13 June 2024 | Story Jacky Tshokwe | Photo Supplied
The Humanities Awards 2024
From left: Prof Danré Strydom, Prof Kobus Marais, Dr Alta Grobbelaar and Dr Alison Stander were among the award recipients.

On the evening of 4 June 2024, the prestigious Blue Gem Restaurant hosted an event that was a highlight on the academic calendar of the University of the Free State (UFS), with the keynote speaker Prof Mogomme Masoga, Dean of the Faculty of The Humanities. The Faculty of The Humanities Awards are designed to honour and celebrate the outstanding achievements of the faculty members in the fields of teaching and learning, curriculum development, research, and the arts. These awards are not merely accolades, but symbols of our commitment to fostering a culture of excellence and innovation within our academic community.

The Faculty of The Humanities Awards are integral to recognising the relentless dedication and exceptional contributions of our academics. These awards aim to honour those who consistently go above and beyond in their professional duties, significantly impacting both their students and society at large. The awards embody the UFS’ Vision 130, emphasising a student-centred and research-led approach. By celebrating these achievements, we aim to inspire continued excellence and drive forward our mission of engaged scholarship and transformative education.

Promising an evening of inspiration and recognition, the event commenced with a keynote address by Prof Mogomme Masoga, who undoubtedly set the tone with his insights on the critical role of humanities in today's academic and social landscapes.

The event began with a warm welcome reception where guests were greeted with refreshments and had the opportunity to network. Prof Mogomme Masoga delivered the opening remarks, after which the attendees enjoyed a fine dining experience at the Blue Gem Restaurant. The highlight of the evening was the awards ceremony, during which awards were presented to distinguished faculty members. The event concluded with the closing remarks and an additional opportunity for networking, allowing attendees to celebrate and discuss the future of humanities at the UFS.

Award Categories and Criteria

1. Teaching methods and assessment: Dr Alta Grobbelaar

This award recognised innovative and effective teaching strategies and assessment methods that enhanced student learning. Dr Alta Grobbelaar was acknowledged for her exemplary approaches that created engaging and inclusive learning environments.

2. Digitalised teaching and assessment: Dr Alison Stander

With the rapid advancement of technology, this award highlighted excellence in the integration of digital tools and platforms in education. Dr Alison Stander has set a benchmark in digital teaching, utilising cutting-edge technologies to enhance the learning experience.

3. Curriculum development, transformation, and renewal: Prof Neo Lekgotla Laga Ramoupi

Recognising efforts in modernising and transforming curricula to meet contemporary needs, this award honoured Prof Neo Lekgotla Laga Ramoupi's work in developing programmes that were inclusive, relevant, and forward-thinking.

4. Early career research: Dr Nonki Motahane

This award celebrated promising research achievements by early-career academics. Dr Nonki Motahane has demonstrated remarkable potential and productivity in her research endeavours, contributing valuable knowledge to her field.

5. Research with international impact: Prof Kobus Marais and Prof Danré Strydom

Given to researchers whose work has garnered international recognition and significantly impacted their disciplines, this award honoured Prof Kobus Marais and Prof Danré Strydom for their ground-breaking research that transcended borders and enhanced global knowledge.

Dr Sebolao expressed her gratitude to all achievers, "Your commitment to Vision 130 and your exemplary scholarship are a testament to the transformative power of the Humanities. Congratulations on your remarkable achievements and thank you for making a positive impact on our students and society."

The Faculty of The Humanities Awards were a testament to the exceptional talent and dedication within our university. By celebrating these achievements, we not only honoured individual accomplishments, but also reinforced our collective commitment to academic excellence and societal impact. This event marked a significant milestone in our journey towards realising the UFS Vision 130 and shaping a brighter, more inclusive future for all.

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