Academic staff from each School within the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (AES) were recognised at a Distinguished Teacher Awards Ceremony for their passion and dedication towards educating and inspiring greatness in students.
Dean of Teaching and Learning within the College, Professor Bala Pillay, welcomed everyone and emphasised that teaching was just as important as research in the College.
Professor Serban Proches of the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences was presented with his Distinguished Teacher Award by Professor Albert Modi who commended him for being both a prominent researcher who had won the Vice-Chancellor’s research award as well as a teacher. He emphasised how Proches’ research had fed into and improved his teaching, especially at postgraduate level.
Professor Deo Jaganyi presented Professor Ross Robinson of the School of Chemistry and Physics with his award, pointing out that even though Robinson was Dean and Head of the School, he had nevertheless kept an active interest and involvement in hands-on teaching, and was renowned for harnessing the power of technology in his lectures. ‘Ross is a dedicated Lecturer who is committed and passionate about his teaching,’ said Jaganyi.
Dr Gareth Lagerwall was the Distinguished Teacher Award recipient from the School of Engineering. His award was presented by Professor Graham Smith, who characterised Lagerwall as ‘a young lecturer brimming with enthusiasm,’ and one who handled the large numbers of first-year Engineering students ‘with great aplomb’.
Professor Shahidul Islam of the School of Life Sciences was presented with his award by Professor Sam Mukaratirwa, who characterised Islam’s teaching style as being ‘knowledge-based, problem-based and student-centred teaching and learning. Islam’s teaching goal is not only to teach Biochemistry to students but also to encourage and motivate them to become successful individuals,’ said Mukaratirwa.
Professor Delia North presented the Distinguished Teacher Award for the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science to Dr Shaun Ramroop, whose teaching philosophy she described as being guided by three imperatives: ‘verbal instruction; feedback to and from students through the setting up of various processes to gain information about their classroom practices; and the monitoring of student progress with early intervention.
‘Shaun’s passion for teaching and statistics is exhilarating,’ said North.
UKZN DVC for Teaching and Learning Professor Renuka Vithal closed the ceremony by congratulating the five award winners and thanked the College for its innovative projects as well as its teaching and learning initiatives.