The public intellectual and former vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State, Prof Jonathan Jansen, has accepted a position at Stellenbosch University (SU).
Jansen (61), an A-rated scientist with the National Research Foundation, will take up the position of distinguished professor in the Faculty of Education, where he will be teaching and conducting research on school governance, management, leadership and policy. He will also serve as a mentor to postgraduate students.
Announcing the appointment, Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, said the institution would greatly benefit from Jansen's expertise as foremost author, thought leader and education specialist. “Prof Jansen is arguably one of the leading pedagogues of our time, but also the proverbial voice in the wilderness, addressing not only the state of the nation, but – equally important – the state of education in our beloved country."
Prof Nico Koopman, Vice-Rector: Social Impact, Transformation and Personnel, added: “Prof Jansen is a scholar at heart. We are confident that his research expertise will have a meaningful social impact on all levels of the education system in South Africa."
Equally pleased at the prospect of welcoming Prof Jansen to SU's Faculty of Education, Prof Yusef Waghid, acting dean of the Faculty, said: “Prof Jansen's appointment offers tremendous opportunities for colleagues to engage with him in deliberative, responsible and courageous conversations – dialogues relating to what a university is and ought to do. I am optimistic that Prof Jansen's intellectual voice and passion for education will have a positive impact on the scholarly work with which the Faculty is associated. This is another opportunity to enhance our quest for our quest for a meaningful and just schooling system"
Commented Jansen: “I am very excited about this opportunity to work at one of the best universities on the continent and with some of the leading educational researchers in the field. I do hope to make a small contribution with my colleagues to making research count in the transformation of schools and in preparing the next generation of scholars."
Jansen, a recipient of three honorary doctorates and a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in 2016/17, will take up the position at SU as from 1 November.
MORE ABOUT PROF JONATHAN JANSEN
Jonathan Jansen is a senior professor formerly associated with the University of the Free State, South Africa. Apart from having served as a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in 2016/17, he is also the president of both the South African Institute of Race Relations and the South African Academy of Science.
He started his career as a biology teacher in the Cape after he had completed his science degree at the University of the Western Cape. He went on to obtain an MS degree from Cornell University and a PhD from Stanford. Jansen also holds honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Vermont and Cleveland State University.
In 2013, he was awarded the Lifetime Achiever Award for Africa at the Education Africa Global Awards in New York, as well as the University of California's Spendlove Award for his contribution to tolerance, democracy and human rights. The next year, he won the Nayef Al Rodhan Prize from the British Academy for the Social Sciences and Humanities for his book Knowledge in the Blood (published by Stanford University Press).
More recent publications by Jansen include Leading for Change (Routledge, 2016), As by fire: the end of the South African university (Tafelberg, 2017), Interracial intimacies on campuses (Bookstorm, 2017) and Song for Sarah (Bookstorm, 2017). Products of his pen to appear in 2018 include Inequality in South African schools (with Nic Spaull, published by Springer), Politics of Curriculum (as editor) and Now that I know, a book on South African families who were separated by the racial laws of the 1950s.