Stellenbosch University
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Meet the Teaching Excellence Award winner from FMHS
Author: Asiphe Nombewu /Corporate Communication
Published: 01/11/2019

​​​Dr Karin Baatjes, a lecturer from Stellenbosch University's (SU) Departments of Biomedical and Surgical Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), shares details about her teaching career after being awarded a Developing Teacher's award for 2019.

Launched in 2017, the the Stellenbosch University Teaching Excellence Awards acknowledge lecturers in two categories, 'Distinguished Teacher' and 'Developing Teacher', based on their experience and leadership in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Applicants had to submit a portfolio that demonstrated their reflection on and evidence of four main components: context, students, knowledge and professional growth. They also had to indicate the lessons they had learnt on their journey to becoming excellent teachers.

Why did you choose teaching as a career?

Teaching is not my career, but it forms an integral part of my clinical practice as surgeon. It is a natural part of my work in a teaching hospital

How long have you been teaching?

 I have been teaching for 19 years.

What have been some of your career highlights?

Completing the MMed and PhD in Surgery stands out as some of my career highlights.

What have been some of the biggest career challenges?

Balancing academic career pursuits, clinical service delivery and personal life.

Why did you enter into this award?

I saw the compilation of the teaching portfolio as a means to reflect on my teaching practice and to gain insights into where I should improve upon.

What does it mean to win the Developing Teacher award?

It is a great honour and marks recognition by peers and seniors of the efforts that one puts in towards improvement of graduates and health care.

What impact will this award have on your teaching career going forward?

 The award serves as a boost to enhance my growth and development in the educational sphere.

When you are not busy teaching, what are some of your favourites hobbies and why?

I spend time with my family and I am a social runner.

What do you hope to impart to students that you teach?

I wish to impart more than just theoretical knowledge, I wish for students to recognise in my behaviour, an example of the demeanour and conduct of a medical professional.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I am hoping to establish a well-functioning division in the next five years and to see expansion in terms of capacity of the team as well as new research endeavours.

*The above-mentioned candidate will receive her award during a ceremony at the end of the fourth quarter.

For more information about the Teaching Excellence Awards, contact Dr Karin Cattell-Holden at or 021 808 3074.