engineer at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Austria. From 2002 to 2007, he worked at the Penn State University as senior reactor physicist, and from 2000 to 2002 he held the same position at Eskom.
Dr Tyobeka has been author and co-author of several academic articles and has travelled all over the world to present papers at international conferences.
Sorgdrager concluded by congratulating Dr Tyobeka on behalf of Council on his appointment and indicated that Council is looking forward to this new chapter of the NWU’s history being ushered in with him at the helm.