Jennilee Kohima, a lecturer in the Department of Architecture and Spatial Planning, recently won the 2018 Institutional Early Career Teaching Excellence Award. She holds two Master Degrees, one in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of the Free State (South Africa), and another in Land Management and Land Tenure from the Technical University of Munich (Germany). Kohima completed her Bachelor of Technology in Land Management at the former Polytechnic of Namibia. She recently answered some questions during an interview for The Tech.
Q. What does this recognition mean to you?
A. Honestly, this is a huge recognition for me, considering the fact that I have only been at NUST a little over a year. Getting recognition for my teaching techniques so early in my career also means that I have to set the bar much higher for myself in the years to come.
Q. How did you become passionate about teaching?
A. I was not aware that I was passionate about teaching until I found myself in a classroom in front of students. Nevertheless, my desire for teaching became evident when I realised that I was eager to guide and mentor anyone who approached me for academic assistance. Joining NUST fueled this desire even more because now I have students who look up to me every day.
Q. One of the University’s mandate is to promote research activity amongst staff and students. What are your research interests and why?
A. My current research interests are urban informality, land use management/planning, planning practices and urban governance. These are based on my PhD studies and professional affiliations, such as with the Namibia Institute of Town and Regional Planning and International Society of City and Regional Planners. As a Town and Regional Planner, I would like to see a positive change in the informal settlements of our urban areas and I believe this can be realised through land use management.
Q. Moving forward, what developments would you like to see in Namibia in the years to come, particularly in the land management field?
A. I would like to see town and regional planners taking charge of planning and development in urban areas. As Namibians, we need to become aware of land use management and what is required from us as good citizens. As a nation, we need to understand that urban informality is a growing phenomenon that needs to be addressed and accommodated positively in light of existing planning mechanisms and regulations.