New UCT dean of law sets transformation goal


Professor Penelope Andrews has been appointed as UCT’s new dean of law, officially taking up her position last month after returning from America.

There, she had made history as the first woman to serve as the president and dean of New York State’s Albany Law School since it opened in 1851.

She was previously the associate dean for academic affairs at the City University of New York School of Law (CUNY), where she also sat on the senate. Before joining CUNY, she served as professor of law and director of international studies at Valparaiso Law School in Indiana is a noted human rights scholar and advocate.

When Professor Andrews, who currently lives in Sea Point, but was born and raised in Kensington, was asked what she hoped to tackle in her new role, she listed as her priorities: “Transformation. Building on the local and global strengths of UCT law. Building on the strong liberal tradition of UCT. Supporting academic and support staff. Mentoring junior faculty staff and students. Student engagement and student professional development.”

Her most memorable achievement came in November last year, she said, when she hosted the 20th anniversary commemoration of the South African Constitution in New York as well as the South Africa Reading Group in New York.

Professor Andrew’s last three awards included The Global Award from the National Bar Association (the association for African-American lawyers in the America); the Women Who Mean Business Award from the Business Review in New York (2014); and The Peter Pryor Award from the Capital District Black and Hispanic Bar Association (2015).

Speaking about her strengths, Professor Andrews said: “Commitment to transformative goals of the constitution, especially the social and economic rights; commitment to professional development of the next generation of South African legal professionals; commitment to access to justice and commitment to racial equity.”

She said she was “excited and honoured” to be taking up her new role at UCT.

Professor Andrews earned her BA in 1980 (majoring in economic history and comparative African government and administration) and her LLB in 1982 from the then-University of Natal in Durban. In 1984, she received an LLM from Columbia University School of Law in New York. She began her teaching career more than 20 years ago at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

She has been tenured at four law schools (one in Australia and three in America) and has served on significant law school committees and the boards of public interest legal organisations as well as on business councils.

Professor Andrews has also been a member of and has chaired several accreditation site teams for the American Bar Association’s section on legal education and admissions to the Bar. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Professor Andrews has published four books and more than 50 articles and book chapters focusing on international human rights law, comparative constitutional law, gender and racial equality, and the judiciary. Her most recent book, From Cape Town to Kabul: Rethinking Strategies for Pursuing Women’s Human Rights, was published in 2012.

UCT vice-chancellor Dr Max Price, said Professor Andrews would replace Professor PJ Schwikkard, who had served as dean of law at UCT since January 2009.

“Though I will do so more formally at the appropriate time, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Schwikkard for her excellent management of the faculty and to wish her a happy transition back into full-time legal scholarship,” he said.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that Professor Penelope (Penny) Andrews has been appointed the new dean of the faculty of law at the University of Cape Town,” Dr Price said.

Professor Andrews said UCT could expect, “enthusiasm, engagement and passion” from her when she takes up her post.