A tribute to Prof Brenda Leibowitz

The University community is saddened after learning about the passing of Professor Brenda Leibowitz on Thursday, 26 April 2018.

​Prof Brenda Leibowitz took up the Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at UJ in 2014. This was a groundbreaking initiative, being the first Chair of its kind in the country. The focus of the Chair was to advance teaching and learning scholarship at UJ and in the higher education sector, and Brenda was the obvious choice for the Chair.

In 2017 her status as a leading researcher in this field was rewarded and recognized through a DHET-funded Chair under the SARChI initiative in the field of post-secondary education: teaching and learning. She took up this SARChI Chair at the onset of 2018, thereby continuing and building on the work she had done while she occupied the UJ Chair.

Some of Brenda’s major projects included:

The influence of rurality on students’ transition to higher education

This project involves colleagues at the Universities of Bristol and Brighton in the UK, and at UJ, Rhodes and Fort Hare. The project on rurality obtained funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) and NRF in late 2016, and the outcomes establish important links between the issues of social justice and decolonization in higher education.

SOTL in the South

SOTL in the South aims at encouraging the scholarship of teaching and learning in the global South, as well as South-South dialogue and collaboration. In 2017, with colleagues at UJ, Brenda organized the first ‘SOTL in the South’ international conference. At this conference a journal, also called ‘SOTL in the South’ was launched, with an international editorial board and several members from UJ.

Teaching Excellence

The key activity within this project is the facilitation of the ‘Teaching Advancement at Universities (TAU) Programme’, which receives financial support from the DHET. This premier initiative focuses on the emergence of a cadre of top teaching academic across the country as change agents, scholarship of teaching and learning advocates, and excellent teachers.

Brenda’s latest book, Theorising Learning to Teach in Higher Education, was co-edited with Vivienne Bozalek and Peter Kahn, and published by Routledge.

Brenda has made a fundamental and enduring contribution to our academic understanding of teaching, globally and in our South African context. Her colleagues and students honour Brenda for her astute work in advancing the scholarship of teaching and learning at UJ and beyond. She will be fondly remembered for her fine intellect, her calm wisdom, her warmth and her kindness. Above all things, Brenda cared deeply for others.

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