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Distinguished Teacher Award

The Distinguished Teacher Award is the highest accolade awarded to teaching staff at all levels within the university and recognises excellent teaching.

Through the award, the University of Cape Town acknowledges the primary place of teaching and learning in the university’s work. All full-time or permanent academic staff who have taught students at the institution for at least five  years are eligible.

Each nominee is evaluated on their distinct contribution to teaching and learning at UCT, including:

  • Their teaching philosophy and pedagogical approach in the context of the teaching and learning challenges in South African higher education
  • Their contribution to curriculum renewal, transformation and innovation in teaching and learning
  • Evidence of their scholarship of teaching and learning including any relevant publications, conference attendance, research projects
  • Evidence of a lasting positive impact on their students, beyond formal teaching time

Evidence of a positive impact on the teaching and learning approaches of their colleagues.


Distinguished Teacher Award winners 2019

Tessa Dowling

Dr Tessa Dowling: School of Languages and Literatures

Dr Tessa Dowling, one of four recipients of a 2019 Distinguished Teacher Award, knows how to bring Xhosa Communication classes alive with her self-professed “groovy and innovative” teaching style. “I love students who make me laugh and those who are self-motivated; second-language students who laugh at their own errors and then correct them.”

Tessa Dowling: Utitshala osefresh!

Amrita Pande

Associate Professor Amrita Pande: Department of Sociology

Lauded for the “range of pedagogical strategies that she uses to make content come alive”, educator-performer and co-head of UCT’s sociology department Associate Professor Amrita Pande has been recognised with one of four 2019 Distinguished Teacher Awards. “What I enjoy most about teaching is the drama, the unexpected and the joy of everyday classroom interactions.”

Distinguished teacher Amrita Pande’s classroom is her theatre.

Romy Parker

Associate Professor Romy Parker: Health & Rehabilitation Sciences

Associate Professor Romy Parker became a teacher 15 years ago because she wanted to make a difference and extend her range of impact. As a recipient of one of four 2019 Distinguished Teacher Awards, Parker has met her objectives – and then some. “My work in teaching and as a clinician is about helping individuals grow by advancing their ability to access and process information.”

Teaching is like ‘creating ripples in a pond’.

Andrew Argent

Professor Andrew Argent: Paediatrics and Child Health

The head of paediatrics and child health at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Professor Andrew Argent is one of four winners of the 2019 Distinguished Teacher Award. “I am incredibly privileged to work with so many children who have an almost unbelievable capacity to keep living life to its fullest despite some extremely difficult illnesses and situations.”

Teaching requires passion and commitment.

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