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Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Awards

These awards are conferred in two categories, an individual and a team award. 


The winner of the individual award was Dr Lizelle Crous, a lecturer in the Wits Department of Nursing Education. She completed her master’s in nursing education in 2014 and excelled in her understanding of curriculum development and design, which lead her to design a fully blended learning module that will be implemented in the newly revised undergraduate nursing curriculum. She has become an integral driver of the development and accreditation of the new concept based nursing curriculum as well as the planned fully online BHSc Nursing Systems Science degree to allow college certified nurses access to specialty degrees. Crous’ excellence in teaching resulted in the Department identifying her as the ideal candidate to take over the lecturing of the postgraduate coursework. Crous was recognised for her leadership and modelling of good online teaching and learning, which, ensured that the Department of Nursing Education was well prepared in the process of rapidly transitioning to online learning in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Agata MacGregor and Susan Benvenuti from the Wits Business School were winners of the VC’s team Teaching Award. The duo was recognised for their student orientated assessment, which aided students with critical thinking. In 2015, MacGregor registered for the Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education and wanted to use what she had learned to better equip her students with critical thinking and problem solving skills. Consequently, in 2016 she introduced a student orientated assessment to her Advanced Specialised Liability Insurance honours course and have been adapting it every year with the feedback received from the students.  Benvenuti was part of the advisory team on the initial design of the PGDipHE when it was first introduced at Wits. She was asked to mentor candidates and worked with MacGregor to conceptualise her initial assessment task and to evaluate and critique it afterwards. The initial iteration provided some very interesting outcomes and they pursued it as a research project, undertaking evaluations and making changes and adjustments in accordance with the assessment literature.

MacGregor and Benvenuti are working on a number of publications relating to student-orientated assessment. They won R100 000 for the team award.

Source Wits’ shining stars celebrated

Dr Petro Jansen van Vuuren from the Wits School of Arts received the Vice-Chancellor’s Individual Teaching Award. Janse van Vuuren, a lecturer and postgraduate supervisor in the Drama for Life PhD programme receives this award for shaping and coordinating the Drama for Life PhD programme from 2017 to 2019. She is also the winner of the 2019 Faculty of Humanities Teaching Award. Under her leadership, a PhD level short course titled Preparing for Doctoral study in the Arts was developed to prepare students for doctoral study. She has also been instrumental in finding innovative solutions to the challenges faced by the Drama for Life Department, and in growing the PhD cohort.

Dr Alex van den Heever and Murray Cairns from the School of Governance were recipients of the Vice-Chancellor’s Team Teaching Award. The duo were rewarded for pioneering high-quality online education in the Wits School of Governance. The School was selected to pilot an online postgraduate diploma in public development management as part of the University’s initial foray into full online (as opposed to blended) learning. After almost two years, the School now has a powerful set of online offerings. The success of the course was also dependent on the production of high quality, cost-efficient video recording and editing expertise and to this end, the duo negotiated a partnership with the Wits Film and Television department. They also succeeded in persuading a number of academic staff to convene full courses online, and/or to lecture or be interviewed online. The duo also reviewed the entire diploma and online offering themselves to ensure that it was of the highest quality and that it met the standards of the Centre for Higher Education and Training.

Source Vice-Chancellor honours outstanding Wits staff

Dr Susan Harrop-Allin, a lecturer in the Wits School of Arts’ Music Division was awarded the VC’s Individual Teaching Award. Harrop-Allin’s interest and the love for music stems from her fifteen years in higher education, teaching arts and development work. She has taught and developed courses in eight areas of music, the arts and education, bringing her expertise in curriculum and materials development, project management, teaching methodologies and fundraising to bear on her work at Wits. She recently received the 2018 Research Award for the highest cited humanities research, the 2017 Humanities Faculty Teaching awards and the 2018 Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa Teaching Award. The criteria for the awards were based on Community Music and Music Education, where her contribution was developing new areas of music studies that are precedent setting in South African higher education. 

The VC’s Teaching Team award was awarded to a group of five academics who are passionate about teaching architectural design to first years students. The winning team, who are also professional architects teach Architectural Design and Theory I course (ARPL1000) in the first year of the Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) degree in the School of Architecture and Planning (SoAP). The team uses a collaborative teaching approach based of collectivist philosophies drawn from Indigenous Knowledge Practices.

The whole team is involved in-group projects in the feedback and assessment of student work, contributing individual formative insights and then making a collective assessment of the work. For individual projects, each team member gives feedback to 18 students during a one-day studio session, divided into three or four smaller cohorts who participate in each other’s critique sessions, learning from each other’s feedback. For final assessments, each team member evaluates each student’s outcomes, the team compares and discusses these and consolidates collective feedback on one student feedback rubric. 

Source VC rewards sterling Witsies



The Wits eFUNDANATHI Team, comprising Paula Barnard, Janine van der Linde, Lebo Bogoshi and Phiwe Dlamini was presented with the Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching and Learning Team Award. The eFUNDANATHI i eLearningTeam is based in the School of Therapeutic Sciences and was acknowledged for its pioneering, excellent work that has had a major impact on teaching and learning. The team has undertaken the responsibility for introducing and orientating first year undergraduate and postgraduate students to the University’s online platforms in order to ensure basic digital literacy amongst students. The team trains staff and students on the use and integration of blended online learning strategies andtools, including the use of virtual learning environments to manage course content, online examinations and plagiarism scanning. It also extends to curriculum redesign at a modular, course and degree level. The team further displayed their collaboration and support of other team members.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching and Learning Individual Award was awarded to Dr Ufuoma Akpojivi, from the Media Studies Department, who was recognised for his significant contribution towards enhancing the teaching and learning experience to enable student development and growth. “The results of the course and lecturer evaluation conducted by the Centre for Learning and Teaching Development reflected that Dr Akpojivi had significantly exceeded the University’s average assessment for teaching and learning,” said Crouch.

Dr Akpojivi is also actively involved in designing and redesigning courses whilst genuinely caring for the welfare of students. “His commitment to excellent pedagogical practice combined with an interest in transformation is impressive,” added Crouch.

Source Wits Excellence Awarded