On the occasion of the annual breakfast hosted by the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences on 29 November 2018, the winner of the award for Best First-year Lecturer, as well as the winner of the newly introduced award for Best Lecturer for Senior Courses were announced.
The first of the abovementioned awards went to Dr Harry Wiggins from the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, and the second to Dr Jaco Visagie from the Department of Statistics.
Dr Harry Wiggins
The students who had nominated Dr Wiggins praised him in their comments, for example: ‘The first thing I learned about Dr Wiggins was his absolute passion for mathematics’ and ‘He was never late for a lecture and was always well prepared.’
Compliments for Dr Visagie were as favourable and included the following: ‘He teaches with passion and patience’; ‘His enthusiasm and patience encouraged me to work harder and study more efficiently’; and ‘He is motivational and inspires students to always strive for the best’.
Dr Jaco Visagie
The above awards were introduced by the Faculty’s student house, NATHouse, to acknowledge the effort that undergraduate lecturers put into their teaching. According to Dr Quenton Kritzinger, guardian of NATHouse, ‘… the lecturers’ efforts are really appreciated by the students and these awards serve as encouragement’.
Dr Wiggins admitted that he was ’very humbled by the NATHouse award. It is truly an honour to have been nominated and selected. It is heart-warming to know that students recognise the hard work I put into making each lesson an exciting learning experience. I am very passionate about teaching mathematics and sharing the beauty of the subject with my students. I take my teaching responsibility very seriously. My aim is to stimulate my students’ interest in the content that I am teaching, but also to show, by example, the importance of hard work. I am fully aware of the fact that first-year courses are important stepping stones for students towards their degrees, which will ultimately lead to careers; therefore it is important to produce students who are able to think scientifically and contribute to our beautiful rainbow nation.’
As the first recipient of the Best Lecturer for Senior Courses, Dr Visagie expressed his sincere gratitude to his students for nominating him and added: ’This would not have been possible without you. I am determined to work even harder at my teaching in future’.
The Executive Committee members of NATHouse were thanked for ensuring a successful event through their hard work, which included marketing, obtaining the nominations and organising the voting process.
The nominees for the Best First-year Lecturer award were Ms Christina Kraamwinkel, Ms Brenda Omachar, Prof Wentzel Schoeman, Dr Dolly Langa and Mr Gideon Brits. The nominees for the Best Lecturer for Senior Courses award were Dr Jandeli Niemand, Prof Adrian Shräder, Dr James Roberts, Dr Mapitisi Thantsha, Prof James Raftery, Prof Anabella Gaspar, Dr Carina Visser and Prof Christine Maritz-Olivier.