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Vice-Chancellor Message – 21 October 2022

Dear UJ Community,

As we begin to draw to the end of another eventful year at our University, the countdown to the year-end examinations and assessments has begun. As our academic calendar indicates, the period between 22 to 26 October 2022 is the study break for our students, which is followed by the second semester final assessments from 27 October to 18 November 2022. Exams and assessments are a crucial component of academic activities as it provides a means for our students to demonstrate that they understand and can apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired during their studies.

I encourage our students to stay focused as they prepare for this last stretch. I am also acutely aware that during this time of the year, many of our students are under immense pressure. This may be because of the stress related to exams or other academic and personal challenges. It is only normal to feel overwhelmed during times like these.

I urge all our students who may feel overwhelmed not to give up or resort to desperate measures. Remember that if you feel stressed, our Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD) has a dedicated team of professional psychologists and social workers who are on hand to offer support and assistance. This includes a walk-in service at all our offices on the different campuses, individual counselling sessions as well as a 24-hour Crisis Line (082 054 1137).

Turning to some notable recent achievements, please join me in congratulating Professor Thabo Legwaila, a Professor in Mercantile Law, who was recently designated as the Acting Tax Ombud by the Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana. Prof Legwaila will act in the position for a three-month period (from October 2022 to January 2023). This is a noteworthy achievement that will greatly enhance his professional profile. Well done, Prof Legwaila!

I also wish to congratulate Prof Farai Nyabadza, Professor in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, on his Professorial Inauguration this past Monday, 17 October 2022. The title of his lecture was, “Mathematical modelling and its impact on policy, diseases control and management”. The inauguration was followed by a brief response by Professor Ebrahim Momoniat, Professor in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. Prof Nyabadza, welcome to the club! We look forward to many more valuable contributions from you.

I am pleased to announce that the UJ Metropolitan Academy walked away with the laurels in the Category of MST and ICT at the Inaugural School of Specialisation (SOS) Festival 2022. The festival provides sector-specific skills to learners in the province with a special focus on the teaching of Mathematics, Science and IT; Commerce and Entrepreneurship; Performing and Creative Arts; Engineering; and Sports.

Learners showcased their skills in Coding and Robotics. A total of 22 schools participated in this festival, which was held at the John Orr Building at our Doornfontein Campus. The UJ Academy was supported by the UJ-TechnoLab under the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, as well as Creative Coding under the Faculty of Education, and VARSTEME Hub under from the Department of Science and Technology Education. Well done to all involved!

Next week, the Chair of UJ Council, Mr Mike Teke, invites you to his final recommended book read for 2022, on Friday, 28 October, at the usual time of 14:00 (CAT). This time, he will discuss What We Owe The Future by William MacAskill. To join in the conversation, click here: https://zoom.us/s/97838283576

Lastly, to all our students and staff who celebrate Diwali, I wish you a joyous celebration next week!

Have a pleasant weekend ahead and take care!

Kea leboga, enkosi, baie dankie, ndi a livhuwa, thank you!

Professor Tshilidzi Marwala

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

University of Johannesburg             

Times mentioned in this newsletter refer to the South African time-zone.

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