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Distinguished Professor, Stellenbosch University

Jonathan Jansen is a distinguished professor at Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Education. He teaches and conducts research on school governance, management, leadership and policy. He also serves as a mentor to postgraduate students.

Prior to this he was a vice-chancellor and senior professor at the University of the Free State. In addition to having served as a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in 2016/17, he is also the president of both the South African Institute of Race Relations and the South African Academy of Science.

He started his career as a biology teacher in the Cape after he had completed his science degree at the University of the Western Cape. He went on to obtain an MS degree from Cornell University and a PhD from Stanford. Jansen also holds honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Vermont and Cleveland State University.

In 2013, he was awarded the Lifetime Achiever Award for Africa at the Education Africa Global Awards in New York, as well as the University of California's Spendlove Award for his contribution to tolerance, democracy and human rights. The next year, he won the Nayef Al Rodhan Prize from the British Academy for the Social Sciences and Humanities for his book Knowledge in the Blood (published by Stanford University Press).

More recent publications by Jansen include Leading for Change (Routledge, 2016), As by fire: the end of the South African university (Tafelberg, 2017), Interracial intimacies on campuses (Bookstorm, 2017) and Song for Sarah (Bookstorm, 2017). Products of his pen to appear in 2018 include Inequality in South African schools (with Nic Spaull, published by Springer), Politics of Curriculum (as editor) and Now that I know, a book on South African families who were separated by the racial laws of the 1950s.


  • –present
    Distinguished Professor, Stellenbosch University

Grants and Contracts

  • 2019
    Distinguished Professor
    Funding Source:
    National Research Foundation