Distinguished Professor Heila Lotz-Sisitka

Distinguished Professor Heila Lotz-Sisitka

Distinguished Professor and
SARChI Chair: Global Change and Social Learning Systems

Contact details: 
Phone+27(46) 603 8390
Email: h.lotz-sisitka@ru.ac.za

B.Prim Ed (JP) (University of Port Elizabeth), B.Ed (Hons), D.Ed (University of Stellenbosch)

Short Biography: 

Professor Heila Lotz-Sisitka started her professional life as a Grade 1 teacher. She now holds a Tier 1 South African National Research Foundation/Department of Science and Technology Chair in Global Change and Social Learning Systems, and is a Distinguished Research Professor at Rhodes University.

Her Chair is based in the Environmental Learning Research Centre at Rhodes University, South Africa which she directed for 15 years (2000-2015). The current focus of the Chair’s research is transformative social learning and green skills learning pathways in areas of biodiversity, the water food nexus, climate change, social and environmental justice, and just sustainability transitions.  

She has served on over 20 national and international research and policy programmes and scientific committees focusing on education, transformative learning and sustainability and is regularly invited to present keynote contributions in this area, to date having done over 90 keynotes in more than 45 countries around the world, with some of the most recent being at the European Conference on Education Research (the second largest education conference in the world), the Belmont Forum 10th Anniversary (a major international research funding policy group), the International Association of Cultural and Activity Theory Research (International post-Vygotskian psychology and learning sciences research group) and the International Transformations to Sustainability Conference (leading international research group in the Sustainability Sciences). Prof Lotz-Sisitka contributed to the various iterations of South Africa’s national curriculum process, and to various national committees and forums developing some of the first ever environmental health, management and education qualifications in South Africa, and she led development of the first ever Environmental Sector Skills Plan for South Africa. 

She has led various national and international research programmes, and has supervised 65 Masters, 47 PhD and 12 post-doctoral scholars, and has examined 22 PhDs internationally. Her publications number over 170 and she has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the WESSA Gold Award and Life Time Award for contributions to environment and sustainability in South Africa, the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award, the Vice Chancellor’s Community Engagement Award (twice), and the Vice Chancellor’s Senior Researcher Award, being one of two academics in the university to have obtained the honour of receiving all three awards.

She served as Editor-in-Chief of the Southern African Journal of Environmental Education for 13 years (2003-2016) and served one term as co-editor of the Learning, Culture and Social Interaction Journal (2021). Recent book publications include a Routledge book on ‘Critical realism, environmental learning and social-ecological change’, (Price and Lotz-Sisitka, 2016), a Springer book on ‘Schooling and sustainable development in Africa’ (Lotz-Sisitka et al., 2017), and a Routledge book on ‘Green Skills Research in South Africa: Models, Cases and Methods’ (Rosenberg, Ramsarup and Lotz-Sisitka, 2020)

Three recent international research leadership roles include leading the South African hub of the international GCRF Transforming Education for Sustainable Futures research programme operating across the UK, Netherlands, South Africa, India, Rwanda and Somalia (2020-2024); Axis 1 lead of the global Monitoring and Evaluation of Climate Change Education,  and an international Transformative Knowledge Network (2016-2019) working across nine countries on four continents, funded by the International Science Council entitled the Transgressive Social Learning for Social-Ecological Sustainability in times of Climate Change (T-Learning), for which Dr. Lotz-Sisitka served as the PI and network lead. Current professional leadership roles include leading a programme on sustainability in teacher and TVET education with the UNESCO ROSA working with over 100 teacher education institutions across the SADC region, amongst others. She was also founding host of the national Fundisa for Change teacher education consortium leading integration of environment and sustainability education in South Africa’s teacher education system.  Nationally she is also leading an NRF Community of Practice involving 11 South African research Chairs focussing on education and sustainability. 

She holds a B2 National Research Foundation Rating, which is defined as “A researcher who enjoys considerable international recognition by their peers for the high quality and impact of their recent research outputs”. Her research interests include critical research methodologies, transformative social learning, and education system transformation. Her passion is sustainability and social justice education, emancipatory agency, and people’s participation in transformative education and learning processes.

Her publications can be accessed at  http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5193-9881


Recent Publications


Rosenberg, E., Ramsarup, P., & Lotz-Sisitka, H. (2019). Green skills research in South Africa: Models, cases and methods. Routledge.

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B., Shumba, O., Lupele, J. & Wilmot, D. (Eds). 2017. Schooling and Sustainable Development in Africa.  Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-45989-9.  https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319459875[Office1]

Price, L. & Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. (Eds) (2016). Critical Realism, Environmental Learning and Social-Ecological Change. London: Routledge. Pp. 1-17.

ISBN 978-1-138-025196 https://www.routledge.com/Critical-Realism-Environmental-Learning-and-Social-Ecological-Change/Price-Lotz-Sistka/p/book/9781138025196


Peer Reviewed Journal Papers:

Lotz-Sisitka, H., Rosenberg, E., & Ramsarup, P. (2021). Environment and sustainability education research as policy engagement:(re-) invigorating ‘politics as potentia’in South Africa. Environmental Education Research, 27(4), 525-553. 


Kulundu, I., McGarry, D. K., & Lotz-Sisitka, H. (2020). Think Piece: Learning, Living and Leading into Transgression–A reflection on decolonial praxis in a neoliberal world. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, 36. 


McGrath, S., Ramsarup, P., Zeelen, J., Wedekind, V., Allais, S., Lotz-Sisitka, H., ... & Russon, J. A. (2020). Vocational education and training for African development: a literature review. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 72(4), 465-487. 


Mickelsson, M., Kronlid, D. O., & Lotz-Sisitka, H. (2019). Consider the unexpected: scaling ESD as a matter of learning. Environmental Education Research, 25(1), 135-150.


Macintyre, T., Lotz-Sisitka, H., Wals, A., Vogel, C., & Tassone, V. (2018). Towards transformative social learning on the path to 1.5 degrees. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 31, 80-87.


Lotz-Sisitka, H., Rosenberg, E. & Ramasrup, P. (accepted for publication 2018).  “Environment and Sustainability Education Research asPolicy Engagement: (Re-) Invigorating ‘Politics as Potentia’in South Africa”. Environmental Education Research (in press).


Lotz-Sisitka, H. (2018), “Pioneers as relational subjects? Probing relationality as phenomenon shaping collective learning and change agency formation”, Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, Vol. 34, pp. 61-73. https://www.ajol.info/index.php/sajee/article/view/172206


Macintyre, T., Lotz-Sisitka, H., Wals, A., Vogel, C., & Tassone, V. (2018). “Towards transformative social learning on the path to 1.5 degrees.” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability31, 80-87.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2017.12.003


Rosenberg, E., Lotz-Sisitka, H. B., & Ramsarup, P. (2018). “The green economy learning assessment South Africa: Lessons for higher education, skills and work-based learning”. Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning.  https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-03-2018-0041


Mickelsson, M., Kronlid, D. O., & Lotz-Sisitka, H. (2018). Consider the unexpected: scaling ESD as a matter of learning. Environmental Education Research, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2018.1429572


Lotz-Sisitka, H., Mukute, M., Chikunda, C., Baloi, A., & Pesanayi, T. (2017) “Transgressing the norm: Transformative agency in community-based learning for sustainability in southern African contexts”. International Review of Education. 63 (6): 897-914. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11159-017-9689-3


Ramsarup, P. and Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. (2017) “The nature of learning and work transitioning in boundaryless work: The case of the environmental engineer”. Southern African Journal of Environmental Education. 33: 99-116. http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/sajee.v.33i1.8 


Lotz-Sisitka, H., Ramsarup, P., Bolton, H., Reddy, J. (2017) “Introduction: Researching Sustainable Development Learning Pathways Towards Progression in Learning and Work”. SAQA Bulletin: Learning Pathways, the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), and Lifelong Learning in South Africa. 17(1): 10-30.

ISBN: 978-1-920649-42-5 http://www.saqa.org.za/docs/bullet/2018/SAQA%20Bulletin%202017%20%281%29.pdf


Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. and Ramsarup. P. (2017) “Learning Pathways and Articulation: Early Conceptual Explorations and Implications for Research Design(s)”. SAQA Bulletin: Learning Pathways, the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), and Lifelong Learning in South Africa. 17(1): 31-48.

ISBN: 978-1-920649-42-5 http://www.saqa.org.za/docs/bullet/2018/SAQA%20Bulletin%202017%20%281%29.pdf


Lotz-Sisitka, H.B., Ramsarup, P., and Mohanoe, N. (2017) “Learning Pathways and Differentiation: Initial Methodological Explorations and Implications for Research Design(s)”. SAQA Bulletin: Learning Pathways, the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), and Lifelong Learning in South Africa. 17(1): 49-63.

ISBN: 978-1-920649-42-5 http://www.saqa.org.za/docs/bullet/2018/SAQA%20Bulletin%202017%20%281%29.pdf


Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. and Ramsarup, P. (2017) “Analysing Career Stories with Dialectical Critical Realism in Learning Pathways research”. SAQA Bulletin: Learning Pathways, the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), and Lifelong Learning in South Africa. 17(1): 95-116.

ISBN: 978-1-920649-42-5 http://www.saqa.org.za/docs/bullet/2018/SAQA%20Bulletin%202017%20%281%29.pdf


Lotz-Sisitka, H.B., Ramsarup, P., Mohanoe, N. and Olvitt. L. (2017) “Boundary Making and Boundary Crossing in Learning Pathways Access and Progression: Voices from the Workplace”. SAQA Bulletin: Learning Pathways, the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), and Lifelong Learning in South Africa. 17(1): 117-154.

ISBN: 978-1-920649-42-5 http://www.saqa.org.za/docs/bullet/2018/SAQA%20Bulletin%202017%20%281%29.pdf


Ramsarup, P. and Lotz-Sisitka, H. 2017. “An In-depth Case Study of Environmental Engineering: Learning and Work Transitioning in Boundary-less Work” SAQA Bulletin: Learning Pathways, the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), and Lifelong Learning in South Africa. 17(1): 155-180.

ISBN: 978-1-920649-42-5 http://www.saqa.org.za/docs/bullet/2018/SAQA%20Bulletin%202017%20%281%29.pdf


Ramsarup, P. and Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2017. “An Expanded Methodological View on Learning Pathways as Progression in Learning and Work: A ‘Laminated Systems’ Perspective”. SAQA Bulletin: Learning Pathways, the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), and Lifelong Learning in South Africa. 17(1): 212-236.

ISBN: 978-1-920649-42-5 http://www.saqa.org.za/docs/bullet/2018/SAQA%20Bulletin%202017%20%281%29.pdf


Rosenberg, E., Ramsarup, P., Lotz-Sisitka, H., & Gumede, M. (2016). “Building Capacity for Green, Just and Sustainable Futures – A New Knowledge Field Requiring Transformative Research Methodology”. Journal of Education, 65: 95-122http://joe.ukzn.ac.za/Libraries/No_65_2016/Building_capacity_for_green_just_and_sustainable_futures_a_new_knowledge_field_requiring_



Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2016. “Reviewing strategies in/for ESD policy engagement: Agency reclaimed?” Journal of Environmental Education. Vol 47. Iss. 2, 2016.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00958964.2015.1113915.


Vallabh, P., Lotz-Sisitka, H., O’Donoghue, R. & Schudel, I. 2016. “Mapping epistemic cultures and learning potential of citizen science projects”. Conservation Biology. Volume 30, No. 3, 540–549. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12701


Mandikonza, C. & Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. (2016). Emergence of Environment and Sustainability Education (ESE) in Teacher Education Contexts in Southern Africa: A Common Good Concern. Educational Research for Social Change (ERSC) 5 (1), 107-130 http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_abstract&pid=S2221-40702016000100008  


Lotz-Sisitka, H.B., Belay, M., Mphepo, G., Chaves, M., Macintyre, T., Pesanayi, T., Wals, A., Mukute, M., Kronlid, D., Tran, D., Joon, D., McGarry. D. (2016)  Co-designing research on transgressive learning in times of climate change. Current Opinion on Sustainability. 20, 50-55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2016.04.004


Lotz-Sisitka, H.B., Wals, A.E.J., Kronlid, D., & McGarry, D. 2015.  “Transformative, transgressive social learning: rethinking higher education pedagogy in times of systemic global dysfunction”. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 16, 73–80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2015.07.018


Cundill, G., Lotz-Sisitka, H., Mukute, M., & Belay, M., Kulundu, I. & Shackleton, S. 2014. “A reflection on the use of case studies as a methodology for social learning research in sub Saharan Africa”.  Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 69 (2014), 39–47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.njas.2013.04.001


Sabai, D. & Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2013. Analysing Learning at the Interface of Scientific and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in a Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration Scenario in the Eastern Coast of Tanzania. Transylv. Rev. Syst. Ecol. Res. 15.2: 185-210  https://doi.org/10.2478/trser-2013-0027


Lotz-Sisitka, H. 2012/13.  “Conceptions of Quality and ‘Learning as Connection’: Teaching for Relevance”.  Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, 29, 25-38. https://www.ajol.info/index.php/sajee/article/view/122256


Togo, M. & Lotz-Sisitka, H. 2013. “Exploring a systems approach to mainstreaming sustainability in universities: A case study of Rhodes University in South Africa”. Environmental Education Research Journal, 19 (5), 673-693. ISSN: 1350-4622. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2012.749974 


Mukute, M. & Lotz-Sisitka, H. 2012. “Working with Cultural Historical Activity Theory and Critical Realism to Investigate and Expand Farmer Learning in South Africa”. Mind, Culture and Activity, 19, 4, 342-367. https://doi.org/10.1080/10749039.2012.656173


Book Chapters:

Ijabadeniyi, A., & Lotz-Sisitka, H. (2020). CSR, Corporate Heritage Identity and Social Learning. In Governance and Sustainability (pp. 143-166). Springer, Singapore.

Ramsarup, P., Rosenberg, E., Lotz-Sisitka, H., & Jenkin, N.  2018.  Green skills:  transformative niches for greening work. In Mohammed, N. (Ed) (2018).  Sustainability Transitions in South Africa. London: Routledge.  https://www.routledge.com/Sustainability-Transitions-in-South-Africa/Mohamed/p/book/9781138727991
Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. & Lupele, J. 2017.  “ESD, Learning and Quality Education in Africa: Learning Today, for Tomorrow”.  Lotz-Sisitka, H.B., Shumba, O., Lupele, J. & Wilmot, D. (Eds). 2017. Schooling and Sustainable Development in Africa.  Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-45989-9. https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319459875
Ardoin, N.M., Reid, A. Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. and González Gaudiano, E.J. 2017. “Afterword”. In: Russ, A., and Krasny, M. (Eds.), Urban environmental education review. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. pg. 297-299. ISBN: 1-5017-0582-2. http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100988800
Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2017. “Decolonising as Future Frame for Environment and Sustainability Education". In Corcoran, P. & Weakland, J., & Wals, A.E.J. (Eds). Envisioning Futures for Environment and Sustainability Education. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers. pp. 45-62. https://doi.org/10.3920/978-90-8686-846-9_2
Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2017. “Education and the Common Good”. In Jickling, B. & Sterling, S. (Eds). Post-Sustainability and Environmental Education: Re-making Education: Beyond sustainability. Palgrave Mc Millan. Plymouth. pg. 63-78. ISBN: 1-5017-0582-2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-51322-5_5

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2016. “A Review of Three Generations of Critical Theory: Towards reconceptualsing critical HESD research”.  In Baarth, M., Michelsen, G., Rieckmann, M., & Thomas, I. Routledge Handbook of Higher Education Research for Sustainable Development. London: Routledge. Pp. 207-222.
Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2016. “Absenting absence: expanding zones of proximal development in environmental learning processes.” In Price, L. & Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. (Eds). Critical Realism, Environmental Learning and Social-Ecological Change. London: Routledge. Pp. 318-339. ISBN 978-1-138-02519-6.
Lotz-Sisitka, H. & Price, L. 2016. “Why critical realism, environmental learning and social-ecological change? Introducing the book”. In Price, L. & Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. (Eds). Critical Realism, Environmental Learning and Social-Ecological Change. London: Routledge. Pp. 1-17. ISBN 978-1-138-02519-6
Lotz-Sisitka, H., Agbedahin, A.V., & Hlengwa, A. 2015.  “‘Seeding Change’: Developing a change-oriented model for professional learning and ESD in higher education institutions in Africa”. In Lotz-Sisitka, H., Naituli, G., Hlengwa, A., Ward, M., Salami, A., Ogbuigwe, A., Pradhan, M., Neeser, M., & Lauriks, S. (Eds). Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in  African Universities: Stories of Change. Grahamstown: Rhodes University, Environmental Learning Research Centre. Pp. 16-32. ISBN: 987-0-86810613-7.
Lotz-Sisitka, H. 2014. “We must start with our own children: Reflectively researching intergenerational leadership for social justice, education, and sustainability”. Pp. 43-64. In Corcoran, P.B. & Hollingshead, B. (Eds). Intergenerational Learning and Transformative Leadership for Sustainable Futures. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Press. ISBN:  978-90-8686-252-8
Kronlid, D. & Lotz-Sisitka, H. 2014. “Learning as climate change adaption capability”. Pp. 75-106. In Kronlid, D (Ed). Climate Change Adaptation and Human Capabilities. USA: Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN: 978-1-137-43627-6
Lotz-Sisitka, H., Fien, J. & Ketlhoilwe, M. 2013.  “Traditions and new niches: An overview of environmental education curriculum and learning research”.  In Stevenson, R., Brody, M., Dillon, J. & Wals, A. (Eds) International Handbook of Research on Environmental Education. New York: AERA/Routledge. Pp. 194-205.  ISBN: 978-0-230-53555-8
Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2013.  “Curriculum research in environmental education”. In Stevenson, R., Brody, M., Dillon, J. & Wals, A. (Eds) International Handbook of Research on Environmental Education. New York: AERA/Routledge. Pp. 191-193. ISBN: 978-0-230-53555-8
Lotz-Sisitka, H. and Togo, M. (2013) The Unit-based Sustainability Assessment Tool and its use in theUNEP Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in African Universities Partnership. In: CairoS., Leal Filho, W. and Jabbour, C. (eds.). Sustainability Assessment Tools in Higher EducationInstitutions - Mapping trends and Good Practices around the world. London: Springer. p.259- 291.ISBN: 9783319023748
Lotz-Sisitka, H. 2011. “Knowledge questions associated with the public health and climate change relation: some implications for universities in southern Africa”. Climate Change, Adaptation and Higher Education: Securing our Future. SARUA Leadership Dialogue Series. Volume 2, no. 4. www.sarua.org pp. 101-116. ISBN: 978-0-9869903-1-1
Lotz-Sisitka, H. 2011. “The ‘event’ of modern sustainable development and universities in Africa”. Higher Education in the World 4. Higher Education’s Commitment to Sustainability: from understanding to action. Palgrave Macmillan: Global University Network for Innovation. Pg. 41-56. ISBN: 978-0-230-53555-8

Recent Research Reports:

Lotz-Sisitka , H. B., Kulundu I, Neville R, James A, Moyo AB, Kunkwenzu E, Morione D, Mphepo G, Velempini K, Maqwelane L, Dyantyi P, Mushishi R, Makwita SA, Musariri Y, Mhlanga Z. (2021). Education for sustainable development and COVID-19 in southern Africa: Intersecting perspectives on why water, food and livelihoods matter in transforming education for sustainable futures. Research report in the JET Education Services/UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA)/Global Challenge Research Fund’s Transforming Education for Sustainable Futures Project (South African node)/Open Society Foundations (OSF) #OpenupYourThinking: SADC Researchers Challenge. JET Education Services/ Transforming Education for Sustainable Futures, Rhodes University. South Africa.

Rosenberg, E., Rosenberg, G., Lotz-Sisitka, H. B., & Ramsarup, P. (2018). Green economy learning assessment South Africa: Critical competencies for driving a green transition. Report. PAGE, UNITAR, UNEP, ILO, UNDP, UNIDO.
Lotz-Sisitka, H., Pesanayi, T., Weaver, K., Lupele, C., Sisitka, L., O’Donoghue, R., Denison, J., Phillips, K. 2016. Water use and food security: Knowledge dissemination and use in agricultural colleges and local learning networks for home food gardening and smallholder agriculture. VOLUME 1:  RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT REPORT.  WRC Research Report No. 2277/1/16. 198 pp.
www.wrc.org.za/Knowledge Hub Documents/Research Reports/2277-1-16.pdf
Lotz-Sisitka, H., Pesanayi, T., Weaver, K., Lupele, C., Sisitka, L., O’Donoghue, R., Denison, J., Phillips, K. 2016. Water use and food security: Knowledge dissemination and use in agricultural colleges and local learning networks for home food gardening and smallholder agriculture. VOLUME 2: ACTION ORIENTED STRATEGY.  WRC Research Report No. 2277/1/17. 45 pp.
Burt, J., Lotz-Sisitka, H., Rivers, N., Berold, R., Ntshudu, M., Wigley, R., Stanford, M., Jenkin, T., Buzani, M. & Kruger, E.  2014.  The role of knowledge in a democratic society: Investigations into mediation and change oriented learning in water management practices.  WRC Project Report K5/2074/1. 184 pp.
Urquart, P. & Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2014.  Climate Change Counts. Strengthening university contributions to climate compatible development in southern Africa.  Knowledge Co-Production Framework.  Johannesburg: SARUA. 349 pp. (www.sarua.org). ISBN: 978-0-9922354-0-6
NOTE:  This overview report is accompanied by 12 country case study reports (see www.sarua.org) all of which were co-authored by myself and Penny Urquart (Lotz-SIsitka & Urquart a,b,c,d,e,f & Urquart & Lotz-Sisitka a,b,c,d,e,f) being country reports for South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Zambia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola, Tanzania, Mozambique (each report is between 80-100pp). 
Cundill, G., Shackleton, S., Sisitka, L., Ntshudu, M., Lotz-Sisitka, H., Kulundu, I. & Hamer, N. 2014.  Social Learning for Adaptation. A descriptive handbook for practitioners and action researchers.  Grahamstown: Rhodes University / IDRC / RULIV.
Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2012. (Ed) (Re)Views on the social learning literature.  A Monograph for Social Learning Researchers in Natural Resources Management and Environmental Education. Howick: SADC REEP. ISBN: 978- 1- 919991-81-8. 88 pages.


Recent International Keynote Papers: 

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2018.  “‘The SDGs in Africa’ - Turning Tensions into Learning and Research Opportunities. A Short # [hashtag] Tour!”  Keynote address at the SDGs in Africa: Seedbeds for Transformation Conference, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 5 May 2018.

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2017.  Transformative Learning and Education for Sustainable Development. Towards social and ecological justice in society.  Keynote address at the Science, Technology and ESD Conference. University of Kwazulu Natal, Durban, South Africa. 23-25 January 2017.

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2017.  Transformative Learning in times of climate change. Implications for postgraduate research oriented towards social justice and societal transformation.  Keynote presentation at the PhD research school:  The social (in)justice of education.  Umea University, Umea, Sweden, 20-24 February 2017.

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2017. “Re-invigorating Politics as Potentia': Transitions and Transformative Learning in South Africa”. Invited Keynote address at 8th International Sustainability Transitions Conference, 18-21 June 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Lotz-Sisitka, H. 2017. "Sustainability Starts with Teachers". Keynote paper, lead presenter and programme design. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and The Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) Environmental Sustainability Development Workshop entitled 'Sustainability Starts with Teachers', 5-6 April 2017, Johannesburg South Africa.  3 other Keynotes also presented for this programme at the programmes hosted in Zambia (June 2017), Swaziland (July 2017), and at the final workshop in Johannesburg (March 2019).

Lotz-Sisitka, H. 2017. “ESD and Community Learning”. Invited Panel Presentation at the Global Universities Network for Innovation International Conference on Sustainable Development Goals: Actors and Implementation, 18-19 September 2017, Barcelona Spain.

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. & Odumo, N. 2017. “Environmental Learning Research and Transformative Learning at Rhodes University”. Opening paper from South Africa at the Collaborative Transformational Learning Workshop between Rhodes University and University of Osnabruck, 9-13 October 2017, Germany.

Lotz-Sisitka, H. 2017. "Natural Capital: Going beyond the World’s Planetary Boundaries. What role for philanthropy in such a time?". Keynote address at the Independent Philanthropy Association of South Africa (IPASA) Philanthropy Symposium, 23-24 October 2017, Stellenbosch South Africa.

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. (2017). “Setting the Scene and Closing the Conference: Transitions, Transformations and Transgressions in Researching Work and Learning”. Opening and Closing Plenary Contributions at the 10th International Researching Work and Learning Conference, Grahamstown, 6-9 December 2017.

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2017.  Transformative Learning in Higher Education.  Keynote Presentation at the BMZ/GIZ/DAAD/ Conference:  “Role of Higher Education, Science and New Alliances in the Context of the 2030 Agenda”. Berlin, Germany, 20/21 March 2017. 

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2017. ‘Amanzi for Food’.  Matching demand and supply of green skills.  Panel presentation at the Partnership for Green Economy (PAGE) Inter-ministerial Conference, Berlin, Germany, 27-28 March 2017. (Our project was selected as one of three internationally for presentation at this panel). 

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. Pesanayi, T. & Chikunda, C. 2016.  “Building Commoning Activity.  Navigating power relations in CHAT Expansive Learning Research in the building of two commoning activities in rural South Africa”.  Part of a three hour symposium panel on the generation of transformative agency as a learning process in social movements and grassroot cooperatives (Led by Engeström, Y. & Sannino, A).  International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Singapore, 7-9 June 2016.

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2016.  “Transformative Learning in Times of Climate Change: Taking us beyond new public management regimes?”  Keynote address at the SANORD Conference, Uppsala University, 7-9 September 2016, Sweden. 

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2016.  “University Educators as Social Learners?”.  Keynote address at the Copernicus Alliance: University Educators for Sustainable Development (UE4SD) Conference, Gibraltar, 28 June 2016.  

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2016.  “Traversing the GAP with transformative learning. Plenary panel presentation”. International Conference on Education and the Sustainable Development Goals, Ahmedabad, India, 11-15 January 2016.   

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2016. “Meaning Making in Transformative Processes”. Plenary Framing Talk. KLASICA (Knowledge, Learning and Societal Change International Research and Action Alliance), Institute for Advanced Studies in Sustainability. 8-9 February, Potsdam, Germany. 

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2015.  Keynote address: “‘With people and planet in mind’. Expanding human activity for sustainability and equity through transgressive learning and social change”. World Environmental Education Congress, Gothenberg, Sweden, June 2015.

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2014.  “Mainstreaming environment and sustainability in African Universities”. Invited plenary presentation at the Global Universities Partnership for Environment and Sustainability Forum, Nagoya, Japan, 8 November 2014.

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2014.  Plenary Presentation:  General Report on the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development. UNESCO, 10-12 November, Nagoya, Japan. (I served as the General Rapporteur for this conference).

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2014. Plenary Paper: “Education for Sustainable Development. A regional perspective from Africa”.  International Association of Universities Conference: Blending Higher Education and Traditional Knowledge for Sustainable Development.  Iquitos, Peru. 19-21 March 2014. (Abstract published in conference programme)

Lotz-Sisitka, H.  2013. Plenary Paper: “Education for Sustainable Development and the Post-2015 Agenda”.  GIZ Post-2015 Agenda International Dialogue. Bonn, Germany,  November 2013. (not published)

Lotz-Sisitka, H. 2013. Panel Presentation:  “Curriculum transformations towards sustainability in Higher Education”.  World Science Forum, Rio De Janeiro, November 2013. (published in Sci-Dev on-line) 

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B.  2013. Panel Presentation: “Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in African Education and Training Systems”. Global South-South Development Expo 2013. Academia Partnership Forum. UN Complex, Gigiri, Nairobi.  31 October 2013. (Summary published in meeting proceedings) 

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B.  2013. Keynote Paper: “Greening our education and training systems for a transition to ‘real’ green economies and sustainable societies”. 31st Annual Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa, Malawi, 11-13 September 2013. (Paper being considered for SAQA monograph)

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B.  2013. Panel Presentation / Thematic Paper: “Knowledge production processes and an ethic of the future”.  World Environmental Education Congress, Marrakech, Morocco, May 2013. (Abstract published in conference documentation)  

Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. 2013. Plenary Paper: “The wider context of democracy and political development and the shaping of educational responses”.  Environmental and Health Education International Invitational Seminar, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, May 2013. (Paper currently being developed into a book chapter).

Lotz-Sisitka, H. 2013. GUPES Side Event Plenary Paper:  “Curriculum Innovation and ESD in Higher Education”.  World Environmental Education Congress, Marrakech, Morocco, May 2013. (Summary and presentation slides published in the meeting proceedings).


Recent Professional Awards:

2016:    In 2016 our edited book ‘Critical realism, environmental learning and social-ecological change’ was co-awarded the Cheryl Frank Memorial Prize by the International Association of Critical Realism.

2016:    Vice Chancellors Senior Researcher Award.

2016:    Vice Chancellors Community Engagement Award (leader of the team winning the award).

2016:    WESSA 90 Lifetime Conservation Achiever Award.  The 90 Lifetime Conservation Achiever Awards acknowledges 90 living individuals who have dedicated their lives to conservation in South Africa.

2015:    One of a team who received the Vice Chancellors Community Engagement Award

2014:    Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa Founders Award

2014:    GreenMatter Senior Fellows Award for contributions to education and training, and transformation in the biodiversity and environmental sector in South Africa

2009:    Vice Chancellors Teaching Award

2009:    Gold Award (National) from the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa for contributions to the field of environmental education in South Africa


Recent Research Grants:

2017 - 2020:  Water Research Commission (WRC) Research Grant over 3 years focusing on knowledge dissemination of water knowledge produced by the WRC (ZAR 2 Million over 3 years).

2017 - 2019:  UNEP 10YFP research and development award for transformative social learning in food systems waste reduction programmes (ZAR 2 million over 2 years).

2017 - 2019:  Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) curriculum innovation grant from the Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD) research and curriculum innovation support for institutions of higher learning in the Limpopo Basin, in response to climate change and resilience threats (ZAR 2 million over 2 years).

2016 - 2019:  International Social Science Council (ISSC) Transformations to Sustainability grant for research on ‘Transgressive learning in times of climate change’ – to establish a transformative knowledge network across 9 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe – (ZAR 13.5 Million) over 3 years.

2016 - 2020:  NRF Tier 1 SARChi Chair in Global Change and Social Learning Systems – focus on transformative learning and green skills learning pathways research (ZAR 13 Million for five years, with potential renewal to 15 years).

2016 - 2017:  UNESCO / SARUA funding to support the research, design and development of the Sustainability Starts with Teachers programme (0.75 million) over two years.  Project completed successfully.

2015 - 2018:  Development Bank of South Africa Green Fund Grant for a research and capacity development programme for Green Skills System Capacity Development in South Africa (ZAR 6.5 Million for three years). Project completed successfully. 

2014 - 2016:  National Research Foundation (NRF) Research Grant for Fundisa for Change curriculum research over 3 years – Multi-institutional partnership with 5 South African universities (ZAR 1.7 Million). Programme started in 2014.  Project completed successfully.   

2013 - 2016:  Water Research Commission (WRC) Research Grant over 3 years focusing on the dissemination of water knowledge produced by the WRC (ZAR 1.9 Million).  Phase 1 project completed successfully, leading to a Phase 2.    

2013 - 2016:  Conservation, Agriculture, Tourism and Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) research grant over 3 years focusing on human capacity development in the Biodiversity sector (ZAR 3 Million).  Project completed successfully. 

2013 - 2016:  GreenMatter / Lewis Foundation grant for research and development of the Fundisa for Change teacher education programme (which includes funds for a co-ordinator who is also completing a PhD) (ZAR 3 Million).  Through this programme, we have raised an additional ZAR 5 Million for the offering of inservice teacher education programmes.  Project completed successfully.

2013 - 2014:  Research grant from the Horn of Africa Regional Environmental Programme and UNEP to produce the Africa Environmental Education and Training Action Plan for 2015-2025. (ZAR 0.2 Million). Successfully completed.

2012 - 2014:  Sandisa Imbewu research funding for the ELRC to strengthen its publishing programme and outputs, and consolidate the 20 years of research undertaken in the Chair. (ZAR 1.0 Million). Successfully completed.

2013 - 2014:  Research funding from CDKN to contribute to the research and lead authoring of the Southern African Universities Association research on university responses to climate compatible development and the production of a knowledge co-production framework for the SADC region (ZAR 0.45 million). Completed successfully. 

2008 - 2014:  Funding to research, develop and implement an International Training Programme for universities in Africa focusing on Education and Sustainable Development in Higher Education (implemented in partnership with CHERTL and UNEP)  (ZAR 4 Million). Completed successfully.

2008 - 2014:  South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) Research Partnership Grant over 6 years (ZAR 2.7 Million) for research on workplace learning and sustainability practices, and learning pathways for critical and scarce skills – involving a research programme that is linked to 5 national universities and SAQA’s research directorate.  Successfully completed. 

2012 - 2014:  South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) research and project development grant on heritage and social learning for sustainable development (ZAR 2.4 Million). Completed successfully, extended with a further ZAR 0.5 Million in 2013. Completed successfully.

2012 - 2013:  UNESCO ESD research grant to produce a national case study on Climate Change Education in South Africa (ZAR 0.5 Million). Completed successfully. 

2011 - 2013:  Water Research Commission (WRC) Research Grant over 3 years (ZAR 1.1 Million) for social learning in the water sector.  Completed successfully.

2010 - 2013:  South African Netherlands Partnership for Academic Development (SANPAD) Research Grant on Social Learning and Community Based Natural Resources Management (ZAR 0.6 Million). Completed successfully.

2005 - 2012:  SADC REEP Research Programme Management Grant over 5 years (ZAR 2 Million) - involving co-ordination of a research programme with 10 Universities in SADC, and research in 10 southern African countries. Completed successfully.

2009:  Research grant from DEAT to assist with the development of an Environmental Sector Skills Plan over 1 year (ZAR 1.5 Million) – involving a research partnership with DEAT staff.  Completed successfully.


To access Distinguished Professor Heila Lotz-Sisitka's more detailed CV please click here



Last Modified: Mon, 09 May 2022 14:42:49 SAST