Prof Jonathan Jansen was appointed as Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State on 1 July 2009. He is an Honorary Professor of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand, received an honorary doctorate in Education from the Cleveland State University, USA in 2010 and was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Science of the Developing World (TWAS) in the same year. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the National Research Foundation (NRF).
He is a Fulbright Scholar to Stanford University (2007-2008), former Dean of Education at the University of Pretoria (2001-2007) and an Honorary Doctor of Education from the University of Edinburgh. He is a former high school Biology teacher, who completed his undergraduate education at the University of the Western Cape (B.Sc.), his teaching credentials at UNISA (HED, B.Ed.), and his postgraduate education in the USA (MS, Cornell; Ph.D., Stanford).
His most recent books are Knowledge in the Blood (2009, Stanford University Press), while he has also co-authored Diversity High: Class, Color, Character and Culture in a South African High School (2008, University Press of America). In these and related works he examines how education leaders balance the dual imperatives of reparation and reconciliation in their leadership practice. Knowledge in the Blood received an outstanding book recognition award from the American Educational Research Association. His co-authored book Curriculum: Organizing knowledge for the classroom is in its second edition.
Prof. Jansen serves as Vice-President of the South African Academy of Science and from this vantage point leads three major studies on behalf of the academy, including an inquiry on the role of the South African Ph.D. in the global knowledge economy and another investigation into the future of the humanities in South Africa.
He recently served on the boards of bodies such as the Centre for the Study of the Internationalization of Curriculum Studies, University of British Columbia; the International Commission on the Child of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Washington D.C., USA); and as member of the general assembly, International Association for the Advancement of Curriculum, among others.
He has served as international consultant to UNESCO, the World Bank, the governments of Namibia and Zimbabwe, USAID, SIDA (Swedish), CIDA (Canadian), the European Union (EU), Germany, the Netherlands, DFID (UK) and the USA (through agencies such as the Academy for Educational Development in Washington D.C.). He has served as national consultant to SAQA, the CHE, HESA, the HSRC, SAMDI (now PALAMA), and the NRF. He has also worked closely with embassies of various countries represented in Pretoria, especially the Latin American representatives.
He has chaired ministerial committees on further education and training (appointed by Minister Kader Asmal) and (currently) school evaluation and teacher appraisal (appointed by Minister Naledi Pandor). In addition, he has advised provincial governments on school change.
Prof Jansen has extensive experience in higher education as professor, head of department, dean, (acting) deputy vice-chancellor and, at the two South African universities he worked at, as senate representative on the council (UDW and UP). He has chaired committees at all levels of the university, and does extensive training for deans and for young scholars.
He works closely with the business community on matters of education and training and is a non-executive director of ADvTech, a major provider of private education in South Africa.