Our education philosophy


SU’s Chemical Engineering programme builds a strong foundation for the success of its students. The four-year bachelor’s degree equips graduates for a wide variety of positions as practicing chemical engineers and problem-solvers in society. We strive to develop the knowledge, skills and ethic for lifelong learning and professional development. The programme aims to produce graduates that will pursue rewarding professional careers through skillfully leveraging chemical engineering principles, and a problem-solving mindset.

Our lecturers are committed to providing a stimulating learning environment that encourages active learning and student excellence. The programme follows the Council for Higher Education’s four fundamental principles, to guide our students to success. The degree starts with a strong focus on foundational science, skills, and fundamental mathematics. In later years, there is a shift from fundamental sciences to engineering sciences, design and application – using the tools developed in earlier years to solve real engineering problems. We have a strong focus on enrichment through developing all the essential literacies, such as programming, engineering drawing, essential communication skills, and interpersonal intelligence. In the end, we aim to develop students with the skills and attributes to enhance our world; engineers to implement impactful advances through excellent science, and develop novel engineering solutions to the world’s problems.

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I aim to foster mathematical skills which enable, scientific curiosity which drives, and an identity which provides access to independent lifelong learning.

Tobi Louw

Associate Professor
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I aim to challenge students to develop not only technical skills related to problem solving, critical thinking and independent learning, but also skills and attributes required for effective functioning as engineers in a professional working environment and in the society as a whole.

Christie Dorfling

Professor
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I aim to create learning environments where students feel free to consider multiple problem-solving approaches and are not afraid to ask what if…?

Neo Motang

Junior lecturer
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Embracing the journey of deepening understanding leads to the discovery of invaluable insights that enrich our perspectives and fuel personal growth.

Marno Basson

Junior Lecturer
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It might be your degree but we’re on this road together, let’s talk about it.

Margreth Tadie

Senior Lecturer
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Taking responsibility is ultimate freedom.

André Burger

Professor
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My teaching philosophy has an emphasis on enthusiasm, participation and engagement, where a bridge is formed between two distinct disciplines (biology and engineering), which is achieved using case studies and practicals as teaching and engagement tools to achieve cumulative learning to a high level of abstraction.

Eugene van Rensburg

Associate Professor
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I believe that learning starts with an environment where students feel safe, free from judgment and given the freedom of speech to be inquisitive, to challenge and to grow.

Siew Tai

Associate Professor
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Every single time I walk into the classroom I ask myself what I need to do to give every student the best chance of mastering the skills they will need to achieve their career goals.

Steven Bradshaw

Distinguished Professor
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I don’t teach; I guide students on how to think critically, as they will gain Knowledge for Life.

Lingam Pillay

Associate Professor
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My goal is to instill a sense of enthusiasm, curiosity, and interest in the subject matter in my students, by creating an engaging, thought-provoking environment based on tangible (often very simple) real-world examples.

Petrie van Wyk

Lecturer
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When students leave my class, I want them to understand that the knowledge gained is not just for passing exams but for making a difference in society; therefore, I teach them to think beyond the classroom.

Annie Chimphango

Associate Professor
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I envision producing graduates that are able use their understanding of chemical engineering fundamental and principles to critically analyse, relate to and solve complex chemical problems.

Cara Schwarz

Professor
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I hope to help educate young engineers who relish a challenge, and pull from a deep well of skills, experiences, ideas and knowledge to solve (often real-world) problems in new and differing contexts, for the improvement of our world.

Robbie Pott

Professor
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I believe that learning is a continuous journey. Thus, every time I engage with my students, I aim to take us on a journey of discovery, understanding, and learning through critically engaging with engineering concepts and real-life problems. The goal is to produce great engineers, who will constantly solve problems in their communities.

Zwonaka Mapholi

Junior Lecturer
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I believe that learning by doing in a dynamic environment builds independent skills and confidence.

Johann Görgens

Distinguished Professor
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Real understanding comes from linking the conceptual to the physical, so I always encourage my students to “think physically” and have a mental picture of the process when solving problems.

Jamie Cripwell

Senior Lecturer
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“For things to change, I need to change. For things to get better, we need to get better.” – Jim Rohn. I enjoy change and being adaptable; I am passionate about transforming the way we live, work, learn and apply.

Prathieka Naidoo

Professor
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I teach people to teach themselves and aim to  foster lifelong learning.

Neill Goosen

Associate Professor
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My aim is to foster curiosity, so that graduates will ask the right questions, and have sufficient knowledge and skills to find the answers.

Mieke Nieder-Heitmann

Lecturer

Celebrating excellence: Staff awards and achievements

Chancellor’s award for sustained excellence in research, innovation, learning and teaching, social impact or professional services

Prof Steven Bradshaw
2022

Prof Johann Görgens
2020

Prof André Burger
2019

Prof Hansie Knoetze
2014

Faculty award for Teaching Excellence

Dr Margreth Tadie
2023

Mr Petrie van Wyk
2022

Prof Eugene van Rensburg
2021

Prof Tobi Louw
2020

Faculty award for the Emerging Researcher of the Year

Dr Margreth Tadie
2023

Prof Robbie Pott
2022

Prof Annie Chimphango
2019

Prof Tobi Louw
2018

Prof Neill Goosen
2017

Faculty award for Lecturer of the Year

Prof Steven Bradshaw
2016

Prof André Burger
2015

Our dedicated staff actively engage in thinking about and making education better: We have implemented a range of innovative and successful initiatives, some of which are pictured below.

Scholarly teaching and learning

In striving towards a scholarly approach to improving our teaching and learning, our lecturers often publish articles in peer-reviewed journals or present papers on engineering education at conferences. The collection below highlights the efforts of our lecturers.