Dear UJ Community,
Tomorrow, Friday, the 24th of June 2022, marks the end of the University first semester. I thought it was important to pause and reflect on the journey we have travelled so far in this academic year.
I am encouraged by the fact that we are only one of the few universities that have embraced a Mandatory Vaccination Policy, following an extensive consultation process and approval by UJ Council. In doing so, we have demonstrated that when we do things collectively, and united in purpose, we can achieve more. One can safely say that we are now better prepared to deal with future COVID-19 variants.
It has been particularly gratifying to see many of our campus spaces filling up again, after two years of standing empty, quite literally. Excitement has been palpable among our students, as they could now engage with their academic activities on campus. No doubt, the Mandatory Vaccination Policy has been a catalyst that reinvigorated us in our mission to position UJ as an international University of Choice, anchored in Africa and Dynamically Shaping the Future.
The fruits have been felt almost instantly, as we were able to consolidate our growth trajectory in the various global rankings. Just to reiterate, we are now ranked overall at position 69 out of 1406 universities in this year’s edition of the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking. We have, in the process, climbed 23 places from position 92 in the world in last year’s edition. This feat was achieved despite 289 more universities ranked than last year.
How sweet is it to know that the QS World University Rankings released earlier this month has ranked UJ at position 2 in South Africa and on the African continent? Of course, this was also affirmed by the latest Department of Higher Education and Training Research Output Report, which ranked us in second position two years in a row.
Another important achievement this year was that the International University Sports Federation (FISU) has certified UJ as a healthy campus institution. This is quite the feat considering that our University is among the top 40 certified universities out of 92 participating institutions.
On this note, I was impressed by the participation of various faculties and divisions in the Council of Higher Education audit, which conducted a virtual and site visit in May. Once again, based on informal feedback from staff, I do hope that the vibrancy of our university and our commitment to excellence across all domains has put us good standing.
After two years of virtual graduations, because of the COVID-19 restrictions, I beamed with pride as our graduates walked across the graduation stage. The success of these Autumn and Winter graduations was another stark reminder of the fruits we continue to reap from embracing the Mandatory Vaccination Policy. Of course, challenges remain, such as power supply and safety in around our campuses, but we have demonstrated that with a common resolve, we are capable of overcoming problems.
We look forward to welcoming our incoming Chancellor, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, whose term will start in October. In the same vein, we reiterate our special gratitude to our current Chancellor, Professor Njabulo Ndebele, for his outstanding contribution over the last five years of his term.
Once again, I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone at UJ – your hard work and dedication is appreciated! To our students, enjoy your winter break but do use the time wisely to catch up on your academic work.
Have a safe and pleasant winter break, take care and do keep warm.
Professor Tshilidzi Marwala
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
University of Johannesburg
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