Posted on May 19, 2017
Prof David Maree, Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Pretoria (UP), recently received his third doctoral degree (DPhil) at the University's Autumn Graduation ceremonies. What was even more special was that this time he was joined by his daughter, Maryke Maree, who received her BA degree.
Prof Maree earned his first doctorate in 1991, a DD (Theology), 'Critical rationalism and theology'; his second in 1995, a DPhil (Psychology), 'Cognition and consciousness: developing a conceptual framework', and his third and most recent this year, a DPhil (Philosophy), 'A critical realist view of psychology as a science'.
When asked why he studied for a third doctorate when many would be content with one, he said that while some people regard obtaining a doctorate as the end of a long process of study, he felt that maintaining your knowledge and expertise in your field required ongoing study. He elaborated: 'My view is that studying for a doctorate is a process by which you not only gain valuable knowledge, but develop a host of other critical skills. The process of learning affords you the opportunity to think critically about your sources, find the unique element others have not thought of, develop skills in literature and other research, and practise writing skills.' Despite having three PhDs, he confessed that he was still amazed by the enormous gaps in his knowledge.
Prof Maree credits his curious nature as the motivating factor behind his scholarly work. It drives him to want to know more. He also finds the process of learning enjoyable. 'Some people run, I read!' he said.
He began his career conducting traffic research at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and did this for 12 years. He eventually worked in psychometric test development, a topic that is close to his heart and which he teaches to postgraduate students. He is also currently the chair of the Psychometrics Committee of the Board for Psychology at the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
In 1999, he was appointed a full professor in the Department of Psychology, responsible for the professional training of MA (Research) psychology students, while also working on a number of research projects and teaching mainly honours and master's students in research methods. In 2013, he was appointed as Head of the Department of Psychology and elected as president of the Psychological Association of South Africa, a position he held for three years.
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