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SU appoints two new deans
Author: Wayne Muller
Published: 20/01/2017

Stellenbosch University (SU) has appointed two new deans: Prof Nicola Smit will be the Dean of Law, while Prof Wikus van Niekerk will be the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.

Prof Smit (44), who succeeds Prof Sonia Human, completed her undergraduate studies in Law at the University of Pretoria, and received a doctorate in Law from the then Rand Afrikaans University (now the University of Johannesburg) in 2002.

Her field of study is Labour Law, and she has taught in this field at the Universities of Pretoria and Johannesburg, as well as at UNISA.

From 2010 to 2012, Prof Smit was the Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Johannesburg, and in January 2013, she was appointed Executive Dean of the Law Faculty at the North-West University's Potchefstroom campus.

She will take up her new position at SU on 1 August 2017.

Prof Van Niekerk (54), who completed his undergraduate studies in Engineering at SU, succeeds Prof Hansie Knoetze. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1994, and is currently studying towards an MBA at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town.

A registered professional engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa, Prof Van Niekerk was appointed professor at SU in January 2000. His research field is renewable energy and its contribution to mitigate climate change.

Since August 2006, he has been the Director of SU's Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies, and is also a founding director and shareholder of three companies who specialise in that field, namely Sound Research Laboratories South Africa, GeoSUN Africa, and Stelenergy (2013 to 2016).

Prof Van Niekerk takes up his position on 1 July 2017.