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Vice-Chancellor recognises academic excellence

The University of Venda held the prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Annual Awards for Excellence in Research and Innovation, Teaching and Learning, and Community Engagement. It was to honour academics and researchers who worked hard with allegiance, commitment and contribution to the university in the respective three areas of university core business. The awards ceremony was held at Porche-Villa Hotel and Conference Centre in Muledane, outside Thohoyandou on 28 July 2017. The awards ceremony has become a tradition in the University’s annual calendar because it recognises exceptional performance for sustained and outstanding achievements in research and innovation, teaching and learning and community engagement activities.



Some of the recipients pose for a photo with some members of senior management.

The University Registrar, Professor Edward Nesamvuni, said that the University really appreciates the support that UNIVEN is receiving from its stakeholders including the Office of the Premier of the Province.



Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Professor Jan Crafford and University Registrar Prof Edward Nesamvuni

Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Professor Jan Crafford said that it is of utmost importance to celebrate excellence. “We should honour the individuals who excelled despite the constraints faced. Our research growth has been exponential. We have been doing well in the growth of our research output. Our research should change the communities’ lives.” Professor Crafford added.

“We have to balance between research, and teaching and learning. We have to re-ignite the passion of academics and the core business will always be prioritised,” Prof Crafford concluded. Prof Crafford, who was disappointed with the poor attendance, encouraged members of the University community to continue to attend the awards ceremony in good numbers.



Dr Stanley Liphadzi from the Water Research Commision (WRC)

A UNIVEN alumnus, Dr Stanley Liphadzi who is the Group Executive Research from the Water Research Commision Pretoria said that the major challenge that the world is experiencing currently is the global change. “It is really affecting us and also the population dynamics. Population is increasing at a fast rate. In the next 30 years, we may be having a double population than we have right now,” added Dr Liphadzi. Dr Liphadzi further said that temperature increase is causing Malaria. “Innovation is our hope. It should be at the cornerstone of our livelihoods. We should be innovative in the research that we conduct,” added Dr Liphadzi.

He further said: “We must create a knowledge that will change people’s lives. We should never miss the opportunity to create something new. Partnership is very important. The edge of time is very important and you should publish your research on time. We should not discourage improvisation,” Dr Liphadzi added.

The Director of Research and Innovation, Senior Professor Georges-Ivo Ekosse, was ecstatic to announce that UNIVEN is improving in research and he said: “110 of our postgraduate students equally published out of 171 that graduated. The postgraduate students that we are training are publishing. Every academic has to publish.” Senior Professor Ekosse also said that according to the DHET mandate, every university member has to publish a minimum of 1.25 units per year. “In 2016, we had 323 active researchers reflecting 82% of our academic/research staff” added Prof Ekosse.



The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Prof Jan Crafford was among the recipients who were awarded for being an active researcher.



L-R: Prof Amidou Samie, Prof Godwin Mchau (middle) receiving the award on behalf of Prof Afam Jideani and Senior Prof Base Khoza - the best overall researchers

Professor Amidou Samie, Senior Professor Base Khoza and Professor Afam Jideani received the best overall researcher award comprising of certificate and a trophy. Professors Pascal Bessong, Stephan Foord, Winston Gitari, and Senior Professor Georges-Ivo Ekosse received commendations for best overall researcher.



L-R: DVC Academic, Prof Jan Crafford, University Registrar, Prof Edward Nesamvuni, Dean of the school of Human and Social Sciences, Prof Mokgale Makgopa and DVC Operations, Dr Robert Martin Furthermore, the School of Human and Social Sciences received the award for being the school with the highest number of active researchers.



The Dean of School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Professor Natasha Potgieter, was awarded the prize for being the supervisor with the highest number of research masters students that graduated during May and September in 2016. In addition, the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences was awarded the prize for being the school with the highest number of research masters students that graduated during May and September in 2016.



Professor Joseph Francis was awarded for being a promoter with highest number of Doctoral students that graduated during May and September 2016. The School of Human and Social Sciences received the award for being the school with the highest number of Doctoral students that graduated during May and September 2016.

Professor Pascal Bessong received the award for being the researcher with most external funds received in 2016 and the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences was awarded the prize for being the school with the most external funds received in 2016.



Prof Maria Maputle received the award for being the researcher with most research output in DHET accredited lists of journals for 2015 and a total of 110 students were awarded for being postgraduate students who published in DHET accredited lists of journals for 2015.

A total of 59 academic staff were awarded prizes for being researchers whose Research Publications Output were equal or more than 1.25 units in 2015.



The School of Health Sciences was awarded the prize for being the school with the most research output in DHET accredited lists of journals in 2015.



It is worth indicating that UNIVEN’s 26 NRF rated researchers also received awards.

The main purpose of the Vice Chancellor’s Excellence awards in teaching is that individuals who have achieved excellence as teachers can be honoured, recognized and rewarded. The Director of CHETL Professor Nancy Mutshaeni applauded those who made it and worked hard to make a difference in benefiting University of Venda community. She added that, “The Portfolio building ensures that an academic is able to reflect on various areas of excellent teaching such as teaching and learning practice, curriculum design, assessment planning, student feedback and research on teaching and learning related areas”. “Therefore, through a reflective exercise, an academic becomes conscious of strengths, areas for development and opportunities that exist in their teaching and learning practice.” Before she handed out the certificates and awards, Professor Mutshaeni stated that academics who excel in the institutional Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Awards in Teaching and Learning should keep up the good work in improving the academic structure.



Dr Mary Maluleke second from right - the best overall winner in the category of Teaching

A Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Geo-Information Sciences, Mr Edmore Kori, won the lecturer award while Dr Mary Maluleke, a senior lecturer in Advanced Nursing Science won the senior lecturer award. An Associate Professor in Microbiology, Professor Afsatou Traore, won the associate professor award. In addition to that, Dr Mary Maluleke was the best overall winner in the category of Teaching under CHETL.





Dr Emmaculate Ingwani is the winner for Excellence in Engaged Teaching and Learning and Farai Dondofema receives an award under a category of Excellence in Social Responsivenes programmess

Professor Vhonani Netshandama, Director of Community Engagement gave an expression of gratitude to the School of Agriculture, Institute for Rural Development and two recipients who won in community engagement, Dr Emmaculate Ingwani for Excellence in Engaged Teaching and Learning and Farai Dondofema under a category of Excellence in Social Responsiveness Programmes. “I feel so overwhelmed to be here and present the good work done by the School of Agriculture and two recipients who excelled in community engagement, let us all make it a point to help our communities in development”

The awards were also attended by Mr Mosa Mabuza from Council of Geosciences and Mrs Joyce Mokobi from Limpopo Office of the Premier.


Issued by:
Department of Communications and Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: 015 962 8525
Date: 07 August 2017