Dr Henry Mason, a leading researcher in psychology and psychometrics from the Tshwane University of Technology’s Directorate of Higher Education Development and Support, has been granted a C2 Rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF).

NRF ratings are allocated based on a researcher’s recent research outputs and impact as perceived by international peer reviewers. The rating system encourages researchers to publish high quality outputs in high impact journals/outlets.

What makes this accomplishment all the more impressive is, that Dr Mason is not a lecturer in a faculty, nor in a research institute.

This prestigious recognition acknowledges Dr Mason's exceptional contributions to psychology and psychometrics, confirming his position as a leading researcher in his field.  

His research focuses on the intersection of student development theory, positive psychology, psychological testing and data science within higher education. The particular area where he focuses is referred to as Positive Higher Education. This novel focus area acknowledges universities’ critical role in young people’s lives and addresses student learning and well-being, including non-cognitive factors such as resilience, hope and character strengths. On a practical level, Dr Mason’s research aims to enhance student success, particularly emphasising holistic well-being among students

Dr Henry Mason, NRF C2 rated researcher from TUT.

“I hold honours degrees in psychology and industrial psychology. I obtained my master’s and PhD degrees in psychology from Unisa. “My postgraduate supervisor and mentor, Prof Juan Nel, is a former president of the Psychological Society of South Africa and a B-rated researcher. I published my first article in 2009 with support from the late Prof Chris Kapp. Professors Nel and Kapp’s guidance and support have been crucial in flaming my passion for research and dealing with the stressors of academic publication,” he continued. 

When asked about his career at TUT, Dr Mason explained: “I completed my psychometry internship at TUT in 2003 and was appointed in 2005 as a Student Development and Support Practitioner. From 2014-2017, I was seconded to the Higher Education Development Support (HEDS) Senior Director’s office as a researcher. In 2018 I was appointed as the Academic Assessment Officer at SDS, where I am responsible for managing psychological assessments in SDS. I work with a small group of dedicated staff members who share my passion for the affirming role that psychology, psychological assessment and applied research can play in the lives of students. As such, we focus on the scholarship of counselling and development, which refers to conducting our work with students through an applied research lens. 

He is a Research Psychologist, and Psychometrist registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. “I am also a former president of the South African Association for Counselling and Development in Higher Education (SAACDHE) and currently fulfil the research Training and Development Officer (RTD) role. I serve on the editorial boards of three journals,” Dr Mason added.

With a wealth of experience and achievements, Dr Mason has: - Authored numerous scientific articles in top journals - Presented over 100 papers, posters, and workshops at conferences - Edited the Journal of Counselling and Development in Higher Education Southern Africa - Led research committees such as the Research and Innovation Committee of HEDS (RICH), the RICH Research Ethics Committee, and the TUT Research Ethics Committee.  

His dedication to research and academic excellence has earned him a reputation as a young emerging researcher. His work has a significant impact on our understanding of human behaviour and development. “For example, in conjunction with Prof Ben van Wyk, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Teaching, Learning and Technology and other researchers, we have uncovered the critical role of non-cognitive factors, such as emotional intelligence, learning and study strategies, mindset and resilience, in promoting student success. Such findings concretise the relevance of offering holistic support to students. Moreover, the need for culturally sensitive support services in South African higher education institutions is critical if our goal is to enhance student success. As a HEDS researcher, engagement with faculties is vital to ensure we investigate and identify novel avenues to support students,” Dr Mason continued.    

Sharing what drives him, he said: ”I am passionate about learning and regard myself as a lifelong learner. I am married and have two young daughters, aged eight and two. In my spare time, I enjoy going to the gym and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

In closing, Dr Mason also shared a less known fact about himself. “I obtained provincial colours in cricket at the u/19 level as an opening bowler and played premier-level club cricket from the age of 16. My proudest moments were taking the wickets of former West Indian test cricketer Richie Richardson and then-Northerns captain, Joubert Strydom.”

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