Vice-Chancellor Message – 25 November 2022

Date: Nov 25, 2022 | News, Vice-Chancellor Messages


Vice Chancellor Message 02 November 2021Dear UJ Community,

One of the highlights of our University in recent years has been our success in positioning the institution as a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) conversation. Today, our dominance in this space reaches far beyond South Africa’s borders to Africa and elsewhere in the world. In this regard, I am thrilled to announce that our University is one of the two institutions of higher learning that have been selected to host a newly established Artificial Intelligence Institute of South Africa.

Next week on Wednesday, 30 November 2022, in collaboration with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), UJ will launch this Institute. The launch will take place at our Johannesburg Business School (JBS), which will be the host of the Institute.

The  Institute is the result of the South African government’s decision to embrace digital technologies to advance the course of human development and the local economy. It was founded upon the vision set out by the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (PC4IR), of which I was the deputy chair. President Cyril Ramaphosa will be among the speakers, along with the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Ms Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Prof Letlhokwa Mpedi (UJ Vice-Chancellor Designate), and Prof Randall Carolissen (Dean of JBS) at the launch.

Still on 4IR matters, our University recently hosted two distinguished guests, namely, Prof Hannele Niemi, an internationally acclaimed Professor of Education from the University of Helsinki, and Dr Juha Riikonen, the CEO of Visintum Ltd, which is an innovation consulting company in Finland. The purpose of their visit to South Africa, and UJ,  was to promote cooperation between Finnish and South-African educational institutions and companies within a broad planning project called Digital Academies in Africa (DAIA), funded by Business Finland and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland.

The  project aims to start co-constructed pilots where companies and researchers work together on concrete projects (called DAIA Academies). We had very fruitful discussions about possible collaborations in matters of common interest in this field, and I am optimistic that such discussions will soon bear fruit.

Speaking of this, since 2013, UJ has made R20 million annually available to assist more than 5 000 academically deserving students with a registration fee. With 28% of our students coming from the poorest Quantile 1 and 2 schools, we introduced major programmes within our Academic Development and Support (ADS) Unit. This has helped students overcome social barriers and be more academically focused through daily meal assistance provided to over 4 000 students.

As we prepare for the 2023 Academic Year, our University is launching a Registration Fee Campaign to assist more student with bursaries. To this end, we are asking you, our UJ Community, to join hands with us in our efforts to match or double our impact of R20 million. Kindly make a pledge or donation towards this fund, which will enable a student to register for the 2023 academic year. The registration fee is R3 870.00, and the average tuition fee is R40 000.00 or R105 000.00 (inclusive of accommodation, books, and other allocations) per student, depending on qualification. A section 18A certificate will be issued to all qualifying donations. Click here to donate.

On a different note, this period marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in our country. This is part of an annual international campaign that runs from 25 November to 10 December 2022. The global theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls”.

UJ is committed to providing an environment where staff and students may study and perform their duties and other activities free from all forms of verbal or sexual harassment, rape, intimidation, or exploitation. Click here to report bullying, discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, and rape. UJ Staff can access the system from the UJ Intranet, using Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome, while students can access the reporting system on uLink (rotating banners). All reported incidents will be dealt with in accordance with the UJ policies and procedures. For more information contact gender@uj.ac.za or transformation@uj.ac.za.

This evening, The UJ Council will present the 2022 Ellen Kuzwayo and Alumni Dignitas Council Awards. The Ellen Kuzwayo Award is bestowed annually on individuals who, in the estimation of the Council, demonstrate sustained and exceptional contributions to the promotion of the wellbeing of society, in a manner aligned to the University’s vision, mission, core values and strategic goals, and with whom the institution is proud to be associated.

The annual Alumni Dignitas Award recognises the efforts of UJ Alumni, who have made a significant contribution to the University, a specific field of study, a community, region or nation. I look forward to seeing some of you at this important event in our Academic Calendar, and congratulate the winners in advance.

A key focus of UJ’s Strategic Communications Division is to create compelling multimedia content that promotes the University as an enriching and innovative place for teaching, learning and research. This includes news articles and visual storytelling about students and faculties. I am pleased to note that this hard work has not gone unnoticed, and has been recognised through the  UJ student newsletter, The Voice, and a student video, profiling an outstanding FADA visual artist.

Both received awards at the annual MACE (Marketing, Advancement and Communication in Education) Excellence Awards last week. The Awards recognise and celebrate excellence and the achievements of specialists and practitioners in marketing, as well as advancement and communication in the higher-education sector. Congratulations to the Strategic Communications team, and their leader, Dr Nolitha Vukuza (Senior Executive Manager: University Relations, Student Affairs & UJ Sport) for  these achievements, well done!

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

Professor Tshilidzi Marwala

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