In recognition of International Mother Language Day, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Rensburg, met staff and students and encouraged them to tell, in their mother tongue, about the progress the University of Johannesburg (UJ) had made at the second VC Campus Engagement Session for 2014. The engagement was held at the Auckland Park Kingsway Campus on Friday, 21 February.
Joined by members of the University’s Executive Leadership Group (ELG), Prof Rensburg noted the achievements* of 2013 and the future going beyond 2014. “The year 2013, was an extraordinary year for the University, all if it made possible by our outstanding hardworking and committed staff and students. It was a tough year, many lows, but also extraordinary highs. In particular, our achievements in the various ranking systems demonstrated that the University is well on track in terms of establishing its global reputation as a place of research and academic repute,” said Prof Rensburg.
He added that the commitment and investment from staff complement the strategic direction of the institution. “The extraordinary talent that we nurture at the University is reflected in our graduates; the knowledge that we produce, in our research outputs; our community work and public scholarship. Our efforts to establish ourselves as a world-class institution do not come easily, but when we put in extraordinary efforts we get extraordinary results,” Prof Rensburg said.
He highlighted some exciting 2014 initiatives. One such initiative is that all first-year students are required to either have a tablet or handheld device for teaching, learning and assessment purposes. He also pointed out the investment UJ is making towards UJ’s 2025 vision especially with regards to the roll out of flagship projects in teaching and learning programmes and research areas. UJ’s drive towards Global Excellence and Stature activation will see that “UJ will invest over R600 million in the next seven year in flagship initiatives. We would be making appointments at a new category called Distinguished Professor, across a range of areas, in particular, focusing on flagships in teaching and learning and research to help UJ grow our global reputation. These top Distinguished Professor will be supported by an increased number of post-doctoral fellows and by distinguished doctoral and master’s fellowships.”
One of the new innovations, to elevate UJ’s global reputation in respect to teaching and learning, is the creation of the post of assistant lecturers. This in turn, will see assistant lecturers being appointed to relieve the teaching load in many of the programmes that are in high demand as well as to grow these young scholars into formidable future academics.
In his engagement Prof Rensburg also addressed concerns and questions posed by staff and students. He assured the students that UJ will walk their university journey with them.
- In 2013, the authoritative QS World University Rankings ranked UJ among the top 4% of universities in the world – placed between 600-650 out of 16,500 universities – and among the top 1% of universities in the BRICS countries, that is Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – placed 61st among this economic bloc’s 6,200 universities. The URAP rankings that focus solely on research output, research impact and global research collaboration, place UJ among the top ten universities in Africa. UJ is also the only African university that is admitted to the highly respected consortium of 28 research-intensive universities in the world – Universitas 21.