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Deputy vice-chancellors

UCT’s deputy vice-chancellors (DVCs) are:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation

Professor Sue Harrison

Sue HarrisonProfessor Sue Harrison was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation with effect from 1 August 2019.


Her portfolio includes advancing the research quality, quantity and impact across the university, enhancing UCT’s African agenda, internationalization and research partnerships, growing and transforming the postgraduate sector and oversight of interdisciplinary university research institutes.

She has a long, varied track record in management and leadership, starting with her headship of Chemical Engineering some 20 years back, through serving as Deputy Dean: Postgraduate and Research for 6 years. Her research and teaching career extend over some 30 years. She has led research groupings and championed interdisciplinary research capacity at UCT, as well as the role of soft-funded researchers. Her contribution to UCT’s research management is shown through her ongoing involvement with research and postgraduate committees and working groups at UCT. Her contribution to research nationally has been demonstrated through her leadership role in the nurturing of innovation and in the implementation plans for the bioeconomy strategy.


  • BSc majoring in Chemistry and Microbiology, UCT
  • BSc Honours in Microbiology, UCT
  • PhD (Chemical Engineering), Cambridge University

Awards, Honours and Membership of Societies:

  • Awarded South Africa’s Distinguished Woman Scientist of 2007
  • Awarded SARChI Chair in Bioprocess Engineering in 2008
  • Elected to UCT’s College of Fellows in 2015
  • Awarded the national NSTF–South 32 award for Research and Engineering capacity development in 2016
  • NRF rating: B1

Recent Career Experience:

  • 6 years as Deputy Dean: Postgraduate and Research: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, UCT (2010–2015)
  • 5 years as Head of Department, Chemical Engineering
  • 29 years as an academic at the University of Cape Town
  • 19 years as Professor of Chemical Engineering
  • 18 years as Director: Centre for Bioprocess Engineering Research, CeBER
  • 3 years as Director: Future Water, UCT’s interdisciplinary water research institute
  • SARChI Research Chair in Bioprocess Engineering (2008–2019)
  • Chair: Board of Trustees, Cape Biotech Trust (2005–2010)
  • Member of the Board of the Technology Innovation Agency in South Africa (2009 – May 2012)
  • Teaching or visiting researcher positions at University of the Western Cape, Stellenbosch University, University of the Free State, Exeter University (UK), MIT (USA), Cambridge University (UK), University of Zambia (Zambia) and Central South University (Changsa, China)

Research profile:

  • Co-authored 207 research papers in refereed journals (129), conference proceedings (68) and book chapters (10)
  • H–index of 37 on Google Scholar and 29 on Scopus
  • Supervised 111 postgraduate students to completion (20 PhD and 91 MSc degrees of which 50 were awarded to women and 62 to Black students).

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning

Associate Professor Lis Lange

Prof Lis LangeAssociate Professor Lis Lange’s term of office began on 1 February 2018.


Lange joined UCT from the University of the Free State (UFS), where she has held the same position. Before that she headed UFS’s Institutional and Academic Planning and Research Department from 2011 to 2014. She was an executive director for the Higher Education Quality Committee in the Council on Higher Education (CHE) from 2006 to 2010 and was acting CEO of the CHE from 2007 to 2008. During her service in the CHE, she secured funding for research projects on higher education from the following international funders: Fulbright, Nuffic, Carnegie Corporation and Ford Foundation.

Lange was born in Argentina and is a permanent resident in South Africa. She earned a BA(Hons) in history from the University of Buenos Aires in 1984, an MA in African studies from El Colegio de Mexico in 1988, and a PhD in history from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1998.

Lange’s research interests focus on the philosophy and politics of education. She has done research on change in higher education as well as on the meanings and possibilities of the notion of transformation, especially at curricular level. Her current work is on higher education curriculum and pedagogy in the context of the call for decolonisation of the curriculum.

She has participated on a number of national task teams of higher education, including

  • University Fees, Council on Higher Education, 2016
  • Transfer of the Colleges of Agriculture from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to the Department of Higher Education and Training, 2016
  • Funding of Higher Education, Department of Higher Education and Training, 2012
  • Consensus Group on the Humanities, South African Academy of Science, 2009–2010
  • Quality of Academic Journals, South African Academy of Sciences, 2006–2008.

Lange is the author of White, Poor and Angry: White working class families in Johannesburg (Ashgate, UK, 2003) and co-editor with Leonhard Praeg of #MustFall: Understanding the moment (UKZN University Press, forthcoming 2018). A small sampling of the policy research she has conducted on South African higher education includes, among other reports

  • “Teaching and learning beyond formal access: Assessment through the looking glass” (Higher Education Monitor, No 10, 2010)
  • “Access and throughput in South Africa: Three case studies, 2006–2008” (Higher Education Monitor, No 9, 2010)
  • “Postgraduate studies in South Africa: A statistical profile” (Higher Education Monitor, No 7, 2009).

Portfolio responsibilities

  • Teaching and Learning

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Transformation

Professor Loretta Feris

Prof Loretta FerisProfessor Loretta Feris took up her portfolio as DVC for transformation on 1 January 2017.


Feris is primarily responsible for the student affairs and transformation portfolios and provides direction with respect to policies, processes and procedures that are pertinent to decolonisation and transformation as it affects both the student and staff experience. These include institutional culture, discrimination and harassment, HIV/AIDS, disability services, employment equity, student demographic change and student financial aid policies.

She currently chairs the Rapid Response Task Team (RRTT), which was set up to monitor and respond to issues that arise as a result of the implementation of the 6 November agreement with students. The RRTT is also leading the research and engagement project on fee-free higher education.

Feris’s research focus has helped shape her for the transformation portfolio. She is a National Research Foundation-rated researcher whose work is aimed at shaping conversations around environmental law and human rights, accountability and social justice – both in South Africa and around the globe.

Before joining UCT she was associate professor of law at the University of Pretoria (2004–2009), where she was instrumental in developing a master’s programme on trade and investment law in Africa. Her career also includes a stint at the Washington College of Law at American University in Washington DC, USA, first as International Legal Studies Fellow (2000) and later as Assistant Director of the International Legal Studies Program, Assistant Coordinator of the Humphrey Fellowship Program and Adjunct Professor of Law (2001–2004).

Feris joined UCT in 2009 as associate professor in the Faculty of Law, where she was director of the Institute for Marine and Environmental Law before her appointment as DVC. She lectured in pollution law, natural resources law and international environmental law.

She has served UCT in a number of positions. Within the Faculty of Law, she held the chair of the Higher Degrees Committee and, until the end of 2015, she was the director of research, during which time she also served on the Faculty Management Board.

She has been a member of the University Research Committee and held the position of deputy chair of UCT’s Conference and Travel Committee (2012–2015) and chaired the committee in 2016. Until early 2016 she was the vice-chair of the Black Academic Caucus.

Feris advises the United Nations Environment Programme on priority areas for the environmental law agenda. She is a law commissioner of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and a member of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, where she served on the teaching and training committee (2007–2009) as well as on a task team on innovative teaching of environmental law (2009).

Portfolio responsibilities

  • Institutional Forum
  • Institutional culture
  • Discrimination and harassment, HIV/AIDS, disability services
  • Employment equity

Departments and individual reporting lines

  • Student Affairs
  • Transformation Services Office
  • Disability Service
  • Safety and Violence Initiative

Committee membership

  • Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC) (board member)
  • University Council
  • Senate
  • Nominations Committee
  • Admissions Committee
  • Institutional Forum Committee
  • College of Wardens
  • Residence Committee
  • University Student Affairs
  • University Transformation Advisory Committee
  • Sports Council

Committees outside UCT

  • Biowatch (board member)
  • Natural Justice (board member)