Dear Staff and Students
Let me start by warmly welcoming our new Executive Director for Operations, Mr Eugene O'Brien, to the University. Allow me also to congratulate Dr Kirti Menon on her appointment to her new position as Senior Director for Academic Planning, Quality Promotion and Professional Academic Staff Development. I trust that both of you will find your new roles both challenging and rewarding, and that you will make outstanding contributions to our success.
Allow me also to extend my congratulations to Prof Cora Burnett-Louw, Research Professor in the Department of Sport and Movement Studies, who was last week awarded the prestigious Universitas21 award for Excellence in the Internationalisation of Higher Education. For many years, Prof Burnett-Louw spearheaded the establishment of the first Olympic Studies Centre in Africa, one of only 38 throughout the world. She works closely with other scholars in Africa and beyond to promote sport for development that is informed by the United Nations declaration of Sport for Development and Peace in 2003. Please accept my sincere appreciation for your excellent work and for advancing our University's Pan African and global excellence ambitions.
In celebration of Africa Month, our UJ Library held a discussion on ‘The Writing and Publishing of African Narratives’. Dumisani Sibiya, from the Department of African Literature, facilitated the discussion, with Anele Siswana, from the Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD), as one of the discussants. Thabiso Mahlape from Blackbird Publishers encouraged people to write their own African stories and to ensure that they are published by reputable publishers. Three books written by young Africans provided the basis for the discussion: Nwelezelanga – The Star Child by Unathi Magubeni, which tells the story of a 13-year-old albino child; The Fabulist’s Bindle, a collection of short stories by Mehluli Nxumalo; and Smelly Cats by 10-year-old multiple award-winner, Stacey Fru.
I also write to let you know that students from our Faculty of Education recently participated in a three-week teaching experience programme in Kuwait which was offered by the American Creative Academy, while on Tuesday, the UJ Faculty of Education signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Academy that will lead to the expansion of the programme. This partnership, with its focus on work-integrated learning, not only highlights the excellent standard of the University’s teaching and learning programmes, but also reflects the University’s drive to ensure that graduates are equipped with expertise fit for purpose, whether locally or internationally.
Please also take note that next week the UJ Research and Innovation departments are hosting fellow members of the prestigious U21 Research Collaboration Group for the 2017 annual meeting. Very importantly, this group promotes research collaboration across U21, shares knowledge about international funding streams and provides funding advice to U21 researchers.Also next week, the University of Maryland Research Administration office will run three Borderless Research Administration Knowledge Exchange (BRAKE) workshops at UJ. The workshops will focus on research administration, applying for National Institute Health funding and compliance requirements. Interested academic and support staff are encouraged to participate in one or more of the workshops: further information can be found at http://research.umd.edu/brake-workshops.
I am happy to let you know that our first 2017 graduation season ends on Thursday, 18 May. Congratulations go out to all our graduates, and our diligent academics, and supporting and proud parents! I am confident that their achievements at UJ have provided them with the knowledge, skills and maturity that will equip them well for the exciting years ahead. My sincere appreciation to our dedicated team of staff under the stewardship of Professor Kinta Burger and our Executive Deans for ensuring a hugely successful, joyous, and incident free first round of graduation ceremonies.
With my very best wishes,Prof Ihron Rensburg
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
University of Johannesburg