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Vice-Chancellor Message – 28 October 2022

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Dear UJ Community,

As we enter the final stretch of our 2022 academic programme, I wish to extend my good wishes to our students who are preparing for the year-end examinations. Remember, you have done well to get to this point, so please remain focused and continue to work hard during this period.

I would like to reiterate that if you feel anxious and overwhelmed during the exam period, do not hesitate to consult our psychological support services units at any of the four campuses – free of charge. The Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD) assists primarily students in various ways. This includes a walk-in service, individual counselling sessions as well as a faster emergency response through our 24-hour Crisis Line (082 054 1137). You do not have to make an appointment to receive help. I am optimistic that the examination results at the end of this period will be gratifying and worthy of celebration.

Speaking of this, I am delighted to announce that our University has once again been recognised among the top in the world in the latest U.S. News & World Report Best Global Universities Rankings; the 2023 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings by Subject, as well as the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability.

According to the 2022-2023 edition of the U.S. News & World Report Best Global Universities Rankings (BGUR), UJ has again been ranked among the top 500 universities in the world, at position 421, down only four places from 417 last year. UJ is again ranked #5 in South Africa this year.

The results for the 2023 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings by Subject (THE Subject Rankings) were also released this week. In the 2023 edition, UJ has been ranked in 11 THE subjects. The University has climbed in three subjects and retained rank band position in five subjects. Business and Economics: climbed one band from 501-600 to the 401-500 band in the world and ranked at number 4 in South Africa. Education also climbed one band from 301-400 to the 251-300 band in the world – #3 in South Africa, as well as Psychology. The latter subject climbed one band from 301-400 to the 251-300 band in the world – #2 in South Africa.

Retaining its position in the world are the subjects in Arts and Humanities; Computer Science; Life Sciences; Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences. Notably, UJ was ranked, nationally, in the second position for Psychology and Computer Science,  and in the third position for Education, Law, Life Sciences, and Social Sciences.

Yet more rankings news! Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has now also embarked on impact and sustainability rankings with a new ranking that they are calling the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability or, more simply put, the QS Sustainability Rankings.

QS has decided to also go the impact and sustainability route and has entered the impact and sustainability rankings fray, joining Times Higher Education (THE) in what is becoming a rather crowded ranking terrain. This year’s edition of this new ranking system is the pilot, and 700 universities have been ranked and given a pilot ranking result in this first iteration (the 2023 edition).

With all that said, among the 700 universities that QS has ranked in this pilot edition, UJ has done well in these first outcomes and is ranked in the 171-180 band in the world and has come in at #2 in South Africa, joint with the University of Pretoria (UP). The University of Cape Town (UCT) is #1 in South Africa, ranked at position 132 in the world.

These rankings are a tremendous achievement and recognition for UJ. It reaffirms the fact that our academic programmes remain on par with international standards. I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone at UJ – your hard work and dedication is appreciated! An achievement in a global ranking reflects on every aspect of the university, from how our spaces and support services are run, to our community outreach and to the quality of our teaching and learning, and research. Indeed, it feels good to be part of the UJ Community!

As announced yesterday, UJ has a new Chair of Council. The appointment of Ms Xoliswa Kakana as the University’s new Chairperson of Council is effective from 1 January 2023. Ms Kakana will succeed Mr Mike Teke, whose term as the University’s Chairperson of Council ends on 31 December 2022. Ms Kakana is a renowned leader and engineer, educated in leading global universities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (MBA) and Harvard University (MPA). She is a business leader in the Information and Communication Technology field, and we are confident of her unwavering and outstanding commitment to continue with the University’s efforts to be recognised as an innovative and rigorous place of learning in the fourth industrial revolution with impactful research. We are pleased to welcome her to oversee our ambitious plans.

On a slightly different note, Prof Mpedi and I had the opportunity to host the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. The Minister will launch the National Artificial Intelligence Institute at the Johannesburg Business School (JBS) next month. Our conversation was fruitful, and we have undertaken to continue working together for the betterment of our society. Yes, digital literacy is a human right! On a personal note, I will receive an honorary doctorate at the University of Venda in November.

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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