The University of Johannesburg (UJ) continues to prove that the quality and expertise of its academics and researchers are of a high calibre and exemplifies global stature and excellence.
Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, named UJ’s Professors Leila Patel and Marie Poggenpoel, as Distinguished Women Researchers in the Humanities and Social Sciences category, at the Department of Science and Technology’s (DST) 2014 Women in Science Awards (WISA) on Friday, 15 August 2014. WISA recognises outstanding contributions of female scientists and researchers in science and technology education, training and employment in South Africa.
Prof Patel and Prof Poggenpoel were among the top South African female scientists honoured by the DST. Apart from paying tribute to exceptional women in the realm of science and research the Awards also aim to encourage and inspire younger women who to contribute to science in South Africa.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, the Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor, encouraged more women to participate in science. “The WISA finalists and winners will be invited to participate in science awareness campaigns led by the Department to serve as role models for other women, particularly young girls,” she said.
About UJ’s Distinguished Woman Researchers
Prof Leila Patel
Leila Patel received her PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand. She is currently a Professor of Social Development Studies and Director of the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) – which she founded in 2002 – at UJ.
Her community engagement and research on “grassroots social welfare” in the 1980s laid the foundation for future welfare policy options in a post-apartheid society. This early work continues to inspire her current research and the development of a new generation of scholars.
Prof Patel’s book Restructuring Social Welfare Options for South Africa, published in 1993, provided the conceptual basis for the social development approach to social welfare in South Africa.
Her subsequent book, Social Welfare and Social Development in South Africa in 2005, set out the theory and practice of developmental welfare.
She was appointed Director-General of the then Department of Social Welfare in 1995. In this capacity, she and a team of public officials and independent researchers were instrumental in transforming South Africa’s welfare system. The applied nature of her research has contributed in part to social policy reforms in welfare services and social protection, which is reaching close to 40% of SA’s poorest. Prof Patel collaborates actively with international scholars on various research projects. In 2013, she was awarded the Helen Harris Perlman Visiting Professorship of International Social Welfare at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.
Prof Marie Poggenpoel
Marie Poggenpoel received her DPhil in psychiatric nursing in 1982 from Potchefstroom University (now North-west University). She is a Professor with the Department of Nursing at UJ.
She is the coordinator of the Master’s in the Psychiatric Nursing Programme, chairperson of the Nursing Science Committee and chairperson of the Research Ethics Committee of UJ’s Faculty of Health Sciences.
She also serves on the Human Subjects Research Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of the Witwatersrand, and on the board of the Academy of Nursing of SA.
Prof Poggenpoel is the editor-in-chief for HealthSA Gesondheid and serves on the editorial boards of Education and Change, Qualitative Health Research and Clinical Nursing Science.
For the past ten years her focus in research has been on aggression in South African society.
She has been a National Research Foundation-rated researcher since 2002. She received the Iris Marwick Gold Medal from the South African Nursing Association in 1992 for her exceptional contribution to psychiatric nursing.
In 2002, she won the Stals Prize for Nursing from the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns for her outstanding contribution to nursing and human sciences.
The International Institute for Qualitative Methodology of the University of Alberta, Canada, presented her with a leadership award in 2007. In 2009, the Educational Association of South Africa awarded her a Sanlam-EASA Gold Medal for her contributions to educational research. She received the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame Award from Stigma Theta Tau International, the Honour Society of Nursing, in 2013.