The 2021 TB Davie Memorial Lecture

12 August 2021 | From Kgethi

Dear colleagues and students

We are very pleased to invite you to the 2021 TB Davie Memorial Lecture that will be presented by Professor Yunus Ballim from the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). Professor Ballim is the founding Vice-Chancellor of Sol Plaatje University.

This year’s lecture, titled “Ours is to educate, not to captivate – teaching, learning and student development in a context of academic freedom”, encompasses the ideals of former UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Thomas Benjamin Davie, in whose honour the lecture was established 55 years ago by UCT students. TB Davie was a defender of the principles of academic freedom.

Professor Ballim believes that as we develop our students into critically engaged intellectuals of the future, we must give full expression to the liberating value of education. This demands that we have freedom to make decisions about who teaches, who learns and what we teach – but it also requires that our students find an institution that is free from harmful learning experiences.

His lecture considers aspects of institutional culture that support or undermine the right of our students to learn freely at university.

Professor Ballim, whose research focuses on cement and concrete materials science, was previously Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic and Head of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Wits University, a member of the Council for Higher Education, Chair of the Higher Education Quality Council and Chair of the Board of the National Institute of Higher Education in the Northern Cape. He is currently a member of the Council of Umalusi, where he serves as Chair of the Assessments Standards Committee.

He holds a bachelors, masters and PhD in civil engineering from Wits University and was awarded the Portland Cement Institute Research Fellowship based at Wits in 1989. He is an honorary fellow of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering and has served on various international technical committees. He also served as the founding president of the African Materials Research Society.

The annual TB Davie Memorial Lecture is organised by the Academic Freedom Committee (AFC), which invites distinguished speakers to address a theme related to academic and human freedom. The TB Davie Memorial Lecture honours dissent and robust debate, and we thank the AFC for organising this event annually.

Please join the AFC for the 55th TB Davie Memorial Lecture with Professor Ballim.

When: Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Time: 18:00 SAST

Platform: Microsoft Teams

Please register online to attend the lecture.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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