New professor shares her journey and reflections Stellenbosch Business School Skip to main content
New professor shares her journey and reflections
Moving from Associate Professor to Full Professor takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

Prof Nicolene Wesson, head of the Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management and Administration (PGD BMA), was recently promoted to Full Professorship. Here she shares her journey…

My academic journey started in 1994 at the School of Accountancy at Stellenbosch University where I was an Associate Professor since 2001 and lectured for 14 years. I then took a break to be a full-time mother for five years. I joined the academy again about six years ago when I started working at USB. In 2016 I was promoted to Associate Professor again after obtaining my PhD in 2015 and I’ve now been promoted to Full Professor as from 1 July 2018.

I really enjoy teaching and doing research
– especially bringing research back into the classroom

There is no set time on how long it takes to become a full professor. The guidelines for promotions and appointments depend on the institution (and faculty within the institution) you work for.

USB is part of the Economic and Management Sciences faculty at Stellenbosch University and we have three roles that are regarded as integrated, namely teaching, research and social impact. For promotions those three criteria are used as guidelines. To be promoted to Full Professor you have to be recognised nationally and internationally as an expert and academic leader in a particular field or discipline.


I really enjoy teaching and doing research – especially bringing research back into the classroom. I’m truly inspired by our students and in the difference they make (and want to make) in society.

A personal highlight for me was the response to my PhD that I completed early 2015. After all the hard work it was very rewarding to see that my research did have an impact on governance. My research title was, ‘An empirical model of choice between share repurchases and dividends for companies in selected JSE-listed sectors’. My research focus remains to be on issues relevant for managing entities in a responsible manner, therefore contributing to the debate on economic and societal welfare.


t’s definitely not always easy to be in the academy and to balance not only the three roles (teaching, research and social impact), but also your own family and private life. I was fortunate to have a mentor in my supervisor for my PhD who has motivated – and still motivates – me to go the extra mile. I’m also fortunate to have a family that supports me, a husband and two lovely sons, and I can attest to receiving abundant grace.

The USB started out (53 years ago) with a very small full-time academic staff component and have in recent years been able to expand our academic faculty. I do expect to see many of our excellent faculty joining me (and my colleagues) with their Full Professorship in the near future!



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