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Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University staff making major strides in their respective academic fields were lauded for their work at the prestigious Research, Teaching and Engagement Excellence Awards last night.

The annual awards, which are a major highlight in the university calendar, saw staff from various faculties recognised in the fields of research, teaching, innovation, engagement and the creative and performing arts.

For staff to qualify for the rigorous selection process, strict criteria need to be met, including having a high degree of subject discipline and knowledge, proven expertise in approaches to teaching and learning, leadership, reputation among students and peers as well as excellence in engagement activities.

Senior physics lecturer Professor Ernest Van Dyk and his team scooped the Innovation Excellence Team award for their innovative work in photovoltaics, while Senior Systems and Controls engineer at eNtsa, Akshay Lakhani was awarded the Innovation Excellence for a smartphone app that would prevent the unauthorised use of disabled parking bays.

Leadership and training manager Kim Elliott’s 67 Hours Programme, which has received positive feedback from students, took the Engagement Excellence Team Award for the volunteer programme that encourages students to be active global citizens.

The 67 Hours Programme – which is one of the that the university is ensuring it produces academics who are not only well learned, but also socially aware – also walked away with the Teaching and Learning Excellence team award.

NMMU School of Media, Art and Design principal lecturer Mary Duker and head of ceramics Bianca Whitehead, who were the artists behind the three-metre-high iconic “The Madiba Shirt” sculpture, received the Performing and Creative Arts award, while Andrieta Wentzel took the public art category of the award.

Popular management science lecturer Paul Tai-Hing (pictured right) was lauded with the Excellent Teacher of the Year award for his efforts in producing more “marketable” students, while Nadine Strydom (left) walked away with the Researcher of the Year award for her research and expertise on fish larvae and their impact on future fish populations.

Other award recipients:

Faculty Emerging Excellent Teachers

Shelley Saunders

Candyce Clark

Tina Hokwana

Richard Betz

Faculty Excellent Teachers

Claudette Leppan

Paul Tai-Hing

Shervani Pillay

Sue Petratos

Samantha Kahts

Mark Tait

Faculty Emerging Researchers of the Year

Primrose Mfene

Tony Matchaba-Hove

Eileen Scheckle

Roy Cumberlege

Margaret Williams

Leah Ndimurwimo

Richard Betz

Faculty Researchers of the Year

Derek Taylor


Lyn Webb

John Smallwood


Andre Mukheibir

Graham Kerley

NMMU Engagement Awards

NMMU Emerging Excellence Engagement Award

Gareth Williams

NMMU Engagement Excellence Project Award

Missionvale Community Psychology Centre

NMMU Engagement Excellence Team Award

Destination NMB

NMMU Engagement Excellence Team Award


NMMU Engagement Excellence Award

Raymond Auerbach

NMMU Teaching and Learning Excellence: Team Award

67 Hours Team – Kim Elliott to collect on behalf of Team               

Commendations for Teaching Excellence

Sue Petratos

Margie Childs

Samantha Kahts                              

NMMU Distinguished Teacher Award

Sue Burton                                                                                                                    

Research Excellence Awards


Andre Calitz