The University of Johannesburg (UJ) welcomes two Senior Director appointments: Prof Annah Moteetee and Prof Bettine van Vuuren. Prof Moteetee will lead the Postgraduate School (PGS), while Prof van Vuuren will be responsible for the Strategic Initiatives and Administration (SIA) portfolio.
In welcoming Prof Moteetee and Prof van Vuuren, Prof Saurabh Sinha, UJ Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Internationalisation, said he was excited about these appointments. “In addition to their prolific academic accomplishments, both academics are also excellent administrators. This is a unique and amazing combination – we look forward to a continued collaborative service with the institutional community.”
The Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, commended that both academics have first-hand experience regarding research, innovation and impact. “This is an exciting development for our University, particularly as the latter formulates at the junction of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and in delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” Prof Marwala also expressed the university’s continued attainment of transformation goals, in all dimensions of transformation, and apparent from these two appointments.
Professor Annah Moteetee holds a BSc degree, an M.Phil degree and a PhD degree (Botany). Her qualifications are from universities both in Southern Africa and the United Kingdom, supported through a British Council Scholarship, United Kingdom. She has supervised and co-supervised over 25 postgraduate students to completion, and is currently supervising six PhD and nine MSc students. She has published almost fifty peer-reviewed journal articles and made over fifty podium presentations at national and international conferences. Prof Moteetee is an NRF rated researcher (ethnobotany – medicinal plants; biosystematics; plant taxonomy). She has evaluated numerous dissertations and theses from several universities across South Africa, assessed several NRF funding applications, served in NRF review panels, reviewed many manuscripts for several national and international journals, and is currently a member of the Editorial Board for two journals. She served the Faculty of Science as Vice-Dean: Teaching and Learning, Acting Executive Dean and, most recently, as Head of the Department of Botany and Plant Biotechnology. Having been at all levels of academia, she has profound experience regarding postgraduate matters, the importance of postgraduate studies, in relation to research, innovation and internationalisation, and the realisation of impact from this nexus.
Professor Bettine van Vuuren holds a PhD degree (Zoology). Her qualifications are from universities both in Southern Africa and Europe. She joined the University of Johannesburg in 2011, where she became the Director of the Centre for Ecological Genomics and Wildlife Conservation. As a rated researcher of the NRF, her research expertise lies in molecular ecology, with an emphasis on understanding spatial biodiversity patterns and how biotic and abiotic drivers influence these. She serves as the South African National Council’s current Chair for SCAR (the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research) and various other SCAR-related programmes and groups. She has worked closely with government in drafting legislation around biodiversity conservation and management, and has strong links to various academic institutions, government and industry. Prof van Vurren has co-authored more than 100 research papers, hosted 16 postdoctoral research fellows and is/was involved in the training of 21 PhD and 30 MSc students. Over the years, she has brought closer the aspect of “big data,” in relation to conservation, and fostered conversations on “Conservation 4.0.” Prof van Vuuren will play a pivotal role regarding the Global Excellence and Stature (GES) strategy, in relation to research, innovation, and internationalisation; in particular towards operationalisation of GES 4.0 – contextualisation of the UJ GES strategy in relation to 4IR, towards the SDGs, and associated impact.