Transitional plan announced for Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ihron Rensburg’s departure

The Chairperson of the University of Johannesburg (UJ)’s Council, Prof Roy Marcus, announced a transitional plan leading to the departure of Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Ihron Rensburg, whose term will end at the beginning of 2018.

“Following UJ’s successful 10th anniversary in 2015, it is now the opportune time to hand over the curatorship of the University, to continue to advance its stature with innovative ideas and insights,” says Prof Marcus.

Prof Marcus said, the University – which came into existence in January 2005 through the merger of the then Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), Technikon Witwatersrand (TWR) and the Soweto Campus of Vista University — would start a structured recruitment process for Prof Rensburg’s successor in October this year.

Under the leadership of Prof Rensburg, UJ made immense progress in transforming itself into a leading South African, pan-African, and international institution of learning and teaching open to all.

“The task now is to build on what the University has become under Prof Rensburg’s leadership,” said Prof Marcus. “The current VC’s term will be somewhat shorter than initially envisaged at his own request. After more than a decade as the founding Vice-Chancellor of the new UJ, Prof Rensburg felt that the time had come to hand the leadership reigns to an academic able to take our success story to the next level.”

Prof Marcus said that the transition to a new Vice-Chancellor would be managed over the coming year. The University and particularly Council are fortunate to be able to benefit from Prof Rensburg’s expertise, knowledge and leadership until early 2018, by which time a commendable successor will be in place.

Prof Marcus said that following the advertisement of the Vice-Chancellor’s post in October, a high level panel would shortlist candidates by March next year. Shortlisted candidates would make the necessary academic presentations to the University congregations in May 2017, and the selection panel would conduct interviews in June 2017. “Our aim is to announce Prof Rensburg’s successor soon after the interviews so that the new Vice-Chancellor can participate in a seamless transition with Prof Rensburg from January 2018,” said Prof Marcus.

His term of office to date has seen significant transformation so that UJ is a new University in its own right. Combining the best elements of its predecessor institutions with a significant orientation towards the future as a leading African university at the forefront of progress in the continent’s most important economic hub, Johannesburg.


  • Rise in student number from 46 000 to over 52 000, where the demographic profile has changed dramatically
    • from 60% Black students in 2005, UJ now reflects South Africa’s demographics, with 86 % of its student body from previously disadvantaged backgrounds
  • transformed the academic landscape with the number of Black academics rising by more than 300% from 140 to 450
    • despite intense competition among all South African universities for Black academic staff, UJ is in 2016 already close to meeting its 2020 target of 40% Black faculty members
  • by increasing its own research output by 400%, doubled its share of national research output to almost eight percent
  • experienced significant enrolment growth in flagship undergraduate and postgraduate programmes
  • significantly improved course success rates, with graduate output rising from 10 037 in 2005 to over 13 000 this year
  • dramatically increased the number of its graduates from the poorest sections of the population, with nearly half of all graduates today – the first in their families to attend university and graduate
  • Empowered thousands of young people and their families as 95% of all graduates find employment within 12 months
    • with 25% of the national output produced more Black candidate chartered accountants than any other tertiary institution in the country
  • UJ moves from a set of institutions narrowly focused on students from their immediate surroundings to a major pan-African site of learning, teaching, and research with students and faculty members from across the continent
  • develop into the country’s second strongest university brand and Africa’s leading comprehensive university that does not have a medical school
  • UJ’s ranking climbs to 63rd among all BRICS universities
  • been rated by the renowned QS World University Rankings among the top four percent of universities worldwide
  • UJ classified by QS World University Rankings as one of South Africa’s five universities with a large research footprint – an achievement all the more remarkable because the other four all have research intensive medical schools
  • established and/or reinvigorated 29 research niches, focus groups, centres, institutes, and centres of excellence across the natural, economic, financial and management sciences, engineering and the humanities, and across technological and academic disciplines, attracting large numbers of post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers
    • UJ today counts 156 NRF-rated researchers among them six with an A-rating
    • UJ currently has 134 post-doctoral fellows
    • the number of distinguished NRF Chairs has grown from zero to 12
    • UJ today is home to the NRF Centre of Excellence for Integrated Mineral and Energy Resource Analysis (CIMERA), which is crucial to the economy
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