Prof Ahmed Bawa has been appointed as the new Vice Chancellor of DUT. He will assume his responsibilities on 1 September 2010. The decision to appoint Prof Bawa as the university’s new Principal was unanimously supported by the University Senate, Council and Institutional Forum.
The process of screening candidates for the position proved to be challenging with a large number of local and international applications from highly skilled and experienced senior academics. Prof Bawa is a distinguished and respected academic who was formerly based at the City University of New York, where he was Professor of Physics and Associate Provost. He decided to return home to invest in the development of South Africa.
Prof Bawa hails from Seven Oaks, a town situated in the KZN Midlands. Prior to working abroad, he held the portfolio of Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal of University of KwaZulu Natal’s Durban-Westville campus. Prof Bawa’s strong research background together with his impeccable academic and leadership record will be of great benefit to DUT. He holds an MSc degree from the University of Durban-Westville and a PhD from the University of Durham, UK. He has authored more than 30 articles published in prestigious international journals. He was also the former Chair of the Board of the National Research Foundation and a member of the National Advisory Council of Innovation.
He is also one of the select few given access to the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, to work on a global project addressing fundamental questions of physics. This reinforces his outstanding global reputation and value. Prof Bawa gained experience in creating grants to assist universities across Africa while he held the portfolio of Programme Officer at the Ford Foundation. He also possesses a solid grasp of the South African higher education landscape and has contributed extensively to discourse on reshaping and transforming the sector.
Dr Jairam Reddy, DUT Council Chairman said the university is well positioned with a visionary leader like Prof Bawa at its helm. DUT has overcome challenges experienced during its merger, using this as an advantage, DUT can further develop into a leading University of Technology in the Province.
Prof Bawa said: “The short-term challenge will be to create a vibrant, pleasant teaching/learning environment and to create conditions that will foster a research culture. This will require the building of a collegial culture that is intensely student-centred. I hope to work closely with the vice-chancellors of the other universities to build a strong, coherent, coordinated higher education sector that will serve the people of the region optimally.”
He described being at DUT’s helm as an honour and a privilege. He said he is looking forward to working with Council, Executive Management and dedicated staff and students to make the institution a vibrant place of learning and of knowledge production, one that is deeply connected simultaneously to the local context and the global world of knowledge.
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