Dear UJ Community
I am pleased to announce that our 2021 Academic Programme is now in full swing, after a successful conclusion of the registration process. As we welcome our new students, we are cognisant that this might have been a challenging period. For some of them, this might have been like a baptism of fire, because they needed to quickly familiarise themselves with our online delivery of the academic programme. However, I am encouraged by the feedback from the various faculties and departments, which indicate that our new students are settling in well and exploring and taking advantage of the many opportunities that our University has to offer.
Congratulations on being part of the UJ Community, this is a special and life-changing moment for you! I hope that each one of our students find their stay at UJ productive and fulfilling. Just a reminder that should you require any assistance, including psychosocial support, do contact the relevant divisions and Student Affairs on the campuses.
This week on Wednesday, 24 March 2021, I had an opportunity to engage with our Doornfontein Campus Staff in the last of our virtual VC Staff Engagement events for the first semester. These engagements are useful in sharing important information about the current state of our University, including its financial sustainability, Business Continuity Plans and related matters. I was impressed by the robust and fruitful discussions. The contributions will be valuable as we chart the way forward for our University.
Please join me in congratulating Prof Bokoro Pitshou, the HOD in the Department of Electrical Engineering Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, for being appointed as a Specialist Editor – Energy and Power Systems, for the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE) Africa Research Journal. Well done Prof Bokoro on your appointment, we wish you all the best! Additionally, at last night’s SAIEE Annual General Meeting, the SAIEE-IEEE volunteer award was received by Professor Pat Naidoo, Mechanical Engineering Science, FEBE. Congratulations, Prof Naidoo!
Elsewhere, I am pleased to see that our students are participating in projects that tell their own stories. Most recently, our University joined hands with Brand South Africa and the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA) to launch a student storytelling interdisciplinary project. The students from the Department of Strategic Communication in the Faculty of Humanities, Applied Information Systems, representing the College of Business and Economics and Applied Legal Studies from the Faculty of Law, will work together to produce inspirational stories based on their own experiences and those of others. The stories will be published on digital platforms developed by senior Applied Information Systems’ students based on the legal council of senior Law students. I looking forward to meticulously reading and watching these proudly SA stories. To watch these stories, click here.
With regards to the VC Reading Group, please join me for a webinar discussion next week on my latest recommended book, Twelve Who Ruled: The Year of Terror in the French Revolution, by R. R. Palmer. Dr Stephen Sparks, a senior lecturer in Historical Studies at our University will be the discussant. The discussion is scheduled for Tuesday, at 14:00 on Tuesday, 30 March 2020. Click here to join in the conversation. To find a link to the e-book, click here. This Saturday, Ms Daisry Mathias, the Advisor to the President of Namibia, will launch the Namibian Reading Group. Our VC Reading Group inspires this group, and the first book to be read will be my book Leading in the 21st Century. I shall join Daisry for this event.
The UJ library continues to host a myriad of activities. For example, this week, there was a webinar that talked to the future of elections in this era of the 4IR. These events are recorded and available here. The library has also launched an impressive new information access tool – LEAN Library. This is a browser plug-in that allows you access to academic articles, books and other electronic resources, licensed by the UJ Library. This can be accessed via Google where you will be prompted to sign in with your UJ credentials. Learn more about this tool, here.
Finally, from next week Friday, 2 April 2021, our University will be on a mid-semester recess and classes will resume on Monday, 12 April 2021. We wish to remind our first-year students that the recess period will, in some instances, be used for additional academic activities. As you are undoubtedly aware, our country is now on high alert for a COVID-19 third wave, particularly as people brace themselves for Easter weekend. I cannot begin to emphasise the importance of staying safe and adhering to the necessary health and safety protocols to protect yourself from the virus. I trust that you will all return re-energised and refocused on the tasks that lie ahead!
Please continue to visit our COVID-19 portal on the UJ website for valuable information, including health and wellbeing. Only information issued via the University’s official communication platforms is legitimate. This information may be verified by visiting: https://www.uj.ac.za/news/corona-virus//. We appeal to all to adhere to the recommended precautionary measures, hygiene and physical distancing (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public) at all times.
Kea leboga, inkosi, baie dankie!
Professor Tshilidzi Marwala
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
University of Johannesburg
Times mentioned in this newsletter refer to the South African time-zone.