Appointment of new DVC in the Research portfolio

15 January 2016 | From the VC’s Desk

Dear colleagues and students

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng will be appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor with effect from 1 July 2016. She will be taking over the portfolio of Research and Internationalisation from Professor Danie Visser, who will be retiring at the end of 2016. This will allow a six-month handover period.

Professor Phakeng is currently the Vice-Principal for Research and Innovation at the University of South Africa (Unisa). She earned her BA (Ed) in Pure Mathematics in 1988 from the University of Bophuthatswana (now part of North-West University); and her B.Ed, M.Ed and PhD in Mathematics Education in 1993, 1996 and 2002, respectively, from the University of the Witwatersrand. Her career has focused on the development of mathematics teachers in primary and high school as well as on multilingualism and multiculturalism in mathematics education.

A leading mathematics educator and researcher, she has published 57 peer-reviewed research publications, edited five academic volumes and published six research reports with over 1000 citations. She is a B2 NRF-rated scientist, reflecting her considerable local and international recognition. She has been invited to deliver more than 30 keynote or plenary talks at international conferences and as visiting professor in universities around the world.

Professor Phakeng has won several awards for her research and community work, including the 2011 National Science and Technology Forum award for being the most outstanding Senior Black Female Researcher over the last five to 10 years in recognition of her innovative, quality research on teaching and learning mathematics in multilingual classrooms. She is founder of the Adopt-a-learner Foundation, a non-profit organisation that provides educational and financial support to learners from townships and rural areas to acquire higher education.

Professor Phakeng is the current President of Convocation of Wits University, member of the CSIR board and a trustee of the FirstRand Foundation. She served as national President of the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (2002 to 2006) and was the founding chairperson of the Board of the South African Mathematics Foundation (2004 to 2006). She was secretary of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education from 2003 to 2007. She was the founding Director of the Marang Wits Centre for Mathematics and Science Education, School of Education, from 2005 to 2007.

For more information about Professor Phakeng, please click here to read her abridged CV.

Although we will still need to wait six months before we can properly welcome Professor Phakeng to the University of Cape Town, please join me in congratulating her on her succesful selection. UCT is fortunate and delighted to have attracted such an accomplished candidate into our senior executive team.


Dr Max Price


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