Shirley Walters is the founding director of the Division for Lifelong Learning. She was previously the founding director of the Centre for Adult and Continuing Education (CACE) at UWC and has been Professor of Adult and Continuing Education since 1986. She has published widely on issues relating to gender, popular education, community education, lifelong learning in higher education, learning regions and education for democracy.
She is currently deputy president (Africa) on the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE) and deputy president for PASCAL International Membership Association (PIMA).
Before joining UWC in 1985 Shirley worked as a high school teacher, a training officer on a diamond mind, and a director of a community organisation. She has been involved with many civil society organisations, which are concerned with social justice issues and the promotion of lifelong learning. She was a founder of the Women's Hope Education and Training (WHEAT) Trust, which supports grassroots women's leadership development. For four years Shirley was the Chairperson of the Learning Cape Festival, a provincial initiative to promote the province as a learning region. Since late 2004, she has been the Chairperson of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
Shirley enjoys the outdoors and is a keen recreational cyclist. She has travelled widely and has worked for short periods in countries in South and North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa.