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The Psychology and Social Change Project


The Psychology Department has initiated what it terms the ‘Psychology and Social Change Project’ in which prominent members of the Psychology community in South Africa are honoured for their contribution to social change in the country. The aim of the project is to:

  • acknowledge people who have gone beyond the traditional bounds of the discipline and contributed, through intellectual, professional and personal labour, to social change in South Africa;

  • expose students to these kinds of role models within psychology.

In concrete terms the following processes are put into place:

1) Members of staff nominate people they would like to see honoured in this way. Nominations are not made known to the people involved to minimise embarrassment should they not be selected. Nomination include a motivation. Criteria for nomination include that the person has contributed intellectually as well as in some other capacity to social change.

2) The Dean of Humanities, the Head of Department and one other member of the Psychology department elected by members of the department vets these nominations.

Over the next five years, these people will be asked to come to Rhodes, once per year. Their visit here will include:

  • a seminar with postgraduate students

  • a public lecture of their choice (social change in South Africa would be the overarching theme);

  • at the conclusion of the lecture a speech by the HoD concerning why the department wishes to honour this particular person, i.e. detailing their contribution;

  • a handing over of a certificate of honour by the VC/Dean at the conclusion of this;

  • a dinner with the VC, Dean, deputy dean and academic members of the department;

  • features in the press (both newspapers and Psytalk – the newsletter of the Psychological Society of South Africa) of the occasion;

  • communications putting together a laminated poster of the event, detailing the person’s contribution to social change in South Africa. This would become a permanent display in the department.

The aim of this project is to celebrate and acknowledge the contribution made by leading psychologists to social change in South Africa. Over the next five years we shall, each year, acknowledge, through an event such as the one tonight five different psychologists. In addition to a public lecture, we hope to have media coverage at the very least in PsyTalk, the magazine of the Psychological Society of South Africa, and we shall have a permanent exhibition in our department in which the psychologists acknowledged and their work will be displayed.

Last Modified: Wed, 16 May 2018 15:02:06 SAST