Professor Heila Lotz-Sisitka started her professional life as a Grade 1 teacher. She now holds a Tier 1 South African National Research Foundation/Department of Science and Technology Chair in Global Change and Social Learning Systems, and is a Distinguished Research Professor at Rhodes University. Her Chair is based in the Environmental Learning Research Centre at Rhodes University, South Africa which she directed for 15 years (2000-2015). The current focus of the Chair’s research is transformative social learning and green skills learning pathways in areas of biodiversity, the water food nexus, climate change, social and environmental justice, and just sustainability transitions.
She has served on over 20 national and international research and policy programmes and scientific committees focusing on education, transformative learning and sustainability and is regularly invited to present keynote contributions in this area, to date in 34 countries around the world. She has led various national and international research programmes, and has supervised 59 Masters, 32 PhD and 10 post-doctoral scholars, and has examined 17 PhDs internationally. Her publications number 160 and she has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award, the Vice Chancellor’s Community Engagement Award (twice), and the Vice Chancellor’s Senior Researcher Award, being one of two academics in the university to have obtained the honour of receiving all three awards.
Heila served as Editor-in-Chief of the Southern African Journal of Environmental Education for 13 years (2003-2016) and is currently co-editor of the Learning, Culture and Social Interaction Journal.
She holds a B2 National Research Foundation Rating, which is defined as “A researcher who enjoys considerable international recognition by their peers for the high quality and impact of their recent research outputs”. Her research interests include critical research methodologies, transformative social learning, and education system transformation. Her passion is sustainability and social justice education, and people’s participation in transformative education and learning processes.