The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Professor Raisuyah Bhagwan from the Department of Community Health Studies received an award for teaching excellence during the National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards held last Friday, 23 November 2018 at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth.
Prof Bhagwan was recognised for her creative methodologies in teaching particularly the integration of indigenous knowledge, systems, narrative approaches that interweave stories of community into teaching and an emphasis on engaged approaches that recognises the importance of community spaces in learning more locally and contextually relevant knowledge.
Reacting to being announced as the winner, the elated Prof Bhagwan said, “The award was made to recognise excellent teaching practices at South African universities especially those academics who have an innovative philosophy and insights related to teaching excellence. This is a prestigious award for DUT, which has been recognised for its innovative teaching approaches but more importantly its emphasis on community engagement and teaching and learning.”
She also added that she has been invited by the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) to facilitate workshops on community engagement at other universities in South Africa.
Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu congratulated Prof Bhagwan on her remarkable achievement. “This is a great achievement that puts DUT on the national map in the area of teaching and learning. Congratulations to Prof Bhagwan on getting this toughly contested award,” he said.
“Even though we are, overwhelmingly and primarily, a teaching and learning University like all other universities in South Africa including those that may call themselves ‘research intensive’, we often let research and innovation sound more important. I am glad that through Prof Bhagwan’s example, we are being reminded again that teaching and learning are very important,” added Prof Mthembu.
The National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards have been in place since 2009. The recognition of excellence in teaching and learning is a partnership between the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA).
The awards aim to show support at a national level for excellence in teaching and learning in higher education. It also seeks to generate a cadre of academics who are identifiable and able to provide inspiration and leadership in teaching in their disciplines, institutions and regions; as well as to generate debate and public awareness about what constitutes teaching excellence in higher education.
Pictured: Professor Raisuyah Bhagwan receiving the award from Professor Livingstone Makondo.