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Chancellor's Awards honour staff's excellent performance
Author: Corporate Communication and Marketing | Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking
Published: 12/12/2022

This week, Stellenbosch University (SU) gave recognition to a cohort of staff members whose careers attest to sustained excellence in research, innovation, learning and teaching, social impact and professional services.

These staff members were awarded the University's prestigious Chancellor's Awards during the December 2022 graduation series. The awards are one of many forms of recognition for excellent performance.

The recipients for the 2022 Chancellors Awards include: 

Prof Eugene Cloete: The former Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, Cloete conducted tremendous work to establish an outstanding, leading research-intensive university, develop important partnerships and, at the same time, further expand postgraduate studies as an important sustainable building block to support research. He established cutting-edge entities, including the School for Data Science and Computational Thinking and the School for Climate Studies. Research outputs, research chairs, research funding and postdoctoral fellowships more than doubled during his tenure.

Prof Ilse Feinauer:  Prof Feinauer has established an exceptional research profile, both nationally and internationally. She is one of the founding members of the African Society for Translation Studies  and is a member of the executive board of the European Society for Translation Studies . Her continued involvement in international organisations and conferences led to the EST conference being held in Stellenbosch in 2019 – the first time it has been held outside of Europe. She is the first holder of the Ton and Anet Vosloo Chair in Afrikaans Language Practice in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch and is the vice-chair of the South African Academy of Science and Arts.

Prof Taryn Young: An expert in evidence-informed health care, Young has authored over 150 academic articles and secured R150 million in research grants. She is the Executive Head of the Department of Global Health, Head of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Director of the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care.  She collaborates with leading health and evidence-based institutions to advance the translation of science and her links with the provincial and national Departments of Health have led to evidence-informed policies. The leadership she provides in research capacity-building has positively embedded the scientific rigour and output of students, emerging and established researchers.

Prof Frenette Southwood: A leading scientists in child language studies and the foremost expert on language development in Afrikaans, Southwood co-directs the Child Language Development Research Node, where she leads a large-scale, multi-institutional initiative on early development in South Africa's 11 official languages. This project was a finalist for the prestigious UK–South Africa Newton Prize in 2020. An Alexander von Humboldt alumna, she makes significant contributions to Deaf studies, specifically the development of South African Sign Language curriculum material for schools for the Deaf. Her research has considerable social impact, with the creation of language assessments and interventions for South Africa's children.

Prof Anthony Vernon Naidoo:  Retiring at the end of 2022, Naidoo is a stalwart academic who has emphasised social impact over decades in his work. A professor of Psychology, with a specialisation in counselling and clinical and community psychology, he excelled in the core mandates of learning and teaching, research and innovation, transformative social impact, and academic management and leadership. The rich curriculum vitae of Naidoo demonstrates his excellent contributions in all modes of social impact at the University. He made direct inputs in the field of service learning and has helped to develop a scholarship of service learning in local and global contexts.

Daniel Ranna: A extraordinary employee who joined the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in 2006, Ranna has an always-ready-to-assist attitude. Ranna has developed personal connections with nearly every staff member and has the uncanny ability to remember everyone's stories. His presence in the faculty has made a big difference for many people over the past 16 years. He personifies SU's values of excellence, compassion, equity, respect and accountability, and we thank him for his admirable dedication.

Prof Susan van Schalkwyk: A leader and a teaching specialist in the health sciences, Van Schalkwyk's innovations feature projects that influence the work of students and staff, academia and industry. Her academic journey situated the Centre for Health Professions Education on an international stage, and she has also served as educational advisor for some major USA-based funds. She also leads several development initiatives of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and is the recipient of the SU Distinguished Teacher Excellence award and a teaching fellowship.

Prof Marena Manley: Manley made a significant contribution as educator and researcher in the Department of Food Science through supervision of 53 master's and 14 PhD students and five postdoctoral fellows. She has published 121 peer-reviewed publications and nine book chapters and has presented at over 160 national and international conferences, including keynote lectures. Notable highlights are the Excellence Award for Grain Research and Technology in 2010 and an invited review article in the prestigious journal Chemical Society Reviews in 2014. She also played a leading role in the establishment of Africa's first Vibrational Spectroscopy Unit at SU in 2018.

Johan Booysen: The departmental manager of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Booysen's contribution over 20 years has resulted in the continued growth of the Department, both in doubling research output and in playing a central role in the upcoming refurbishment of the Department. He is an encyclopaedia of institutional knowledge and can rightly be regarded as the backbone of the Department. He is an exceptional individual and an example to all in his professionalism and selfless dedication to Stellenbosch University.

Prof Steven Bradshaw: A distinguished professor at the Department of Process Engineering, Bradshaw has made significant contributions over a period of more than 30 years through his teaching, research, industry interactions, as well as academic leadership and management. He remains actively involved with curriculum renewal and module development and has received the Rector's Award for Teaching Excellence twice. He was the winner of The Engineer Technology and Innovation Award in 2008 and the SAIMM Gold Medal in 2016. He is recognised as being in the top 2% of researchers in the field of mineral processing and extractive metallurgy globally based on his research contributions.

Prof Johann Kirsten: The Director of the Bureau for Economic Research, Kirsten has made an exceptional contribution to research and evidence-led policy advice in the important area of agricultural policy. During an academic career spanning more than 25 years, he has published 130 articles in peer-reviewed journals and co-edited six books, in addition to successfully supervising 77 master's and 30 PhD students. Kirsten previously served as a member of the National Agricultural Marketing Council for a decade and currently serves as an independent non-executive director of the Land Bank. 

Reta Gelderblom: As a senior administrative officer in the Department of Economics in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Gelderblom has made an exceptional contribution. She is responsible for administering the Department's undergraduate programme. Her outstanding performance is based on unwavering, quality service delivery for more than two decades to approximately 2 750 undergraduate students and 25 staff involved in teaching the undergraduate modules. Her meticulous planning and efficient task execution have been commended by students and staff. Her adaptability and commitment to her tasks have made her the backbone of teaching and learning activities in the Department.

Ina Kruger: As secretary of the Department of Economics in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. She is solely responsible for all secretarial services to a department with approximately 38 staff members and 2 900 students. She has also assumed responsibility for tasks outside the ambit of her normal duties, completing work related to financial and research administration. The extent and quality of her services are consistently of the highest order. She is dedicated and resourceful and is the administrative pillar supporting the achievements of our students and staff.

Doris Peters: Peters has been involved in patent and trade mark registrations and fulfilled a crucial role in the University's start-up and spin-out company successes, with SU's Technology Transfer Office (TTO) managing the largest number of spin-out companies on the African continent. She identified a critical need for spin-out establishing processes for SU's Group of Companies and subsequently established a formal unit to address this issue. Peters also created and presented a Southern African Research and Innovation Managers Association training programme for TTO professionals, played a pivotal role in the establishment of the SU LaunchLab and serves as company secretary for numerous SU spin-out companies. She was awarded an American Association of University Technology Managers Scholarship for New TTO Professionals from Developing Economies.