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Cheryl de la Rey


Tumu Whakarae

Vice-Chancellors Office

05 April 2024

About Professor Cheryl de la Rey

Professor Cheryl de la Rey has held the role of Tumu Whakarae | Vice-Chancellor of Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury since 2019. Cheryl's extensive career encompasses leadership roles in tertiary education in South Africa, including Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cape Town and Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria. 

Cheryl is renowned for her visionary and strategic thinking, coupled with a strong aptitude for effective management. In her role as Vice-Chancellor, she has responsibility for the overall leadership of the University and leads the Senior Leadership Team.

Cheryl's commitment to the education sector is evident through her active involvement on multiple boards. She has worked on higher education policy and is currently chairperson of both the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and Universities New Zealand (UNZ), and she serves as a board member of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).


Research discipline

Cheryl’s academic background is in Psychology with a PhD in Social Psychology. She has published and edited chapters, books and journal articles on issues of intergroup relations with a specific focus on gender.



  • BA 1983 - University of Natal, Durban, South Africa
    • Psychology 11 & 111 with distinction
  • BA Hons cum laude 1984 - University of Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal), South Africa
  • MA cum laude 1986 - University of Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal), South Africa
  • PhD 1999 - University of Cape Town, South Africa


Fellowships and Professional Associations

  • Fellow, Psychological Society of South Africa (2002)
  • Fellow: Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS) (2008)
  • Fellow: Royal Society of South Africa (2010)
  • Registered Research Psychologist – Health Professions Council of South Africa
  • Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa
  • Member of International Women’s Leadership Association and Global Women NZ


Recipient of Rhodes University’s “Psychology and Social Change Award” (2012)
Business Women’s Association of SA Business Women of the Year winner. Category: Education (2017)
Science Forum SA Award for leadership in international science co-operation and diplomacy (2018)

Recent publications


  • Swartz, L; C. de la Rey & Duncan, N. (2004, Revised 2007; 2011; 2016, 2021) Psychology; An Introduction. Cape Town: Oxford. 
  • N. Duncan, A. van Niekerk, C. de la Rey & M. Seedat (eds) (2001) Race, Racism, Knowledge Production and Psychology in South Africa. Huntington, New York: Nova Science Publishers. 


Book Chapters

  • de la Rey, C & Thompson, C.E. (2020) Decolonization and Liberation Psychology: The Case of Psychology in South Africa. In Rubin, N.S & Flores, R. L. The Cambridge Handbook of Psychology and Human Rights. Cambridge, UK Cambridge University Press.
  • de la Rey, C; Kilfoil W & Van Niekerk G (2017). Evaluating Service Leadership Programs with Multiple Strategies. In Shek, Daniel, T.L., Hollister, Robert, M (Editors) University Social Responsibility and Quality of Life: A Global Survey of Concepts and Experiences. Singapore: Springer.
  • de la Rey, C (2015). Women’s Advancement in Science and Engineering in South Africa. In Pearson, W, Frehill, L.M., McNeely, C. L. (eds) Advancing Women in Science: An International Perspective. Switzerland: Springer.
  • de la Rey, C (2014) Basic and applied research in psychology education and training: South Africa as a case study. In Silberesein, R, Ritchie, P & Pandey, J. (eds) Psychology Education and Training: A Global Perspective. Routledge.
  • de la Rey, C. (2012) Narrative Analysis. The Encyclopedia of Peace Psychology. Edited by Daniel J Christie. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
  • Boonzaier, F. & de la Rey, C. (2004). Sex and gender in society.  In L. Swartz, C. de la Rey & N. Duncan (eds) Psychology: An Introduction. Cape Town: Oxford.
  • Pretorius, T. & de la Rey, C. (2004). A brief introduction to research approaches in Psychology. In L. Swartz, C. de la Rey & N. Duncan (eds) Psychology: An Introduction. Cape Town: Oxford.
  • de la Rey, C. & Duncan, N. (2003). Racism: A Social Psychological Perspective. In K. Ratele & N. Duncan (eds) Social Psychology: Identities and Relationships, Landsdowne, South Africa: UCT Press.
  • de la Rey, C.; Jankelowitz, G. & Suffla, S. (2003). Women's leadership programs in South Africa: A strategy for intervention. In Franchi, V.E. & Duncan, D. (eds) Prevention and Intervention Practice in Post-apartheid South Africa. New York: Haworth Press Inc.
  • de la Rey, C. & Boonzaier, F. (2002). Constructing race: Black women activists in the Western Cape. In N. Duncan, P. Gqola, M. Hofmeyer, T. Shefer, F. Malunga & M. Mashige (eds) Discourses on Difference Discourses on Oppression. Cape Town: Centre for Advanced Studes of African Society (CASAS).
  • de la Rey, C. (2002). Schools: Role-players in the construction of gender. In K. Asmal & W. James (eds) Spirit of the Nation: Reflections on South Africa’s Educational Ethos.  Cape Town: HSRC/ Department of Education/New Africa Education.
  • de la Rey, C. (2001) Reconciliation in Divided Societies. In D.J. Christie, R.V. Wagner & D. Du Nann Winter (eds) Peace, Conflict and Violence: Peace Psychology for the Twenty-first Century. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
  • de la Rey, C. (2001) Consciousness-raising groups as an intervention strategy against gender oppression. In M. Seedat (ed) Community Psychology: Theory, Method, and Practice. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.
  • de la Rey, C. (2001) Racism and the history of university education in South Africa. In N. Duncan, A. van Niekerk, C. de la Rey & M. Seedat (eds) Race, Racism, Knowledge Production and Psychology in South Africa. Huntington, New York: Nova Science Publishers.



  • de la Rey, C. (2016) The Changing idea of a University. Focus, 76, September 2016
  • de la Rey, C. (10 March 2016) The Power of partnerships, ETH Global Lecture Series. ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
  • de la Rey, C. (April 2016) Women and leadership in higher education, ACU Bulletin. Publication by the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
  • de la Rey, C. (Jul 2015) The Triple Helix: Cooperation between government, academia and business. Boa Review 56-58.
  • de la Rey, C. (Sep 2015) World University rankings blog: should global league tables consider community engagement, Yes they should argue, Antony Monaco and Cheryl de la Rey.
  • de la Rey, C. & McKay, S. (2006) Peacebuilding as a gendered process.  Journal of Social Issues, 62 (1), 141-153.
  • de la Rey, C. (2005) Gender, Women and leadership. Agenda, 65, 4-11.
  • de la Rey, C & Ipser, J. (2004) The call for relevance: South African Psychology ten years after democracy.  South African Journal of Psychology, 34 (4), 544-552.
  • Boonzaier, F. & de la Rey, C. (2004). Woman Abuse: The construction of gender in women and men’s narratives of violence. South African Journal of Psychology, 34 (3), 443-463.
  • de la Rey, C.; Jankelowitz, G. & Suffla, S.  (2003). Women's Leadership Programmes in South Africa: A Strategy for Community Intervention. Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 25 (1) 49-64.
  • Moultrie, A. & de la Rey, C. (2003).  South African women leaders in Higher Education: Professional development needs in a changing context.  McGill Journal of Education, 38 (3), 407-420.
  • Boonzaier, F. & de la Rey, C. (2003).  He’s a man, and I’m a woman: Cultural constructions of masculinity and femininity in South African women’s narratives of violence. Violence against Women, 9 (8), 1003-1029.
  • de la Rey, C. & McKay, S. (2002) Peace as a Gendered Process: Perspectives of Women doing Peacebuilding in South Africa. International Journal of Peace Studies, 7 (1), 91-101.
  • McKay, S. & de la Rey, C. (2001) Women’s meanings of peacebuilding in post-apartheid South Africa. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 7(3), 227-242.
  • Brink, B. & de la Rey, C. (2001) Work-Family Interaction Strain: Coping Strategies used by Successful Women in the Public, Corporate and Business Sectors. South African Journal of Psychology, 31 (4) 55-61.
  • de la Rey, C. (2000). Structural Asymmetries and Peace: Hope or Despair? Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 6 (3), 217-221.
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