Message from the Vice-Chancellor and Principal

The University of Pretoria is built on a foundation of excellence and change. Our strength lies in working together to transform the futures of our country, continent and the world.

Our key strategic goals are to:

  • enhance access and successful student learning;
  • strengthen the University’s research and international profile;
  • foster and sustain a transformed, inclusive and equitable university community;
  • optimise resources and enhance institutional sustainability; and
  • strengthen the University’s social consciousness and its impact on society.

We value diversity and strive to be truly inclusive and broadly reflective of South Africa; upholding the values in our Constitution.

We have to place the best interests of our students first, and we are actively working to address issues they may face, whether financial or related to inadequate accommodation or other barriers to access and success.

We have various initiatives and support structures in place to ensure that our students get the help and guidance they need to graduate on time, and that they are fully prepared to access the job market or start their own businesses in the world beyond university.

One of the key priorities will be to address student hunger. Creative, new solutions to reach self-sustainability are being explored. Based on the findings of a student survey, which included an audit of existing services and facilities, we are in the process of rolling out a revised model for the provision of food to students on campus, as well as a more flexible pricing model. Support for students with disabilities will be increased. The student health, wellness and counselling functions will be streamlined and consolidated into a coherent unit catering for all aspects of student well-being. We need to ensure that every student enjoys the best quality of life and is able to make a contribution to society.

We produce the highest number of research outputs locally, as recorded by the Department of Higher Education and Training. We will continue to improve on the quality of our research. We are one of the biggest contributors of qualified professionals and research students in the country.  As a result, we are already known internationally as a research-intensive university.

We will further improve on our research and international profile with three new major, large-scale projects.

Our Future Africa campus is the first of its kind on the continent, and it will function as a space for trans-disciplinary research. Issues of critical relevance to Africa will be tackled by researchers from multiple disciplines across all our faculties. These issues include everything from sustainable development and good governance, citizen participation and human rights, to advancing innovation for the bio-resource economy.

Future Africa will be our vehicle and contribution to addressing complex challenges that face Africa and indeed the world. It will also make a signal contribution to creating the next generation of researchers and research leaders required to ensure research sustainability and continuity.

I believe that art is to culture and heritage what breathing is to life. Furthering the arts, as with all types of knowledge, enables us to imagine a better world in which we fulfil most of our aspirations. The Javett Art Centre at UP will become a major focal point for visiting local and international exhibitions, as well as a hub for researching the art of Africa, art residencies, and a gallery for student art and exhibition spaces, including the Mapungubwe Gold Collection, which dates back to before the 13th century.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is upon us, and we need to make sure we stay ahead by constantly innovating, developing and changing.

The Engineering 4 development will be a world-class hub, not only for smart cities and transportation – it will also link vast resources in technology and data sciences to other faculties via Future Africa, and will position the University to unlock the potential of the 4IR for Africa.

Let us continue to strive for excellence and remember to embrace change as we look forward to the next 111 years of the University of Pretoria. I have no doubt that every positive change we make in the right direction will help us attain ever-increasing levels of impact, industriousness and influence.

 

 

 

Published by Zama Mthembu

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