UJ: Prof Alex Broadbent appointed as new Executive Dean of Humanities

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is pleased to announce the appointment of Prof Alex Broadbent as the new Executive Dean at the Faculty of Humanities, UJ with effect from 1 May 2015.

Prof Broadbent who is also an Affiliated Research Fellow in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge held various research, teaching and visiting positions at Cambridge, Vienna, Athens and Harvard, before joining UJ as a Senior Lecturer in 2011.
He became Associate Professor in 2012 and Professor in 2015.
Prof Broadbent seeks to bring responsiveness, perspective and humour to the Dean role. He is also a committed “Scholar Dean”, aiming to maintain an active intellectual life alongside management and leadership responsibilities, and to find ways to bring these two streams of university life closer together.
His academic background is in the philosophy of science with particular interests in philosophy of epidemiology (a field he has played a leading role in establishing), philosophy of medicine, and philosophy of law, connected by the philosophical themes of causation, explanation, and prediction. He is committed to finding philosophical problems in practical contexts, and to contributing something useful concerning them.
Prof Broadbent holds degrees in philosophy from Cambridge (BA, PhD) and UCL (MPhil) and a Graduate Diploma in Law from BPP University, Manchester. He holds a P-rating (highest for career stage) from the National Research Foundation of South Africa (2013-2018).
Prof Broadbent is the recipient of numerous awards including the NRF Blue Skies Award (2011), the Elsevier Young Scientist Award (2013), the UJ Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Award for The Most Promising Young Researcher of the Year (2013) and the NIHSS Catalytic Award (2015).
He has published a number of articles in top ranked international journals across three disciplines (philosophy, epidemiology, law).
His first book, Philosophy of Epidemiology, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013, and has recently been translated into Korean. His second book is under contract with Routledge.
Says Prof Broadbent: “I’m delighted to be appointed as Executive Dean. My hope is to be a “Scholar Dean” who maintains an active intellectual life alongside management and leadership roles. This is not solely a selfish ambition. I believe that the great challenge facing modern universities is building a bridge between worlds that have grown quite distant: the world of professional academia, and the corporate, social and political worlds. It is tempting to pick one of the latter and it the “real” world. But that is not accurate.
Today’s reality is tomorrow’s mirage, as ongoing financial and political crises around the globe show. We are constantly reminded that we understand much less than we think. Academia—the rigorous, disciplined study of questions even when their answers are not required for any immediate purpose—has much to offer the “real” world.
The broad range of disciplines falling within the Faculty of Humanities are particularly rich in insights, context, and ideas that apply directly to some of the most troubling and perplexing developments of our time. My hope is that, as a Faculty, we can leverage UJ’s unique position as a nimble and ambitious young university to reach out into these other worlds and make them, not only better, but more interesting and intellectually exciting. And I believe that we can have fun doing it. “
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