UKZN Lecturer First Woman of Colour to Win Distinguished Teachers’ Award
UKZN’s School of Clinical Medicine Lecturer, Dr Jacqueline van Wyk, recently became the first woman of colour to be awarded the 2015 South African Association of Health Professions Educators (SAAHE) Distinguished Teachers’ Award.
The Award recognises her contribution to the creation of a community of practice in health science education, the development of a community through innovative educational processes and health service through research in education, and the creation of an environment to foster networking among educators and researchers.
Van Wyk was overjoyed about the accolade, ‘It is a great achievement to be nominated by your students,’ she said happily. ‘I am very excited since the recognition acknowledges teaching of staff and professional development as a scholarly activity.’
The award recognises an individual who has made a significant contribution to teaching in the health sciences or who has contributed to the development of scholarship in the discipline of health professions education.
Eligibility criteria for the nomination include to have been involved in the teaching of a health science discipline or the development and administration of health science education in a South African public Higher Education Institution.
Van Wyk was nominated by one of her post graduate students, Ms Deshni Naidoo, who is a Lecturer in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy. The nomination was seconded by Dr Fasika Amdeslassie of Ethiopia, whom she supervised on the Sub-Saharan Africa FAIMER fellowship programme.
Van Wyk has been teaching in Higher Education since 1995 and at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine (NRMSM) since 2000 when she was appointed as the education consultant to implement a problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum.
She has made a significant contribution to staff development and played various roles in the oversight of the curriculum which included the initial establishment of an integrated assessment office, improving of the quality of teaching and learning on the MBChB programme.
She served on each of the integrated theme design teams and on the assessment and curriculum design, and also played a central role in preparing for the Health Professions Council of South Africa’s (HPCSA) accreditation visits of the PBL programme.
Van Wyk has engaged in research of her own and has presented papers at both international and national conferences. These research projects have been in collaboration with colleagues both in South Africa and internationally.
She has worked to advance and disseminate research through her supervision and contributes to debates in health professions education through service as a reviewer for international and local journals. She serves as a Deputy Editor for the African Journal for Health Profession Educators (AJHPE).
Clinical Medicine Dean and Head of School, Professor Richard Hift, said health professions education as a discipline was central to the work of the School of Clinical Medicine and its sister schools contributing to the training of health professionals for South Africa.
‘We are fortunate to have a number of staff very active in the scholarship of teaching and learning in this area, who also contribute greatly to the development of health professions education nationally and internationally. Dr van Wyk is one such staff member, and this award is a well-deserved acknowledgement of the quality and importance of her work. Congratulations.’