University of Pretoria picks Kupe as new vice-chancellor, principal

Professor Tawana Kupe
Professor Tawana Kupe

Renowned academic professor Tawana Kupe has been appointed vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Pretoria.

Kupe's appointment comes after the resignation of professor Cheryl de la Rey, who left to take over as vice-chancellor of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

The university said on Thursday Kupe's appointment had been made in terms of the procedure set out in the university's regulation and procedure for the appointment of the vice-chancellor and principal.

Kupe said: “Universities have a responsibility to develop educated, well-informed and professionally skilled people who can address local and global challenges and contribute towards creating successful and thriving societies.

To be able to play these critically important roles, universities must enjoy academic freedom and institutional autonomy, allow for freedom of inquiry and be transparent, accountable and ethical in their practises in all respects.”

Kupe is currently the vice-principal of the University of the Witwatersrand where he is responsible for the daily running of the institution and the co-ordination of operations across all executive portfolios.

Kupe was congratulated by Futhi Mtoba, the chairperson of the UP (University of Pretoria) council. “We believe that professor Kupe comes to the position with considerable experience at executive level and is the best candidate to lead the university into the future.”

A noted columnist and commentator on issues related to the media, Kupe used to hold the position of rotating vice-principal and also served as deputy vice-chancellor for advancement, human resources and transformation from January 2013.

He also served as executive dean of the Wits faculty of humanities for six years, between January 2007 and December 2012, after serving as head of the then Wits School of Literature and Language Studies, and the founding head of the media studies department.

Prior to joining Wits, Kupe lectured at Rhodes University between 1999 and 2001, and briefly acted as head of the department of journalism and media studies.

In addition to a BA Honours degree and Masters in English from the University of Zimbabwe, he holds a DPhil in media studies from the University of Oslo in Norway.

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