Prof Liesel Ebersöhn, Director of the Centre for the Study of Resilience and professor in the
Department of Educational Psychology was awarded one of the eight Exceptional Academic
Achievers Awards made at a Gala Dinner in March. This Academic Achievers Award function is one of the highlights on the University of Pretoria’s calendar.
This award is made annually to senior academics who have already achieved the status of professor,
are regarded highly by their peer and have consistently excelled in the areas of under-and
postgraduate teaching and learning, research, community service and administration over a period of time. Any academic who has been awarded a A-rating by the NRF in the year under consideration automatically qualifies as an Exceptional Achiever as long as he or she remains as A-rated researcher.
Prof Liesel Ebersöhn is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Resilience and a professor in the
Department of Educational Psychology in the Faculty of Education.
As NRF-rated researcher, Prof Ebersöhn is regarded as a leading scholar and teacher in resilience and resilience promoting interventions in high-risk school settings. Her research is positioned in contexts characteristic of an emerging economy country in transformation. She combines emancipatory and intervention methodologies to investigate pathways to resilience as human-ecological and cultural
adaptive responses to chronic and cumulative adversity. Her recognised scientific contributions
include a generative theory (relationship-resourced resilience) describing an emic system to counter chronic adversity, as well as ‘flocking’, a word she coined to depict a collectivist indigenous psychology pathway to resilience.
Prof Ebersöhn is the appointed Secretary-General of the World Education Research Association
(WERA). She served as Chair of the International Research and Scholarship Committee (Division C, Learning and Instruction, of the American Educational Research Association), and was the South African international representative to the Building Resilience in Teacher Education (BRITE) Project Reference Group, Murdoch University. She presented a plenary session in March 2016 as an invited speaker to the Global Development Network 17 th Annual Conference in Lima and at a symposium on Indigenous Pathways to Resilience at the 2014 meeting of the American Psychological Association.
She was visiting professor at Yale University and Edith Cowan University. Her research focus has had a decided impact on curricula for teacher training in several higher education institutions in South Africa. With students, co-researchers and as a single author, Prof Ebersöhn has contributed more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, numerous book chapters and several edited and co-authored books. Her teaching and research outputs attest that higher education can effectively integrate research, teaching and learning as well as community engagement. Her pedagogy aligns with global citizenship and education as key strategies to restructure postcolonial conditions.