Social scientist shines at WISA 2017

"My research matters as it strikes at the very chords of humanity. Social networks have enabled us to become cosmopolitan citizens of the world on the basis of common human values."


These are the words of Prof. Saloshna Vandeyar of the University of Pretoria, the first runner-up in the Humanities and Social Sciences category at the Women in Science Awards. The 2017 awards were presented last Thursday evening at a gala dinner hosted by the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor.


The awards are an annual countrywide celebration of women in science and technology, led by the Department of Science and Technology. The recognition of excellence among women researchers is also an opportunity to inspire younger women to enter and remain in the sciences.


Prof. Vandeyar is a full professor of Diversity in Education in the University of Pretoria's Faculty of Education, where she obtained her PhD in History of Education.


Vandeyar is a National Research Foundation C2-rated scientist and the winner of four international research awards – the Venus International Foundation (2015), the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) (2012), the American Educational Research Association (AERA) (2011), and an International BMW Award in Intercultural Education (2006).


"I felt extremely elated upon receiving the award, because it exposed my work to the broader science and technology. I am grateful to the Department of Science and Technology for recognising and acknowledging both my value as a researcher in the social sciences and my contribution to this field," said the professor following the WISA gala event.


The WISA award adds to Prof. Vandeyar's accolades, which include three national research awards, namely, the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Senior Black Researcher Award (2007), the Higher Education South Africa's Higher Education Leadership and Management Fellowship (2013), and the Education Association of South Africa (EASA) Research Medal (2011).


She was a finalist for the NSTF Lifetime Award (2014), and the Shoprite Checkers Woman of the Year Award (2006). She has also won five institutional research awards from UP – the Laureate Award for Educational Innovation (2012), the Exceptional Young Researcher Award (2009), the Dean's Award for International Scholarship (2013), the Gold Medal for Research, Excellence and Achievement (2009) and Research Perseverance (2002) – two community awards for research, and two merit awards for teacher professionalism and teaching excellence.


Prof. Vandeyar's area of specialisation encompass identities, race, social, cultural and cognitive justice education, diversity education, teacher professionalism, and immigrant studies, which directly relate to national and global socio-economic challenges of social cohesion. Vandeyar is a member of AERA, CIES and EASA, and serves on a number of editorial boards, for example Early Childhood Development and Care (UK), Learning for Democracy (USA) and Perspectives in Education (SA), as well as editing a special issue of Power and Education (UK). Vandeyar has published 28 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, 12 papers in national journals, six scholarly books and 15 book chapters. Nine of her presentations have been published in conference proceedings. She has extensive international networks and is responsible for establishing a memorandum of understanding between UP and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has presented many invited keynote addresses and delivered 35 conference presentations.


Vandeyar is the primary researcher of several funded projects, for example, on good practice in culture-rich classrooms, immigrant identities (learners, teachers and academics) and capacity building for the management of learner pregnancy in schools. Her supervision spans eight completed and three current PhDs, eight completed and six current MEds (full research) and over 300 BEd Honours research reports. Most of her students are currently employed as academics at universities or Umalusi. She has established a strong multidisciplinary research group and is currently working to establish the Centre for Diversity in Education at UP.


"Given my research focus I will continue to strive for social, cultural and cognitive justice in education and for equity and equality for all women. I hope to continue inspiring women's economic empowerment in the changing world of work and beyond," said the professor.


(Prof. Vandeyar's profile appeared in the official WISA supplement which ran in the Business Day on 21 August and is in today's Sowetan. Unfortunately, an incorrect picture was published with Prof. Vanderyar's profile. The Department apologises for the inaccuracy.)





Natural (Physical and Life) and Engineering Sciences

Winner:  Prof. Alta Schutte, North-West University

First Runner-up:  Prof. Resia Pretorias, Stellenbosch University:

Second Runner-up: Prof. Colleen Downs, University of KwaZulu-Natal    


Humanities and Social Sciences

Winner:  Prof.  Azwihangwisi Mavhandu-Mudzusi, University of South Africa

First Runner-up:  Prof. Saloshna Vandeyar, University of Pretoria

Second Runner-up:  Prof.  Venitha Pillay, University of South Africa


Research and Innovation Leading to Socio-economic Impact

Winner: Prof. Henriëtta de Kock, University of Pretoria




Natural (Physical and Life) and Engineering Sciences

Winner: Dr Philiswa Nomngongo, University of Johannesburg

First Runner-up: Prof. Genevieve Langdon, University of Cape Town

Second Runner-up: Prof. Tricia Naicker, University of KwaZulu-Natal


Humanities and Social Sciences

Winner: Prof. Roula Inglesi-Lotz, University of Pretoria

First Runner-up: Dr Nomusa Makhubu, University of Cape Town



Research and Innovation Leading to Socio-economic Impact

Winner:  Dr Lephoto Tiisetso, University of the Witwatersrand




Master's Degree

Ms Keneilwe Hlahane, University of Cape Town

Ms Dorcas Lekganyane, University of Johannesburg

Ms Palesa Mgaga, University of the Witwatersrand

Ms Dimpho Takane, University of Johannesburg


Doctoral Degree

Ms Jacqueline Moodley, University of Johannesburg

Ms Valentine Saasa – University of Johannesburg / Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

Ms Andrea Wilson, University of Pretoria




Master's Degree

Ms Nomabhongo Masana, Central University of  Technology

Ms Yonela Mgwebi, University of the Witwatersrand

Ms Emily Muller, University of Cape Town/African Institute for Mathematical Sciences South Africa


Doctoral Degree

Ms Marilise Everts, University of Pretoria

Ms Loretta Magagula, University of Cape Town

Ms Funeka Nkosi, University of Johannesburg/Council for Scientific and Industrial Research



Switchboard: +27 12 843 6300
DSI Building (Building No. 53)
(CSIR South Gate Entrance)  
Meiring Naudé Road, Brummeria  
Private Bag X894, Pretoria
South Africa
© 2021 Department of Science and Innovations . All Rights Reserved.