Vice-Chancellor Message – 02 December 2022
Dear UJ Community,
As we approach the end of the 2022 Academic Year and the summer break draws closer, it is worth reflecting on what has been another momentous year for our University. Several public engagements in recent days, including the Council Awards Dinner last week, have reminded me of the many strides and successes we have made, individually and collectively.
As we celebrate our successes, it is easier to forget the challenges we have had to navigate to get this far. The beginning of the year was particularly challenging because UJ was one of the few universities in South Africa that successfully implemented a COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Policy.
Although we have had to put it on hold, the policy ensured that our staff and students had optimal access to the University’s precincts. This has been beneficial for working, learning, research, laboratory and clinical work; it also ensured that our staff and students were protected against COVID-19. An additional benefit was that we could celebrate in-person graduations, not only for students that graduated in 2022, but also during the COVID-19 period when in-person graduations were not possible.
It was yet another testimony that time and again, when we have pulled together and uplifted one another in countless ways, we can overcome even what appears as insurmountable challenges. I believe that the pandemic has made us stronger, more resilient and with that, more creative and innovative.
This year, UJ continued to make significant strides in the various global university ranking systems. Our upward trajectory in various categories of the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, THE SubjectRankings, QS BRICS University Rankings, the QS Sustainability Rankings, and Best Global University Rankings (BGUR), speaks volumes.
Also, this year, a sizeable number of our academics were recognised for their expertise and contributions to society at large. Many of our academics were appointed to national and international boards and academies. These appointments and recognitions have reaffirmed our University’s growing stature across various fields.
Likewise, our students have excelled in various academic, sport, and art and culture competitions. This is further testament to both to their resilience and to the support they have received from our staff in various faculties, departments, and professional support services.
The year 2022 will go down as the period when our University experienced monumental changes in leadership. We have already announced new appointments in the crucial positions of Chancellor, Chair of Council, as well as Vice-Chancellor, Registrar and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic. You may visit our www.uj.ac.za to read all about the new appointees.
Personally, it was also a momentous year, as I was appointed as the Rector of the United Nations University, effective from March next year. I am profoundly indebted to everyone for making my term of office at UJ a resounding success. I very much appreciate all your engagement, support and hard work through not only 2022, but indeed all the years.
Speaking of this, and as we approach the 2023 Academic Year, we should continue to rethink, reimagine and redefine our operations, because we are really on the precipice of change where adaptability is the norm. We need to lift our gaze and focus on building on the successes of the last few years.
Lastly, I hope that over the university break, you will get some well-earned rest and recharge with your friends and family. Be safe and stay well. I wish you all happy holidays and a happy new year!
I wish you all a very peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year, and look forward to seeing you again in 2023.
Kea leboga, enkosi, baie dankie, ndi a livhuwa, thank you!
Professor Tshilidzi Marwala
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
Times mentioned in this newsletter refer to the South African time-zone.