Vice-Chancellor Message - 27 October 2017

Vice-Chancellor Message - 27 October 2017

Publishing Date: 10/27/2017 9:00 AM

Dear Staff and Students

This week saw the release of the 2018 Best Global Universities Rankings by US News and World Report - a global authority in education rankings. The news that UJ has climbed an incredible 93 places from a global rank of 550 in last year’s 2017 edition to a global rank of 457 in the latest 2018 edition, breaking into the Top 500 in the world is truly amazing! The US News and World Report evaluates universities on 13 performance indicators. UJ improved across the board, bettering its global ranking positions in 12 of the indicators. UJ also came in at an impressive global rank of 258 for an additional new 13th indicator – the percentage of total publications with international collaboration - which US News and World Report has added to this year’s methodology to emphasise the value of international collaboration by affirming those universities that author articles with researchers from different countries. The results demonstrate, once again, that UJ is consolidating its well-earned place among South Africa, Africa and the world’s top research-intensive universities.

We are moving towards another important milestone in the academic year – the conclusion of our teaching programme (Friday, 3 November) and the commencement of year-end examinations for our students (with most students commencing on Saturday, 11 November). Also, we are now just a week away from the study break that commences on 4 November. As we progress towards the end of the 2017 academic programme, I urge our students to remain focused and committed to ensuring success in your academic endeavours, and I once again remind you of the many support services the University offers.

I am pleased to announce that our Chartered Financial Analyst, and Finance and Investment Management student teams have done extremely well in the South African leg of industry-specific challenges. Both teams came first in their respective competitions. The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Programme is a professional credential, which hosts the CFA Institute Research Challenge - an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. In competing in this prestigious competition, students work in teams to research and analyse a publicly traded company, including meeting face-to-face with company management. The student teams write research reports on their assigned company with a buy, sell, or hold recommendations and present and defend their analysis to a panel of industry professionals. This competition involves thousands of students from over 1 000 universities in more than 75 countries.

The Financial Planning Challenge (FPC) Competition is hosted by the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI) and prepares the next generation of financial planners. The competition is designed exclusively for students studying any financial planning or finance-inclined undergraduate degree programme registered in South Africa. The competition criteria illustrate potential avenues for satisfying Financial Planning Competency Framework and Standards. Teams participate in preparing and presenting a complete financial plan as well as compete in a quiz-style challenge. My warmest congratulations to our student teams and to the staff and management of the College of Business and Economics for these outstanding achievements.

The Annual International Festival, hosted by our Division for Internationalisation, took place this week. The event is an excellent platform to foster awareness of the positive aspects of diversity. The Festival celebrates the values, traditions and beliefs of world cultures and highlights the importance of international collaboration and communication as crucial elements of academic vitality. On Friday, 20 October, the fountain court at the Auckland Park Kingsway campus transformed into a world of exploration with multiple cuisines, discussions and performances, with students from different countries showcasing their cultural heritage.

We paused last week to reflect on and to remember the lives of those who passed on in the past year. On Thursday, 19 October, UJ hosted families, relatives and friends of the late colleagues and students at a ceremony to honour their valuable contributions and their lives. Our thoughts remain with the families and friends. 

Since, at the request of the Minister of Basic Education, I have accepted the prestigious role of chairperson of the South Africa UNESCO Commission, I travel next week to the UNESCO to participate in its Biennial General Meeting. I look forward to learning and making important contributions to this very important global organisation.
I have written before about the need for our university spaces to be clean. I wish to commend all staff and students who are embarking on a Cleaning Campaign across our campuses today.  We recognise that it is equally the duty of students, staff and visitors not to litter and to contribute to a clean environment. I would like to remind you that we must commit ourselves to KEEPING OUR CAMPUSES CLEAN WITHOUT LITTERING!

With my very best wishes,

Professor Ihron Rensburg

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

University of Johannesburg