Ruksana Osman

Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic, the University of the Witwatersrand


Ruksana Osman is the senior deputy vice-chancellor: academic at the University of the Witwatersrand. In this position, she is responsible for the broad coordination of the academic project, across all divisions of the university and with all faculty deans reporting to her.

Prior to this appointment, she served as the deputy vice-chancellor for advancement, human resources, and transformation, as the dean of the Faculty of Humanities, and as the head of the School of Education. Her experience in higher education spans the full range of roles at all levels of institutional management, governance, and leadership. These have included internally- and externally-facing foci on enabling staff capacitation, directing the academic project, intellectual leadership, and fundraising, contributing to policy development and implementation, and being centrally involved in institutional strategy development.

A professor of education, Osman has extensive teaching and research experience in the field of teacher education and higher education. She has an established reputation for impactful scholarly work in the broad fields of higher education policy, pedagogy and students’ lived experiences of equity and access to higher education. She is known for the connections she has made between research-centered and research-led approaches to learning and teaching and the transformative practices of learning contexts such as schools and universities.

Osman holds the UNESCO Chair in Teacher Education for Diversity and Development and has established a global network to support the research and development work of the Chair. She is widely published in the academic and popular press, and is the author or co-author of multiple papers, journal articles and books. She is the co-editor of “Research-led teacher education: Case studies of possibilities” (2012); “Large class pedagogy: Interdisciplinary perspectives for quality higher education” (2013); “Service learning in South Africa” (2013); “Transforming teaching and learning in higher education: Towards a socially just pedagogy in a global context” (2017); “Teacher education for diversity: Conversations from the Global South” (2018), and “Pedagogical Responsiveness in Complex Contexts” (2022), among others.

An elected member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa, Osman is recognized for the quality and relevance of her work in higher education as a teacher and researcher in pursuit of socially just education.