Professor Ahmed Bawa, the DUT Vice-Chancellor had a special meeting with the two DUT teaching excellence awardees for 2012 at his office, Milenna Court, DUT Steve Biko Campus, this week where he congratulated them and expressed his appreciation for their commendable work.
The awardees who met with Prof Bawa on Monday (18 February 2013) will be honoured formally during the DUT Autumn graduation ceremony. They have received DUT trophies for their excellent work in the interim.
From the Department of Information Technology in the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics, Lecturer Cassim Vanker received the DUT Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence while Roshnee Sunder, a Lecturer from the Department of Radiography in the Faculty of Health Sciences received the DUT Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence as well as the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award. Late last year (2012), Sunder received a Teaching Excellence Award from the Higher Education Learning and Training Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) for her exceptional teaching technique.
The DUT Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence is conferred to lecturers who have made a substantial contribution towards enhancing the quality of learning and teaching in the University. The Vice Chancellor’s award is conferred to one awardee in the aforementioned area.
Prof Bawa said while the teaching excellence awards were established only recently, a very important tradition has been started at the University. He added that teaching and learning is a fundamental part of the institution, saying that both Sunder and Vanker have played immense roles in this regard. “You (Sunder and Vanker) have started an amazing tradition. Dr Mark Hay said there’s a special thing that’s happening at DUT, and you have to take him seriously because he’s one of the national experts,” said Prof Bawa, adding that while DUT is working towards becoming a research intensive university, the institution is doing a “pretty good job” at graduating students. Commending the two awardees, he called them “shinning lights” in terms of teaching excellence.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic, Professor Nomthandazo Gwele echoed Prof Bawa’s sentiments, saying the awardees have set the bar high for their successors. “I’m very excited about the two awardees’ achievements. They’ve set the bar high. DUT is not stopping now. They’ve shown us the way and we’re ready to go higher,” said Prof Gwele.
Both Sunder and Vanker seemed to have one thing in common, a passion for teaching- something their colleagues and superiors have also noticed.
According to Saleem Kharwa, the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics Deputy Dean Vanker is a proactive lecturer. “Many universities don’t have linkage and exposure to industry. Because of Cassim, DUT has collaborations with companies like Microsoft and Vodacom. More want to come on board. Students can now develop applications that are downloaded around the world. He is an innovator and implementer,” he said.
The Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Lina Puckree said she is proud of the excellent work done by Sunder and her Department, adding that other departments will now emulate this conduct.
Radiography HOD Nalene Naidoo said the Department is ecstatic about Sunder’s success, saying she is a twenty-first century thinker. “She thinks outside the box, and other lecturers in the department are inspired by her achievements,” said Naidoo.
Vanker, who has been at DUT for 10 years, shared his success with the entire DUT community, saying the University has an “ecosystem” which ensures that teaching and learning is given the necessary support. “We have to share this achievement with everyone; from the PR unit which ensures that our endeavors as a department get the necessary attention, Procurement which helps us with finance, etc. I salute everyone, they are included in this (achievement),” said Vanker.
Sunder thanked Naidoo for being a “great HOD”. She (Sunder) said she is passionate about teaching and learning, adding that while she is a researcher, she also conducts research in class on a daily basis. “You (as a lecturer) evaluate what you do to suit new students,” she said.
– Naledi Hlefane and Sinegugu Ndlovu
Pictured: The two lecturers who continue to make DUT proud. In the first picture, IT Lecturer Cassim Vanker (centre) who received the DUT Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence is pictured with DVC: Academic, Prof Nomthandazo Gwele (left) and DUT Vice-Chancellor Prof Ahmed Bawa moments after receiving his award. In the second picture, Roshnee Sunder, Radiography Lecturer receives the DUT Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence as well as the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award. Sunder received a Teaching Excellence Award from the Higher Education Learning and Training Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) for her exceptional teaching technique late last year (2012).