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Distinguished Teachers’ Award Recipient in a League of Her Own

May 03, 2017

Distinguished Teachers’ Award Recipient Dr Cecile Gerwel-Proches celebrating her achievement with her students. 

Lecturer, masters and doctoral candidate supervisor, researcher and author as well as Leadership Studies Programme Co-ordinator, multi-talented Dr Cecile Gerwel-Proches, received a UKZN Distinguished Teachers’ Award during this year’s Graduation ceremonies for her outstanding contribution to Teaching and Learning.

An academic in the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L), Gerwel-Proches said she was honoured and humbled by the recognition. ‘This is such an encouragement to keep me focused on my core job of developing the leadership and research skills of students I teach.’

Having graduated with a PhD in 2015, her experience of being a student and the exposure to the teaching techniques of seasoned academics such as Dr Shamim Bodhanya, Professor Kriben Pillay, Professor Rob Taylor and Dr Stan Hardman, played a huge role in shaping her teaching techniques which aim to make theory as practical as possible.

As most of her teaching and learning involves postgraduate students, Gerwel-Proches’s approach to education is primarily based on adult learning or andragogy and experiential learning theory. This means that she encourages learning through shared experiences in a supportive and collaborative environment which in turn ensures that management studies, especially organisational behaviour, can be better grasped through drawing on the work experience of students.

‘Adult learners have real life experience that they bring to the classroom and assumptions and beliefs that need to be challenged,’ said Gerwel-Proches. ‘I also see myself as a facilitator of learning, with the aim of encouraging lifelong learning. The students who enter my class come from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, and are quite different from the average undergraduate student. These students are almost always employed on a full-time basis and often also have demanding personal lives.’

Having recently increased her intake of doctoral students,Gerwel-Proches is looking forward to continuing building international collaborations and initiating research projects that not only benefit the GSB&L but UKZN as a whole. She would like to thank her family and the staff of the College of Law and Management Studies and the GSB&L for their support.

Thandiwe Jumo

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