The University of the Free State (UFS) appointed Prof Puleng Lenka-Bula as vice-rector of institutional change, student affairs, and community engagement.
The university approved her appointment at a meeting held earlier this year, and she started in her new position on 1 May.
“Lenka-Bula’s holistic experiences within the university on student, staff and executive levels are an advantage in rethinking higher education in the current conjuncture,” Prof Francis Petersen, rector and vice-chancellor of the UFS, said in a statement.
“As an intellectual leader and an expert on academics, governance, and ethics, she will lead and align her talents to the enhancement of the UFS as a site of excellence in the global knowledge sector.”
According to Peterson, Lenka-Bula’s vision for the portfolio of vice-rector is to lead with courage and excellence. She also has the requisite need to collaboratively propel the UFS as a university of choice and excellence for many global citizens who want to pursue their knowledge.
Lenka-Bula was the dean of student affairs at Wits, and she also worked at the University of South Africa (Unisa) as an associate professor of ethics. She was the dean of students at the same university from 2014 to 2016.
From 2011 to 2014, Lenka-Bula worked as director and adviser in the office of the principal and vice-chancellor of Unisa, Prof. Mandlenkosi Makhanya.
She was also a visiting professor at the University of Toronto Emmanuel College in 2009.
Lenka-Bula is currently a member of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, where she serves as the chair of the governance committee. She has served on numerous boards and intellectual associations, including the Transparency International South Africa Chapter, Focus on Youth Inc.
Other influential positions include serving as deputy president of the South African Council of Churches.
Lenka-Bula has also formed part of a number of studies and expert groups aimed at advising the World Council of Churches, including the AGAPE process, and the Poverty, Wealth and Ecology Advisory Group.