Convocation Newsletter Vice Chancellors’ message – May 2024

Now, more than ever, we are realising the role universities play in societies beyond the mandate of higher education. We are vessels for societal impact and our scope is increasingly broadening and pushing our gaze outward. This has defined much of our story this year. Indeed, the University of Johannesburg has made significant strides in this regard and once again, we boast some formidable achievements. For instance, the latest Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Rankings saw UJ soar to the 60th place. Additionally, UJ has also secured a notable global position of 624 in the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) for 2024.

Moreover, for the second year running, it was announced that UJ has been ranked as the leading producer of accredited research outputs in South Africa. This was according to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)’s sector Report on the Evaluation of the 2022 Universities’ Research Outputs. These rankings and metrics reaffirm that UJ remains resolute in its mission to deliver world-class education and drive impactful research and innovation that contributes to societal advancement. Our progress is not just about numbers and figures – it is all about the positive and lasting impact we have on our students and the broader society.

It is your commitment that has helped us maintain our standard of excellence and realise this vision. Together, we are demonstrating that the impact of our research and work is significant in the real world. Excitingly, in this regard, we will soon launch our new strategic plan, which will take us to 2035. The core theme of this plan will be ‘societal impact and sustainability’, ensuring that all UJ activities, including research, teaching, learning, and collaboration, contribute to bettering society and promoting sustainability. As we reimagine and reinvent what the future could possibly be, I am cognisant that we are in an age of angst as we are besieged with challenges that plague our current society but the future will come and as history has shown, despite circumstances, Universities and societies will forge ahead.

I look forward to sharing more about this with you in the near future! Of course, none of this would be possible without your continued support and contributions. You continue to be an integral part of our story. As it is said through the continent of Africa, “With a little seed of imagination you can grow a field of hope”. May this sentiment continue to characterise our journey together as we move forward.

Vice Chancellor and Principal

Prof Letlhokwa Mpedi