Jansen, 61, will take up a position next month as professor in the faculty of education, where he will conduct research on school governance, management, leadership and policy. He will also teach and mentor post-graduate students.
Professor Wim de Villiers, rector and vice-chancellor, said the university was pleased to have Jansen join and would greatly benefit from his expertise as a thought leader and education specialist.
“Professor Jansen is arguably one of the leading pedagogues of our time, but also the proverbial voice in the wilderness, addressing not only the state of the nation but, equally important, the state of education in our beloved country,” he said.
Jansen said he hoped he would make a positive contribution.
“I am very excited about this opportunity to work at one of the best universities on the continent and with some of the leading educational researchers in the field. I do hope to make a small contribution to making research count in the transformation of schools and in preparing the next generation of scholars.”
Jansen began his career as a biology teacher after obtaining a science degree from the University of Western Cape and went on to receive an MSC from Cornell University and a PhD from Stanford University in the US.
He served as a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioural Sciences at Stanford University last year and this year. Jansen is also the president of the SA Academy of Science and the SA Institute of Race Relations.
Professor Yusef Wagheid, acting dean of the faculty of education, said Jansen’s appointment would offer colleagues the chance to engage him on a variety of subjects that would contribute positively to the university.
“I am optimistic that Professor Jansen’s intellectual voice and passion for education will have a positive impact on the scholarly work with which the faculty is associated. This is another opportunity to enhance our quest for a meaningful and just schooling system,” said Wagheid.