2021 Faculty Award Winners

Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Engineering staff and students are regularly recognised by receiving external awards and prizes for excellent work. Recently, it has been the honour of the faculty to present awards of our own. We want to extend our gratitude for their dedicated service and invaluable contribution to the success of the institution.

Congratulations to the 2021 Faculty Award Winners:

Prof Debby Blaine, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, winner of the Lecturer of the Year Award. According to Prof. Blaine, the importance of the Faculty Awards centres on the simple notion of acknowledgment. “We don’t need much as humans to find the inner strength to continue, we are resilient, but acknowledgment goes a long way in helping us recharge. Recognition is critical for establishing and sustaining a strong team,” explains Prof. Blaine. Reflecting on her experience as an educator, she shares the influence of the award on her vision for future teaching and learning at Stellenbosch University: “I truly believe in a collaborative approach to learning through establishing a relationship of trust with the students and working with them towards the final goal of educating engineers. Receiving this award gives me hope that we are in the process of a change to a more caring approach to teaching and learning at SU.”
Dr John Babafemi, Civil Engineering, winner of the Emerging Researcher of the Year Award. Dr Babafemi obtained his PhD in Civil Engineering at Stellenbosch University in 2015, focussing on the tensile creep of cracked macro-synthetic fibre reinforced concrete. As said by Dr Babafemi, recognition for lecturers in higher education is meaningful because it motivates commitment to your call as an academic. “Staying focussed on your goal, even in uncertain times, is a necessity. Receiving this award strengthened that notion even more,” says Dr Babafemi.
Prof Thinus Booysen, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, winner of the Teaching Excellence Award. According to Prof. Booysen, it is of great importance to reward teaching efforts in higher education: “Despite many of us having a passion for teaching, end up chasing deliverables on the research front. Rewards promoting teaching is significant, not to make it worthwhile or as something to chase, but as something to acknowledge the hard effort and to remind us of the primary role of a university, especially in South Africa.”
Prof Eugene van Rensburg, Process Engineering, winner of the Teaching Excellence Award. Prof. Van Rensburg states that he appreciates the recognition for his work and that he can be part of an organisation that credits such a contribution. “Above all, I value this award because it shows that the most important people in the system, namely the students, duly received value. The award is not about me, although it is nice to receive recognition for your work, but it is about the students. I am merely the instrument,” says Prof. Van Rensburg.
Johan Booysen Administrative Support Staff Member of the Year Award Mr Johan Booysen, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, winner of the Administrative Support Staff Member of the Year Award. According to Mr Booysen’s co-workers, his role and duties as E&E departmental manager are central to the smooth running of the department. He also played an instrumental part in navigating the department through the various adjusted restriction levels, being intimately involved in drawing up the COVID-regulations together with the departmental Covid-compliance officer. “What stands out for me about Johan, is his willingness to ‘get his hands dirty’ and jump in wherever help is needed. He was one of the first staff members to return to office after the lockdown was lifted and went to great lengths to ensure the safety of students and personnel,” states Prof. Herman Engelbrecht, Departmental Chair: E&E Engineering.
Juliun Stanfliet Johan Booysen Administrative Support Staff Member of the Year Award Mr Julian Stanfliet, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, winner of the Administrative Support Staff Member of the Year Award. Mr Juliun Stanfliet has been a technical staff member within the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering for 12 years. His colleagues describe him as an ambitious and driven individual. “On account of his passion for his job and compassion for other people, students often refer to him as the first point of contact when they require assistance with their projects. He bolsters students with his extensive knowledge and practical experience regarding many facilities and equipment within the laboratories. He will never hesitate to work extra hours for the benefit of those requiring his assistance,” testifies Mr Kevin Neaves, Chief Technical Officer, Department Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering.