Food safety and livestock genetics are the respective focuses of the two new deputy deans recently appointed in the Faculty of AgriSciences of Stellenbosch University (SU).
Award-winning livestock geneticist Prof Kennedy Dzama has been appointed deputy dean responsible for research, innovation and postgraduate studies in the Faculty.
Prof Dzama holds a doctorate in animal breeding and genetics from the Texas A&M University in the USA. He has worked as an academic at various universities in Southern Africa. For the last twelve years, he has headed up the Department of Animal Sciences at SU. Prof Dzama’s research focus has been in the evaluation of African animal genetic resources. Lately, he has been working on unravelling the genetic architecture of parasite-resistant genotypes of livestock.
Prof Dzama is excited about this brand new position. “Among some of the issues I want to tackle are improving the quality of the research offering in our Faculty and deepening our collaborations with industry,” he said. “We should also play a bigger role beyond our borders, particularly on the African continent.”
Prof Pieter Gouws has been appointed as the deputy dean for teaching and learning. Prof Gouws, who works in SU’s Department of Food Science, is the former head of the University of Western Cape’s Department of Biotechnology. He uses biotechnological techniques to improve the microbial safety of food and is an expert on listeriosis, among others.
Prof Gouws commented: “The changing context and new challenges facing the higher education sector and society requires that we have to think differently about teaching and learning.” He believes the Faculty should strive for an academic culture where teaching and research are intertwined. “We should offer programmes that will be innovative and challenging as well as interdisciplinary in content, with the emphasis on students’ learning processes,” he said.
Over the next few years, Prof Gouws wants to explore the use of flexible assessment to create blocks of extra teaching time, create opportunities for students to take optional subjects beyond their own discipline, and reduce the credit load per year per programme. He also wants to include critical thinking, ethical reflection and communication skills in the curriculum.