UJ celebrates outstanding achievers with the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Awards

UJ celebrates outstanding achievers with the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Awards


Publishing Date: 11/15/2019 10:00 AM

Nine academic and one support services staff at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) received the Vice-Chancellor's Distinguished Awards on Thursday evening, 14 November 2019, following their outstanding performances this year.

These accolades are annually awarded to staff members who excel in areas such as research, teaching and innovation, as well as for service beyond the call of normal duty.

On an evening celebrating University of Johannesburg's award winners, Vice Chancellor Professor Tshilidzi Marwala said the 2019 nominations recognised the university's most remarkable and inspiring individuals. 'Through their teaching, research and service, they play an important role in our community, and reflect our commitment to improving people's lives and tackling real-world problems.'

Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Awards for Teaching, Research, Innovation and Service

The 'Most Promising Young Teacher of The Year' award went to Dr Andrew Craig (Faculty of Science), and Dr Marius van Staden (Faculty of Law). 
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For Dr Craig, a teacher of first-year mathematics, learning is a personal process. He provides an enabling learning experience by valuing students' unique needs. Acutely aware of diversity, he gives students access to online, self-paced learning and assessment opportunities, an innovation that has been most successful. Importantly, his students have expressed a love for the excitement of his classroom.




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The twenty-first century calls for vibrant and relevant teaching, a challenge that Dr Van Staden has embraced with enthusiasm. He believes that 'excellent teaching needs a mix of strong, leading-edge, technology-driven teaching techniques'. Respected and applauded by his colleagues, he is described by students as inspiring, passionate, engaging and fun. 




The ‘Teacher Excellence’ award was presented to Dr Jacqueline Batchelor (Faculty of Education) and Prof Suné von Solms (Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment. 


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Dr Batchelor has long been recognised at UJ as an exceptional and inspiring teacher. She is innovative and bold, and challenges long-held assumptions, while also offering insights that enable students and staff to re-imagine their current beliefs and practices. 




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Many teachers believe that the best way for students to learn is by applying their knowledge in real-world situations. Prof Von Solms has created an active learning environment for her engineering students, allowing them to learn by doing and collaborating. Recognised as an inspirational ambassador for UJ, she is widely acknowledged by her students as a teacher 'who makes one fall in love with the surroundings'. 





The award for ‘Most Promising Young Researcher of The Year’ went to Dr Cherie Kruger (Faculty of Health Sciences) and Prof Tankiso Moloi (College of Business and Economics). 

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Dr Kruger, a researcher in the Laser Research Centre, looks at agents and drugs that identify and kill cancer cells. Over the past four years, she has co-authored 10 internationally peer-reviewed articles, a book chapter and two conference proceedings, which are all subsidy-bearing outputs. She has also presented her research at international conferences and received external research grants to support her cancer research.




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Prof Moloi has significantly contributed to the growth of the accounting research footprint in South Africa. He has helped to grow the research output in the School of Accounting as well as promoting an accounting research network in Africa and globally, through collaborative projects with the University of Lagos (Nigeria) and Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (Brazil). He has received several industry awards for his research on risk management in the public sector. 



The ‘Outstanding Researcher of The Year’ award was presented to Prof Reinout Meijboom (Faculty of Science).

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An internationally recognised catalysis researcher, he has published more than 130 articles in high-impact journals.  As an inventor, Prof Meijboom has contributed to growing UJ’s intellectual property portfolio. 




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Dr Ade-Ibijola and Dr  Marius Wait (College of Business and Economics) won the 'Innovation of the Year' award for their 'Learn As You Earn' app, a work-integrated, direct-selling app which allows students to use their smartphones or other devices to create a profile and access a range of services. In addition to generating income, the project also helps to develop entrepreneurial skills. Last year, 389 students generated a turnover of R3 million with the total commission amounting to R750 000.


Ms Goodness Ndimande, a security officer with the Protection Services Division, won the award for ‘Service Beyond the Normal Call of Duty’

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Goodness has served the UJ community with distinction. Her warm smile, courtesy and efficiency in dealing with students, staff and visitors have led to her ‘celebrity-status’ at the university. She is an inspiration to all who have the privilege of meeting or working with her.