Noted education commentator to deliver TB Davie lecture

11 August 2004

Professor Jonathan Jansen will deliver the 41st TB Davie Memorial Lecture, Accounting for Autonomy: How Higher Education Lost its Innocence, on August 26 at 13h00 in Lecture Theatre 2A in the Leslie Social Science Building.

A distinguished educationist, Jansen is dean of education at the University of Pretoria and a noted commentator on tertiary education matters.

"Professor's Jansen's lecture promises to raise the issues clearly and controversially," said dean of law, Professor Hugh Corder, in a notice to the UCT community. Corder is also chair of the Academic Freedom Committee (AFC), which organises the lecture.

UCT students established the TB Davie Memorial Lecture to commemorate the work of Thomas Benjamin Davie, vice-chancellor of the university from 1948 to 1955. He is remembered as a distinguished vice-chancellor and defender of the principles of academic freedom.

Corder's note continued: "Issues of academic freedom were on the university's agenda from the mid-1950s to the early 1990s, with the State as the chief threat. In the aftermath of the move to a constitutional democracy in 1994, the torch of academic freedom was ceremoniously re-lit and the focus shifted to other pressing matters.

"Within the last few years, however, increasing concern has been voiced about the lawful authority of the executive government to prescribe to institutions of higher education what they may and may not do, as well as about the apparent lack of critical rigour on campus about important issues of the day." Corder said the AFC had attempted to stimulate debate in this area for the past two years. All are welcome to attend.

(There is a standing Senate decision that the afternoon sessions in lecture slots 6 and 7 (and if necessary, 8) start 15 minutes late on the day of the lecture to allow for a full hour for the proceedings).

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