UKZN Academic Nominated for Prestigious Award
UKZN School of Education academic, Dr Angela James, has been short-listed as a finalist in the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Awards in the category: Research or Engineering Capacity Development.
The NSTF is the most representative and long-standing non-profit body of science, engineering and technology (SET) and innovation stakeholders in South Africa. The NSTF recognises and celebrates individuals and teams through the NSTF Awards for outstanding contributions in SET and innovation, in partnership with South 32 (previously BHP Billiton) since 2011.
Said James ‘I am really ecstatic about this and grateful for being shortlisted as a finalist.’
For her nomination, she submitted her work on Developing Research and Service-Learning capacity among undergraduate student teachers in the Biological Science for Educators module, in the School of Education.
The focus of the Research and Service-Learning module is that as future teachers, the student teachers should be engaged in research and service-learning where they can apply the knowledge and skills developed, to their own teaching contexts, to enrich their teaching, learning of the learners and the living experiences of communities.
‘With this interest in research and service-learning, many students have applied for postgraduate studies and generate community projects in their schools as they are enticed and inspired by the work that they do in the undergraduate module,’ said James.
Her work has contributed largely in various communities and organisations. A placement site manager, said: ‘it is not just what they (the students) have done, but it is what they have left behind’.
She designed the Biological Science for Education module for student teachers in which they learn both research and service-learning knowledge and skills.
Said James: ‘The uniqueness is in the combination of research and service-learning as an integrated model for teaching students about and engaging them in the processes. The module according to students continuously challenged and pushed them to new limits, forcing them to change their perceptions and reasoning. Many students agreed with a statement made by student colleague, Mr Lungani N. Magwaza, that research and service-learning should be a compulsory module for all undergraduate students in Education, in fact, in any profession.
School of Education Acting Dean, Professor Thabo Msibi, applauded James for her nomination.
‘I’m delighted that Dr James has been nominated for such a prestigious award,’ said Msibi. ‘It is an important acknowledgement of the outstanding work she continues to do in the School and surrounding communities, aimed at strengthening knowledge and understanding in the life sciences. The nomination is important as science continues to be an area of struggle for many of our students.’