Recognition to a valued professor and introducing new academics

Recognition to a valued professor and introducing new academics

The Faculty of Engineering at Stellenbosch University (SU) bids farewell to one of its valued professors while also welcoming newly appointed academics. Prof Karel Kruger, a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, will depart at the end of March to join the prestigious University of Cambridge in the UK.

Prof Kruger says his desire to join a world-leading institution motivated him to pursue this opportunity at this relatively early stage of his career. “I hope that joining the University of Cambridge will offer new opportunities to learn, grow and develop – as an academic, but also as a person.”

He will join the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), and his expertise in developing platforms for cyber-physical systems, Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things aligns seamlessly with the IfM’s research themes.

He says: “The practical and applied nature of my research, along with a strong alignment with industry needs, resonated with the IfM. They, and by extension the University of Cambridge, are driven to positively impact industry and society. I am excited to continue with research in these fields, with new opportunities for collaboration and engagement with academia and industry.”

Reflecting on his time at SU, Prof Kruger expresses gratitude for the opportunities provided by the university, specifically the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering. “I am proud of every occasion where I managed to make the most of opportunities and contribute to the functioning and excellence of my department, faculty and university.”

Notable achievements during his time at SU include Prof Kruger receiving awards for excellence in teaching (2019) and research (2023). He concludes: “I expect that the wealth of experience I have gained in teaching and doing research at SU will continue to serve me well in Cambridge. At SU – and specifically in the Faculty of Engineering – there is a culture of coming up with solutions instead of excuses. I will take this mindset into the challenges that await me in my journey.”

All the best with this exciting new chapter in your career, Prof Kruger!

Image: (far right) Prof Karel Kruger.

Welcoming new appointments

As we bid farewell to Prof Kruger, the Faculty is also excited to welcome newly appointed academics. Most of them participated in a three-full-day professional development (PREDAC) workshop at Devonvale outside Stellenbosch, which provided a platform for networking and collaboration among the 50 other new academics at SU.

Prof Karin Wolff, Associate Professor of Teaching & Learning at the Faculty of Engineering, and a team of advisors from the Centre for Teaching & Learning guide the new academics through various resources to design effective and realistic learning outcomes.

The academics were welcomed with an extensive programme of activities covering the Design for Learning (DELTA) framework. These activities includes hands-on, practical, and peer learning experiences focused on teaching methodologies, learning strategies, assessment practices, and outcomes design.  These sessions aim to support the new staff in understanding institutional policies and context while also empowering them to enhance their students’ learning experiences.

Dr Jean Farmer from the Transformation Office led a session on ‘How not to teach’ Origami 101, and an engaging online Escape Room experience was also incorporated to reinforce key educational concepts.

These initiatives demonstrate SU’s commitment to fostering a supportive and dynamic environment for incoming staff, ensuring a smooth transition and an enriched academic experience for all.

Please join us in welcoming the following newly appointed academics:

Department of Civil Engineering

  • Dr Claudia Visagie – Lecturer
  • Dr Natalia Flores-Quiroz – Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Talia da Silva Burke – Senior Lecturer

Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

  • Andrew Loubser – Junior Lecturer
  • Dr Taskeen Ebrahim – Junior Lecturer

Department of Industrial Engineering

  • Dr Euodia Vermeulen – Lecturer
  • Dr Mia Mangaroo-Pillay – Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Philip Venter – Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Makoena Sebatjane –  Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Mandlenkosi Gwetu – Associate Professor
  • Meelan Roopa – Lecturer

Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering

  • Dr Vinay Shekhar – Senior Lecturer

Image: The head and shoulder photographs of the new staff members are arranged in the same order as they are presented in the article.
(Far right) Prof Karel Kruger.

[Article by Amber Viviers]