The Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Awards

Rhodes University
Rhodes University

It is with immense pleasure that we announce the following Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Award recipients for the academic year 2019:

  1. Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Achievement Award
  2. Distinguished Teaching Award recipients

The Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Award has been established to recognise a staff member who has made an extraordinary and distinguished contribution that builds and supports the intellectual work of the University, the sector, and the national and international community of scholars, thereby significantly advancing the reputation of the institution, and which is not adequately recognised by the existing set of VC’s awards.  This is intended to be a prestigious award of the highest status in the university, awarded sparingly.

The recipient of the inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Achievement Award is Professor Justin Jonas of the Department of Physics and Electronics. Justin has been called the “Spiritual Guru” of the SKA (Square Kilometre Array Telescope), having been one of the originators of the concept of the SKA.  He became the project scientist in 2001, where his serious contribution commenced as a mix of visionary, scientist, politician, design engineer, and salesman, and he has been a key figure in the design and construction of the 64-dish MeerKAT radio telescope array at Carnarvon, Northern Cape.  The full-scale multinational SKA is estimated to be completed by approximately 2027, will cost in excess of €2 billion, and will be counted amongst the largest scientific instruments ever built.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Awards recognise teachers at Rhodes University who show evidence of enthusiastic, inspiring and innovative teaching. They respond to the legitimate learning needs of their students, and take account of the diversity of students’ socio-cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Awardees address the challenges of the changing higher education context in effective and creative ways and demonstrate mastery of knowledge in their disciplines. Award-winning teachers create opportunities for students to learn how knowledge is constructed in their disciplines. They also encourage and support students to become autonomous learners. Winners of the Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award adopt a scholarly approach to teaching and learning, and ongoing critical reflection is the foundation of their practice.

  • The recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award (in the category of ten or fewer years' experience) is Ms Thina Maqubela of the Department of Statistics. 
  • The recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Senior Teaching Award is  Mr Chris Upfold of the Department of Information Systems

Research Award recipients:

  • The recipient of the Vice-Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award (in the age group 40 and below) for 2019 is Dr Gladman Thondhlana of the Department of Environmental Science.
  • The recipient of the Vice-Chancellor's Distinguished Senior Research Award for 2019 is Professor Makaiko Chithambo of the Department of Physics and Electronics.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Research Awards acknowledge individual research and research related scholarly activities, which make a significant contribution to the creation of new knowledge for the benefit of humanity and the natural world.  They recognise a young staff member whose work represents exceptional quality and proven achievement in relation to peers at their stage of career, and an established staff member of indisputable academic status, whose work is of exceptional quality and proven achievement with a sustained record of scholarship.

Book Award recipient:

The Vice-Chancellor’s Book Award recognizes a recent book published by a current staff member, which advances knowledge and understanding, and brings undoubted credit to the University by virtue of the contribution it makes to scholarly literature, or the discipline within which it is authored.

The recipient of the Vice-Chancellor's Book Award for 2019 is Professor Sam Naidu of the Department of Literary Studies in English, for her monograph (co-authored with Professor Elizabeth le Roux of the University of Pretoria) entitled “A Survey of South African Crime Fiction: Critical Analysis and Publishing History” (UKZN Press, 2017).

The Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Awards will be presented to the recipients at the 2020 graduation ceremonies.

Source:  Communications

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