Gala Dinner: Academics awarded for teaching excellence

Gala Dinner: Academics awarded for teaching excellence

Award recipients

Qhawekazi Memani

On the evening of November 14, the Rectors’ Award for Teaching Excellence (RATE) were held at Emerald Hotel.  Shef and the Band provided the entertainment, on a night not to be forgotten.  Overall, 9 prizes were awarded, worth R126,000.

Recognition Awards category:

Ms Louisa Dihelena Japhta from the Legal Science Department was awarded for: recognising the differences amongst students and adapting teaching practice to accommodate her students’ challenges in teaching law. Her pedagogic practices are influenced by listening to her students and taking them along from where they are, assisting them to think imaginatively, critically and independently as well as making them understand that failure is not a death sentence, but rather a learning process to success.

Ms Onicah Matsheke from the Logistics Department was awarded for providing learning activities that lead students to engage with content because she believes learning is an active process of constructing rather than receiving knowledge. Providing students with real life problems to solve and collaborating with students to assist them to achieve their goals. She also believes in transparency in the assessment process and providing feedback to promote learning.

Ms Unity Mantakike from the Communications Department was awarded for showing that teaching experiences have been a growth process for both herself and her students. As a trained teacher she is aware of the different realities of the adult students in HE and adapts her teaching to always learn from and also facilitate students.

The Merit Awards category:

Ms Mathilda Laubscher from the Communications Department received an award for believing in learning about the student first and then teaching the curriculum, scaffolding learning experiences to ensure academic support for students’ success, pushing and celebrating their milestone successes.

Ms Renate Lenz, also from the Communications Department, was recognised for her passion which drives her to foster experiences that motivate students to want to know more. She believes in constructivism and holisitically nurturing the student to become independent and self-motivated in the learning process. She believes it is in that environment that students can be motivated to excel.

Mr Thebe Magapa from the Marketing Department at the Ekurhuleni Campus believes in just being the “guide on the side” to assist students to find solutions to problems themselves. She sees students as equal partners in the learning process and challenges them to think out of the box and seek deeper meaning of concepts. Teaching involves methods that assist students to effectively communicate newly acquired knowledge.

The Highest Recognition Award category:

Ms Ronnelle Prinsloo from the Legal Science Department advocates transparency in teaching, revealing why we do this and that and what the goal is. She highlights the critical role that learning objectives play and then encourages students to think deeply about concepts learnt in class. Recognising the differences in our students but forging ways to foster deep learning also providing multiple assessments to facilitate learning, she says.

Ms Mariette Bam of the Communications Department believes in motivating students to excel and achieve their goals. She focuses on motivating students using different systems and methods and pushes students to develop critical thinking skills where they seek to know and understand concepts in class.

Mr Roy Malon Shamhuyenhanzva, in the Marketing Department at the Ekurhuleni Campus received an award for his comprehensive philosophy indicating how learning theories are incorporated into the teaching practice. Using learning as a social construct, he then shows how that information is integrated into mental structure while taking his student along on the journey of discovery. Judges said he demonstrated the nurturing and transmission aspects of a facilitator while instilling deep learning and critical thinking for his students.


A special announcement was made for the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of South Africa (HELTASA) Commendation Award. Dr Thokozani Xaba, Chemistry Lecturer, received a commendation for teaching excellence and made history for VUT.

She is recognised on behalf of the CHE/HELTASA National Excellence in Teaching Awards Committee, which had a great pleasure in informing her that she has been commended for the impressive work she does in her discipline.

“Your work has positively impacted on student learning as the throughput rate in Chemistry 1 has increased phenomenally. The committee appreciated how you link your pedagogy with your interest in your students and the social impact of your discipline through promoting an appreciation of recycling among your students. Your deep understanding of your discipline and how the knowledge is used to address social challenges (locally and internationally) is clear,” the committee said.

A certificate will be handed out at the annual HELTASA conference which will be hosted by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth this week.

Dr Xaba received the merit award from VUT in 2014 and got the highest recognition award in 2017 in the RATE Awards. As a winner, this year she participated in the national higher education teaching excellence awards. The national awards have five teaching excellence awards and three commendations selected from all the universities countrywide.

VUT is proud of Dr Xaba‘s achievements.

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