Prof Paulette Bloomer is the new Deputy Dean for Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (NAS) effective from 1 April 2020 until 31 March 2024. She succeeds Prof Marietjie Potgieter who finished her seven-year tenure at the end of February this year.
"It is important to note that while focusing on our priorities, we need to acknowledge that teaching and research excellence are inextricable. Therefore we should never see the strategic UP objectives as exclusive of each other," Prof Bloomer said when asked what she envisages for the Faculty's Teaching and Learning portfolio.
"In the rapidly changing, complex world of today, we need to maintain our emphasis on depth of disciplinary knowledge, associated skills and applications of the knowledge, relevant to and impactful on the grand challenges of South Africa and Africa in particular. However, we should consciously remind students of the nature of science, introduce them to the concepts of multi‐, inter‐ and trans‐disciplinarity and embed activities that develop their cross‐cutting and soft skills."
Prof Bloomer also highlighted how relevant and significant the well-known African proverb of 'it takes a village to raise a child' is in the tertiary environment. "This is true for our students on their path to becoming successful graduates and responsible citizens. We need to maintain and enhance our collective efforts to contribute to our students reaching their full potential."
She also paid tribute to Prof Johann Engelbrecht, the first Deputy Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Faculty, and to her predecessor Prof Potgieter, who launched many successful initiatives and established structures to holistically support teaching and learning in the Faculty.
Professor Bloomer joined the Department of Genetics as a lecturer in 1999. She has been the Head of Department of Genetics for two terms (January 2010 to December 2017) and of the Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology from January 2018 to February 2020.
Her main research interests are vertebrate phylogeography and conservation genetics. She has supervised or co-supervised close to 100 honours, MSc, PhD and postdoctoral students and researchers. She has been the co-author of 90 peer-reviewed papers, conference proceedings and technical reports and currently holds an NRF C2 rating. Prof Bloomer is also very passionate about teaching. Over the 21 years of her UP academic career, she has lectured across all undergraduate levels. Every year she is part of at least one undergraduate module and several modules at honours level.
We are proud of Professor Bloomer and wish her well on her appointment as the Deputy Dean: Teaching and Learning and as a member of the University's management team.