MOST PROMISING YOUNG TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Dr Michele Marié van Eck
Faculty of Law
Dr Michele van Eck joined the Department of Private Law just eighteen months ago, and in that short time, her wide ranging achievements in the classroom have been nothing short of remarkable, leaving those who work with her amazed by her energy, stamina and commitment. Not only has she developed a nuanced and insightful teaching philosophy, which shows a deep understanding of her discipline, she has also shown how she is able to transform that philosophy into innovative and lively classroom practice, which engages her students and holds their interest. Indeed, when a student assures us that she "would never miss one of Dr van Eck's classes" we have all the evidence we need of a passionate, student-centred and inspiring teacher.
Michelle uses a wide range of teaching strategies, including problem-solving activities linked to the legal practice, class debates and presentations and the critical analysis of case studies. Her lively, professionally made videos and podcasts are most notable, offering students both entertainment and clear links to the course and drawing on issues familiar to them, always with student diversity and their lived experience in mind. Her students, as their evaluations reveal, are engaged, interested, excited and eager to learn. They describe her as "kind and inclusive", "supportive", and as "inspiring focus and determination". Moreover, central to all of this is a genuine care for all her students – for their personal circumstances, their challenges and above all, for their academic success. As one student put it "Dr van Eck is a lecturer whom I truly feel is interested in her students' success".
Congratulations on this thoroughly deserved award, Michelle – the Law profession will no doubt come to recognise the quality of the students taught by you and to appreciate the work you do. We at UJ are privileged to have you as a member of staff. We look forward to following many more successes and developments in the years to come.