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Juanee Cilliers 2019 CHE-HELTASA National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award WinnersPROFESSOR JUANEÉ CILLIERS

Juaneé Cilliers is Professor and Head of Urban and Regional Planning at the North-West University (NWU), as well as Leader of the Research Program for Sustainable Planning, Development and Implementation within the Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management (UESM).

She holds a 4-year professional degree and Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning (both cum laude), a second Master’s degree in Economics, as well as a Doctoral Degree in Urban and Regional Planning. She is registered as a Professional Planner at the South African Council for Planners (SACPLAN) and a NRF-rated researcher.

She has collaborative research networks with researchers from Germany (Bauhaus University), Belgium (KU Leuven University), the Netherlands (Eindhoven University, and Wageningen University), Namibia (Namibia University of Science and Technology), Nigeria (University of Nigeria), Australia (Curtin University, Griffith University), the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) and the UN-Habitat. Locally she is the Principle Investigator for a NRF THUTHUKA project (2013-2017), two NRF Community Engagement projects (2015-2017 & 2019-2021), a DTI-NRF THRIP project (2015-2019), a Water Research Commission project (2016-2019) and she also collaborates with the South African Cities Network and the South African Day Organisation.

She is an editorial associate of the accredited Journal for Town and Regional Planning. She serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of the International Society for City and Regional Planners (ISoCARP).
To date she has successfully supervised 79 final year research projects, 27 MSc students, 7 PhD students and 3 Post-Doctoral Fellows. She has published 45 refereed journal papers, 67 conference papers, and 9 chapters in books. Her research has also enjoyed extensive media coverage, including appearances on national television, news and radio programmes. Since December 2017 she is the host of a weekly environmental talk on national radio (RSG) and presented various public lectures across the country in this capacity.

In 2019 she was the winner of the North-West University Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award, a finalist of the National Science and Technology Forum Awards (known as the Science Oscars of South Africa) – nominated for two categories, finalist of the Woman in Science Awards and recipient of the North-West Province Agriculturist of the year.

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Koni Benson 2019 CHE-HELTASA National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award WinnersDR KONI BENSON

Koni Benson is a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of the Western Cape, working in the areas of gender, urban, public, and oral history. Her research is on collective interventions in histories of contested development and the mobilization, demobilization, and remobilization of struggle history in southern Africa’s past and present. Her PhD drew on over 60 life narratives of women’s organized resistance to forced removals and for housing from the peak of apartheid to the present. Since 2006 she has been coproducing life histories of self-organization and unfolding political struggles of collective resistance against displacement and for access to land and public services (such as water, housing, and education) in South Africa.

These connections grew through the eight years she spent at the International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG) doing research and education work with trade unions and social movements. She is committed to creative approaches to history that link art, activism, and African history, and draws on critical approaches to people’s history projects, popular education, and feminist collaborative research praxis in her work with various student, activist, and cultural collectives in southern Africa.

She currently teaches courses on 19th century southern African history to 380 first year students; comparative slave rebellions in the Cape and the Caribbean to 280 second year students; and theories and practices of oral history and creative approaches to activist archives to post grads. She has previously taught courses on contemporary South African history, Gender History, and African History Through Comic Books: History for What and for Whom? She is also part of the facilitating collective of Know Your Continent (KYC), an African history popular education program and works with a range of radical education initiatives including the Interim People’s Library, the Radical Education Network, the Salt River Heritage Society, the Elaine Rosa Salo Reading Group, the African Water Commons Collective, and the Blue Planet Project.

Koni Benson is the author of Crossroads: I Live Where I Like, a graphic novel history series on women’s organized resistance to forced removals in Crossroads South Africa, 1975-2017, (illustrated by the Trantraal Brothers and published as a serial by Isotrope Media 2014-2017, and is forthcoming as a book with PM Press, 2020). She is the co-author with Faeza Meyer of Writing Out Loud: Interventions in the History of A Land Occupation (forthcoming). With Feminist Alternatives, she co-produced My Dream is to Be Bold: Our Work to End Patriarchy (Pambazuka/ Michigan State UP, 2010). Her writing has been published in various edited book collections, and by the Journal of Southern African Studies, African Studies Review, Feminist Africa, Gender Place and Culture: Feminist Geography, Education as Change, South African Labour Bulletin, Zambezia, Khanya College Journal, Pathways to Free Education, ILRIG, Zmagazine, and newspapers in South Africa, Canada, Kenya, and Namibia.

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Kathleen 2019 CHE-HELTASA National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award WinnersPROFESSOR KATHLEEN PITHOUSE-MORGAN

Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan is Professor of Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her students are mostly practising teachers with diverse educational backgrounds, teaching a variety of subjects in schools and higher education institutions. Her educational approach has developed through continuous dialogue between her professional learning research and her practice as a teacher educator. She facilitates inquiry-oriented learning through using arts-based and participatory modes, such as drawing, letter writing, mind mapping, poetry, smart phone text messaging, and performance. Course readings include an array of resources such as online talks, blog posts, and online magazine and newspaper articles. Using diverse methods and resources heightens engagement and deep thinking, dialogue and sharing, enjoyment, taking action, and emotional growth.

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Fayth 2019 CHE-HELTASA National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award WinnersASSOCIATE PROFESSOR FAYTH RUFFIN

Professor Ruffin’s career spans across law, business, government, the non-profit sector and academia. The former attorney was also a consultant to or manager of various public, commercial and non-profit organisations in the United States before joining UKZN in 2011. She is based in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, College of Law and Management Studies. Professor Ruffin emerges from at least five generations of teachers, preachers, spiritualists and justice seekers within both her maternal and paternal family-lines. She employs a number of liberation-oriented teaching philosophies such as DuBoisian pragmatism undergirded by African epistemologies and informed by a qualification’s NQF level. The previous Academic Leader for the Discipline of Public Governance (2015– 2017), introduced new pedagogical approaches and reshaped a number of module offerings into curriculum design and delivery by continuous integrated assessments. She spearheaded the creation and implementation of a discipline-based Academic Monitoring and Support (AMS) programme, including tutor training.

Her AMS system approach conceptualises students as knowledge-holders with tutors playing a vital role in meeting students where they are and nurturing their wellbeing and academic achievement in conjunction with lecturers and the wider university community.

Professor Ruffin’s career spans across law, business, government, the non-profit sector and academia. The former attorney was also a consultant to or manager of various public, commercial and non-profit organisations in the United States before joining UKZN in 2011. She is based in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, College of Law and Management Studies. Professor Ruffin emerges from at least five generations of teachers, preachers, spiritualists and justice seekers within both her maternal and paternal family-lines. She employs a number of liberation-oriented teaching philosophies such as DuBoisian pragmatism undergirded by African epistemologies and informed by a qualification’s NQF level. The previous Academic Leader for the Discipline of Public Governance (2015– 2017), introduced new pedagogical approaches and reshaped a number of module offerings into curriculum design and delivery by continuous integrated assessments. She spearheaded the creation and implementation of a discipline-based Academic Monitoring and Support (AMS) programme, including tutor training. Her AMS system approach conceptualises students as knowledge-holders with tutors playing a vital role in meeting students where they are and nurturing their wellbeing and academic achievement in conjunction with lecturers and the wider university community.

Professor Ruffin contextualises her varied teaching strategies to advance critical thinking, in-depth analysis and to identify and discern solutions for local/global problems based on real-life simulations and scenarios. She is an advocate of participatory learning oriented assessments that enable students’ ongoing and steady improvement in research, writing and in-class rebuttal debates and individual/group presentations. During class, Professor Ruffin engages tutors and students to subject debaters and presenters to lawyer-like interrogation that spur intellectual emancipation and generate feedback and forward. She emphasises teaching and learning as an instrumental component of postgraduate supervision. Therefore, she convenes a series of workshops and seminars for supervisees throughout the year that highlight epistemic freedom.

Consistent with African epistemologies, Professor Ruffin features experientialism in programme, module and overall curriculum development and delivery. She contributes University-wide by working with the DST-NRF Centre for Indigenous Knowledge Systems and developing a CHE/SAQA approved PGDip in AIKS for the College of Humanities. Professor Ruffin intertwines research and community engagement. Research project results have been presented locally, nationally and at Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, United Nations and World Justice Forum events.

She contextualises research findings to transform curriculum in an Africanised and entrepreneurial way. Professional affiliations include the African Governance Seminar Series network under the auspices of the African Peer Review Mechanism of the African Union.

Her multi-inter-transdisciplinary research interests revolve around global governance, indigenous knowledge systems, community-based justice systems, meta-sector networks, entrepreneurship, and higher education. UKZN conferred upon Professor Ruffin its coveted Distinguished Teacher’s Award in 2018. She holds best paper and best presentation awards from national and international conferences and community service awards. Professor Ruffin is a sought-after public speaker, has published widely, graduated numerous honours, master’s and doctoral students and regularly mentors colleagues and students; upholding her beliefs in the triumph of universal holism.

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