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Dr. Max Price

Max Price was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town for ten years from July 2008 to June 2018. From 1996 to 2006, he was dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand. He consults in public health, higher education, strategic leadership and crisis management. He is currently a Scholar-in-Residence with the Atlantic Institute, Oxford.

Aside from qualifications in medicine (Wits) and public health (LSHTM), he obtained a Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) degree from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and held a Takemi Fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health.


Earlier in Max's career he was a researcher and director in the Centre for Health Policy at Wits University. He has also worked in academic and rural hospitals in South Africa.


Dr Price’s research has covered higher education, the political economy of health in South Africa, health economics, rural health services, health systems research and health science education. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa.


Sadiq, H., Barnes, K.I., PRICE, M. et al. Academic promotions at a South African university: questions of bias, politics and transformation. Higher Education December 2018:1-20

The system of academic promotion provides a mechanism for the achievements of staff to be recognised. However, it can be a mechanism that creates or reflects inequalities, with certain groups rising to the top more readily than others. In many universities, especially in the global North, white men are preponderant in senior academic ranks. This leads to concerns about sexism and racism operating within processes of promotion. There is a global sensitivity that academic hierarchies should be demographically representative. In this study we examine the data on eleven years of promotions at the University of Cape Town (UCT), a highly ranked, research-led university in South Africa. Its historical roots lie in a colonial past and despite substantial increases in the number of black scholars its academic staff complement is still majority white, driving the intensification of its transformation efforts. A quantitative analysis using time to promotion as a proxy for fairness was used to examine patterns of promotion at the university. Although international staff, those in more junior positions, with higher qualifications and in certain faculties enjoyed quicker promotion time, no association was found between time to promotion and gender. There were some differences in time to promotion associated with self-declared ethnicity (taken as synonymous with race), but these associations were not consistent. Although our findings provide some quantitative evidence of UCT’s success at creating a fair system of academic advancement, broader demographic transformation remains a priority. However, this cannot be addressed in isolation from the wider higher education enterprise.

Farewell to Dr Max Price UCT Vice-Chancellor 2008-2018. University of Cape Town. 2018. Download pdf file.

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