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27 September 2019
UWC Lecturer wins top award for excellence in learning and teaching

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) is pleased to announce that the University had a strong showing at the 2019 awards ceremony of the Higher Education Learning & Teaching Association of Southern Africa (Heltasa).

Dr Koni Benson, a lecturer from UWC’s Faculty of Arts, was awarded Heltasa’s Excellent Teacher Award. In addition, Dr Honji Conana and Dr Deon Solomons of UWC’s Maths Turnaround team each received commendations at the awards.

Dr Benson is the latest in a long line of UWC recipients of Heltasa awards. Only four awards were made in 2019. The national committee receives about 30 portfolios each year and shortlists about 10.

UWC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic, Professor Vivienne Lawack, was full of praise for Dr Benson, Dr Conana and Dr Solomons. She said learning and teaching was a top priority for UWC.

“This showcases sustained excellence in learning and teaching at UWC. We have been doing well over the last few years to receive both excellence awards as well as commendations. Dr Benson was awarded the Institutional Excellent Teacher award at our Academic Achievers’ dinner in April 2019,” said Prof Lawack.

“Our top priorities are excellence in learning and teaching and student success. It is heartening to see so many colleagues taking this seriously and thinking deeply about enhancing learning and student success through innovative and caring teaching practices. I wish all the awardees well, and they can be assured of our continued support.”

HELTASA, in collaboration with the Council on Higher Education (CHE), calls on universities to nominate candidates for the annual National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards. The awards are an opportunity to recognise and reward reflective, critical and contextually aware teaching across the higher education sector.

The aims of the Heltasa awards are:

  • To show support at a national level for excellence in learning and teaching in higher education;
  • To recognise a cadre of academics who are identifiable and able to provide inspiration and leadership in teaching in their disciplines, institutions and regions; and,
  • To generate debate and public awareness about what constitutes teaching excellence.

Past winners of Heltasa awards at UWC are:

2010: Viv Bozalek
2011: Delia Marshall
2012: Wendy McMillan
2014: Lindsay Clowes
2017: Bassey Antia and Charlyn Dyers (team award), and Bradley Rink

Past UWC commendations by Heltasa are:

2011: David Holgate
2013: Michael Rowe
2014: Sarojini Nadar
2018: Zannie Bock