Inaugural Lecture by Professor Donald and other updates

10 May 2023

Dear colleagues and students

The University of Cape Town (UCT) will host the UCT Inaugural Lecture by Professor Kirsty Donald this afternoon, 10 May 2023. Read about this and other recent developments on campus.

1. UCT Inaugural Lecture: Professor Donald

Professor Donald will deliver her lecture, the second in the reconfigured UCT Inaugural Lecture series, this afternoon at 18:00. The lecture, titled “Risk and resilience in early childhood brain development” will be held in a hybrid format.

Professor Donald’s lecture celebrates her academic journey to explore the remarkable early development of the human brain, based in Africa, home to the fastest growing childhood population. Working with mothers and infants from communities in South Africa, Malawi and Kenya, and using measures of biological health, social interaction and innovative imaging techniques, Donald is creating a map of brain growth and development through the first thousand days of life. In her lecture, she will share her quest to discover exactly when and how early life exposures and experiences impact on the brain’s development in our region, and what can be done to leave no child behind.

Donald is deputy director of the UCT Neuroscience Institute and for the past 15 years she has headed the Division of Developmental Paediatrics at the Red Cross Children’s War Memorial Hospital.

2. Upcoming session in the UCT Conversation Series

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Transformation, Student Affairs and Social Responsiveness, Professor Elelwani Ramugondo, will host the next session in the UCT Conversation Series on 17 May 2023 from 09:00-11:30.

The session will be hosted in a hybrid format. The physical event will take place in Mafeje Room, Bremner Building.

The theme for this session is “Women in Stem and Race as a Social Determinant of Health”. It will be addressed by Dr Zamambo Mkhize and Professor Salome Maswime.

Dr Mkhize is a lecturer in Gender Studies at the African Gender Institute at UCT. Professor Maswime is the head of the Global Surgery Division at UCT, and an obstetrician and gynaecologist.

The UCT Conversation Series was launched in October 2022.

3. Update on senior leadership appointments

Professor Harsha Kathard, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC): Teaching and Learning (T&L), and Dr Reno Morar, the Chief Operating Officer (COO), will relinquish their current roles at the end of June and July respectively.

Professor Kathard will return to her academic activities when her current contract ends on 30 June 2023. Dr Morar will take early retirement on 31 July 2023.

Furthermore, Professor Maano Ramutsindela, the Dean: Faculty of Science, will step down at the end of June 2023 for personal reasons while Mr Bongani Ndaba has been serving as acting Executive Director: Human Resources since May 2022. The recruitment processes for both positions are ongoing and announcements will be made in the due course.

The university remains grateful to the four Leadership Lekgotla members for the contributions they have made in their portfolios, particularly during a notably challenging period for UCT.

4. Assessment policy workshops

The Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED) invites staff and students to join an engagement session to provide input into the drafting of a new assessment policy for UCT. Each session is designed for participants to provide input and engage in discussion and debate about the core principles in the proposed policy and to give guidance into implementation. This initiative forms part of the work of the UCT Assessment Project: Enabling student success through transformed programmes of assessment in CHED.

Please register for one of the following sessions:

  • 18 May from 12:00-15:00 in the CHED Meeting Place (Steve Biko Building).
  • 19 May from 12:00-15:00 via Microsoft Teams.

If you are unable to make the sessions but would like to contribute, you can note that on the registration form. For more information, please contact Soraya Lester.

5. Lecture on supporting gender diverse youth

The Centre for Extra Mural Studies will host a lecture by Dr Simon
Pickstone-Taylor on Wednesday, 17 May 2023 at 18:00 in Lecture Theatre 2, Kramer Law Building. Dr Pickstone-Taylor is a general adult, child and adolescent psychiatrist and honorary senior lecturer in the Psychiatry Department at UCT.

The talk will cover the four main axes of gender (biological sex, gender expression, sexual orientation and gender identity) and terms, the incidence of transgender youth, the causes of gender diversity, co-existing
psycho-pathology, evidence based management and outcomes or gender diverse youth.

Pickstone-Taylor specialised in psychiatry in the United States and completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of California. He has a special interest in gender diversity, particularly in young people. In 2012 he started the Gender Identity Development Service within UCT’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry where he provides support for young people up to 18 years old and their families, as well as to other professionals supporting these young people.

The lecture is free of charge.

Please RSVP to

6. ICTS scheduled maintenance on Sunday, 14 May

Please note that Sunday, 14 May will be an ICTS scheduled maintenance slot from 08:00 to 17:00. Unless advised to the contrary, do not expect any
on-premises ICT services to be available for the duration of the maintenance slot. Cloud-based services (including Amathuba, email, Microsoft 365 services, and ServiceNow) are not impacted and can still be accessed.

Please note that PeopleSoft will be unavailable from 06:00 to 09:00 on the morning, but will be available thereafter to accommodate the need for access due to the UCT Open Day scheduled for a day before on Saturday, 13 May.

Please remember to consult the scheduled ICTS maintenance slots page before planning any teaching, conferences, meetings, etc that require ICT services.

For more information, please read the article on why ICTS schedules regular monthly maintenance slots.

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