The University of Johannesburg (UJ) takes pride in two lecturers who will receive the prestigious National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award, from the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA), a professional association primarily for educators in the tertiary sector.
The awards were established to generate a cadre of academics who are identifiable and able to provide inspiration and leadership in teaching in their disciplines, institutions and regions as well as to generate debate and public awareness about what constitutes teaching excellence in higher education.
In his response to the nomination and his award, Mr Baron said: ‘This award is really significant to me. It is an honour to receive this award and I accept it on behalf of all the learners who have contributed to this achievement being possible.’
Mr Baron moves away from a linear model of defined teacher-learner roles to one of shared responsibilities. He challenges the idea of power and control in the classroom. His classes succeed through learner cooperation and the individual learner’s gradual taking responsibility for their own learning. He promotes the learners’ involvement in setting the trajectory of the module and believes that learning should have personal meaning for it to be memorable. Student feedback on his teaching is overwhelmingly positive.
Says Nagdee: “South Africa is at a crucial point in its development where the economic legacy of the apartheid regime is still being undone. As academics, we have a central role to play in educating a new generation of learners who will not only be able to lift their families and communities out of poverty, but also as a collective be able to meaningfully shape the socio-economic and political landscape of our nation into one that is not only prosperous but fair, accountable and transparent at its core values and conduct. Through my work, I attempt to influence both current and future business leaders to embrace a consciousness of inclusive growth that will direct South Africa towards a new era of principled progress.”
Mr Baron and Mr Nagdee will receive their awards at the gala dinner of the annual HELTASA conference, which will be held in conjunction with the International Conference on Education Development, from 23- 25 November 2016, hosted at Cape Town.
Established in 2009, the awards are conferred to deserving higher education professionals who have shown consistent dedication and determination in their field while also impacting the lives of their students.