Dear colleagues and students
I write to bid farewell to the Dean of Science, Professor Maano Ramutsindela, who will step down at the end of June 2023. As communicated at the beginning of the year, Professor Ramutsindela made a request to relinquish his role for personal reasons. He took up the position of dean on 1 March 2019.
I thank Professor Ramutsindela for the leadership that he has provided to the faculty at such a very critical time. His term coincided with the most challenging periods for both the faculty and the university, and he has led the faculty through these periods with quiet dignity and resoluteness.
As he steps down from his position as dean, Professor Ramutsindela leaves us with a number of highlights of his term.
As dean, he actively led the steps towards full resumption of research following the COVID-19 lockdown. Under his guidance, the science faculty was at the forefront of the development of many of the return-to-research protocols that were later adopted by the university at large.
The faculty prides itself in its diverse student and staff bodies, with more than a third of its approximately 2 600 students and about 345 academic and support staff being international. Furthermore, the faculty has established strong links with other African universities and leading academic institutions around the world.
In the international academic community, the faculty is held in high regard. This is reflected for example in international rankings. According to the most recent Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) subject rankings, the faculty has one subject in the 51–100 band (geography); and four in the 101–150 band (archaeology, earth and marine sciences, geology, and geophysics).
In part, the national and international prominence of the faculty’s staff is illustrated through the high number of researchers rated by the National Research Foundation (NRF), with 12 A-rated, 54 B-rated, 51 C-rated and five P-rated. The faculty is also home to eight DSI-NRF research chairs and to an NRF/DSI Centre of Excellence in biodiversity.
Before his appointment as dean, Professor Ramutsindela was the deputy dean of operations and Professor in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science. He joined the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Department of Environmental and Geographical Science in 2001. He has served the science faculty in critical committees such as the Ad Hominem Committee, Committee of Assessors and the Executive Committee. He chaired the Faculty of Science Transformation Advisory Committee and served as an elected member of the UCT Council and the Senate Executive Committee. He represented UCT in the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) and is the founding co-chair of the WUN Global Africa Group.
Having obtained his PhD in Geography from Royal Holloway, University of London, Professor Ramutsindela has gone on to receive the NRF President Award (currently known as the NRF Prestigious Award), the International Visitor Award of the African Studies Association in the USA, election as Fellow of the Society of South African Geographers, and the NRF Award for the Transformation of the Science Cohort. He is an elected member of the Academy of Science of South Africa.
I express, on behalf of the university community, my sincere gratitude and appreciation to Professor Ramutsindela for his sterling contributions to leadership of the faculty and the university; and wish him well as he returns to his scholarly work.
Emer Prof Daya Reddy
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