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Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Town (2008–2018)

Some key achievements as Vice-Chancellor of UCT

  • Enhancing UCT’s position as a globally competitive research university through strategies around internationalisation – developing new institutional linkages and research collaborations.

  • Concerted focus on developing UCT’s networks and partnerships on the African continent, as one way for UCT to differentiate itself amongst top universities globally, conceptualised as a vision to be an ‘Afropolitan’ university.

  • Accelerating and expanding efforts to deal with histories of racialised educational disadvantage  – with respect to student admissions, staffing demography, institutional culture and curricula, including a new financial aid system that enables needs-blind admission, and promoted interventions to increase success rates.  

  • Moving UCT from ‘research-led’ to ‘research-intensive’ through facilitating development of research management systems, training and support for emerging researchers, policy and projects promoting open access and discoverability, financial and organisational investment in post-doctoral programmes, growth of post-graduate numbers and quality, and creating interdisciplinary programmes.

  • Promoting the valorisation of teaching and elevating its status in order to raise the commitment to, and quality of, teaching. 

  • Promotion of engaged socially responsive scholarship through: revision of policy; introduction of annual report and awards to match those in teaching and research; introduction of Knowledge Partners programme through which post-grads undertake research for community based projects; the institution of ‘UCT Plus’ – formal recognition on the graduate’s degree transcript of social responsiveness activities; the introduction of an optional course available to all students covering global issues and social justice.

  • Driving the strategic considerations around MOOCs and on-line qualifications –enabling the first MOOCs at a South African university. In 2016 the University of Cape Town (UCT) was ranked as the second best institution globally creating MOOCs. Generally moving the university and faculty to consider more seriously the use of educational technologies in learning and teaching.

  • Established four flagship Vice-Chancellor Strategic Initiatives which are university-wide trans-disciplinary research initiatives to address key national challenges:

UCT Jamie and Campus.JPG

Dr Price played a leadership role in the SA higher education landscape external to UCT, and in international university networks (view more).

In the years 2015 to 2017, he steered the university through a challenging, often traumatic series of student and worker protests which were part of a national protest movement. This has tested the mettle and leadership of Vice-Chancellors nationally. Nationally, the primary issue was the demand for free education - something beyond the control of individual VCs. However, at universities like UCT, the continuing colonial imprint post-apartheid has also been intensely controversial, demanding more concerted attention.  Protests have also paralleled similar student movement protests around the world relating to identity politics, LGBTIQA+ rights and recognition, gender based violence, and issues of disability and mental health.  As VC, Max Price was prominent nationally and controversially so, for his executive team's efforts to negotiate with student protestors in the interests of negotiated solutions. He holds the view that the executive team navigated the storms and by end 2017 had brought the institutional ship into safe harbour.

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