Dr Linda Ronnie is a senior lecturer in organisational behaviour and people management at the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB). Prior to her academic career she worked in the manufacturing sector, where she gained extensive management experience. While working for the industry training board, her then-manager encouraged her to do a training and education qualification which set her on a new trajectory, sparking an enduring interest in adult education.
"Since then I have been teaching for almost 20 years, one way or another," she explains.
Ronnie believes an eagerness to learn is vital to being a great teacher. "I go to all my classes expecting to learn; I go there with an expectation that all of us in the room are going to learn something."
According to her, preparation for every class and having genuine respect and regard for students also helps make her effective, in and outside of class.
"For me, theory is useless if it doesn't have resonance in management practice in the work environment, and vice versa, she says. "It is about marrying the two. By virtue of the subject I teach, students often come with questions about their situations at work, which in turn gives me an opportunity to firmly root the theory in their actual, real-world experience."
For her, the Distinguished Teacher's Award is an honour, especially given that it is the first time that a GSB faculty member has been recognised in this way. On a more personal level, she is also profoundly touched by the feedback from students and colleagues that helped motivate the award.
"When I was reading through the motivation letters, I was really humbled," she says. "Of course I feel very chuffed, but I think it is because we have great students at the GSB that this is possible. We have a wonderful time learning and growing together. I have no doubt that what we do here enhances African management practice".
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The Distinguished Teacher Award is the highest accolade awarded to teaching staff at all levels within the university. Through the award, the University of Cape Town acknowledges the primary place of teaching and learning in the university’s work.
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