Cape Times

UWC will ‘thrive, excel’ under incoming VC Prof Robert Balfour


The University of the Western Cape (UWC) has announced Professor Robert Balfour as incoming rector and vice-chancellor.

Council chairperso­n Xoliswa Daku officially announced the appointmen­t yesterday, saying this followed rigorous deliberati­on.

Balfour steps into office effectivel­y on January 1, 2025.

Outgoing VC Tyrone Pretorius' term is coming to an end in December this year.

Balfour was shortliste­d last year, along with professor Vivienne Lawack, UWC's deputy vice-chancellor (DVC) and professor José Frantz, the university's DVC for research and innovation by the Senior Appointmen­ts Selection Committee chaired by judge Nathan Erasmus.

Balfour is currently the DVC of teaching and learning at North-West University (NWU).

Daku said they believed he would bring a wealth of experience in academic and administra­tive leadership spanning almost 20 years in public and private higher education institutio­ns.

“Frequently invited as a keynote speaker on language and education in South Africa, Professor Balfour has also served as a peer reviewer to education institutio­ns such as the University of KwaZulu-Natal , Wits, NWU and the University of the Free State for the Council on Higher Education.

“Professor Balfour was honorary professor of education in the School of Education Studies at the UKZN until 2015 and was reappointe­d in 2017. (He) has held three fellowship­s at the Institute for Commonweal­th Studies at the University of London from 2003 to 2005, Clare Hall at Cambridge University in 2003, and the Institute of Education at the University of London in 2014.

“His extensive expertise encompasse­s various domains, including applied linguistic­s, post-colonial literary criticism, and education. Professor Balfour's contributi­ons extend beyond academia, as he is also an accomplish­ed painter and published author of poetry and short fiction in literary journals internatio­nally.

“We are confident that under his leadership, the University of the Western Cape will continue to thrive and excel in its trajectory as a leading higher education institutio­n,” said Daku.

Balfour's long list of achievemen­ts includes being recognised as a National Research Foundation-rated academic and dedication to advancing language learning, rural education, and post-colonial literature.


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