Distinguished Teachers Honoured at Gala Dinner
The Teaching and Learning Office recently hosted a gala dinner to honour two eminent academics who received Distinguished Teachers’ Awards during the 2015 Graduation ceremonies.
The academics are Dr Aneshkumar Maharaj of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS) and Professor Michael Savage of the discipline of Agrometeorology in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences.
In her welcome, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Professor Renuka Vithal, said the awards were designed to recognise innovative teachers of a high calibre.
Guest speaker, Professor June Pym, who is the Director of the Education Development Unit (EDU) at the University of Cape Town’s Commerce Faculty, delivered a presentation titled: Shifting Teaching and Learning practices in Higher Education.
She encouraged change in teaching practices, touching on things which make a difference to first-generation higher education students’ learning experiences and environment.
Recipient of the Harvard/Mandela Fellowship (2003/2004), Pym said three important aspects were involved in the learning experience: knowing what you want your students to achieve; the levels of student engagement; and developing a community of learners. She added that it was important that students expressed themselves in a language they were comfortable with.
Maharaj and Savage both expressed their joy at receiving the awards, thanking the University, students and colleagues for their continued support.
Maharaj said the award brought back a lot of good memories. He advised lecturers to teach the students they have and not students they would like to have.
Commended for his ability to break down complex issues, Savage said the award was humbling and he dedicated it to his wife and his postgraduate students.