“The Appointments Committee of Senate appointed Prof Celeste Viljoen as the incoming Vice-Dean Teaching and Quality Assurance when Prof Anton Basson steps down from this position at the end of August,” says Prof Wikus van Niekerk (Dean: Engineering). “We congratulate Prof Viljoen on her appointment and wish her all the best for this challenging position. We look forward to welcoming her to the management team of the Faculty.
“We need to thank Prof Basson for a number of years where he served the Faculty in this very important position and successfully managed our ECSA accreditation visits. Under his leadership a number of new initiatives to improve the teaching in the Faculty were introduced. The last, including the consideration of Teaching Portfolios in the evaluation of colleagues to be promoted, is already recognised by other faculties as a very progressive step towards recognising the role of teaching and learning in the University.”
Prof Viljoen is a registered professional engineer who consulted on the design of bridges and buildings before joining the Department of Civil Engineering in 2009. She remains well connected to practice through her national and international involvement in standardisation of structural design, and by offering short courses for continued professional development. She is a productive researcher with over 84 academic publications in the field of structural reliability and risk based decision making. She insists the credit goes to her many doctoral students and a healthy network of collaborators, including colleagues.
Prof Viljoen is an enthusiastic team player who has contributed to Departmental decision making since her appointment as Director of the Institute for Structural Engineering in 2010. Currently she heads the division of Structural Engineering. She enjoys every aspect of her management role, above all to develop effective strategies with an engaged team.
In 2019 she was the second female in the Faculty to be appointed as a full professor. She will now be the first female Vice-Dean in the Faculty. She believes in the value of role models to unlock potential in others. She intends to invite broad participation and to be a voice for those who are under-represented in management.
Regarding her appointment as the Faculty of Engineering Vice-Dean Teaching and Quality Assurance, she says: “Higher education is such a powerful driver of economic development, social upliftment and innovation. Our engineering graduates are the problem solvers who will move future industry forward in sustainable and equitable ways. We have a team of highly dedicated and capable academics who are invested in the success of our students. I consider it a great responsibility and privilege to contribute in this new role. Forward together!”
Photo: In September 2020, Prof Celeste Viljoen (left) will take over the reins as Vice-Dean: Teaching and Qulity Assurance from Prof Anton Basson (right).