Communication from Council
At its scheduled meeting on 25 June 2012, the Council of Stellenbosch University dealt with the following matters:
1. Appointment of senior managers
The new Vice-Rector (Learning and Teaching), Vice-Rector (Research and Innovation), and Deans of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Law and Engineering were appointed by Council with due consideration of the recommendations of Senate, the Institutional Forum and the joint appointments committees. Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel was appointed as Vice-Rector (Learning and Teaching) and Prof Eugene Cloete as Vice-Rector (Research and Innovation). Prof Johan Hattingh is the new Dean of Arts and Social Sciences. He succeeds Prof Hennie Kotzé, who will retire soon. Prof Sonia Human was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Law in the place of Prof Gerhard Lubbe, who steps down as Dean at the end of July. Prof Hansie Knoetze is the new Dean of Engineering. He replaces Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel. The University will now make a formal offer to each candidate for consideration.
2. Council’s language discussion on 1 June 2012 and the next steps
Council requested that the SU Management consider the various points of view that arose during said discussion when deliberating at the Institutional Planning Forum (IPF) that is being planned for the end of July. A motion for the introduction of a Language Policy Advisory Committee proposed by Councillor Piet le Roux was amended and accepted as follows by Council:
“The Council requests the Rector’s Management Team (RMT) to thoroughly consider Council’s inputs during the language discussion, within the context of the Language Policy and the Language Plan, and to come up with motivated proposals for consideration at the September meeting of Council.”
In view of the decisions taken by Council, the Rector undertook to revise the Strategic Framework, which serves as a guiding document, and also agreed to draw up an action plan that institutionally will create a welcoming environment in which equality, diversity and transformation flourish. This process will start at the coming IPF with 2030 set as the horizon.
3. Strategic gearing up at Tygerberg and Bellville Park Campuses
Council has approved a contribution from the unallocated reserves of SU to fund the deficit of R118 million which is needed to complete the Tygerberg upgrading project. The amount will be accommodated in two allotments: R60 million in 2013 and R58 million in 2014.
4. Rector’s Management Report
In his Management Report to Council, the Rector reported on the following, among others:
(i) Deans’ line of reporting:
The process for the establishment of the line of reporting by Deans to the Rector’s office has been completed. It doesn’t affect the portfolio-specific management lines. The alignment of the business plans of the faculties with the Institutional Plan, as well as the alignment of the contracting of performance objectives with the Deans, is under way. This alignment of the Institutional Plan with the faculties will be finalised during the Winter IPF, and feedback will be provided during the next Council meeting. This includes the issue of the size and shape of the University, a purposeful future vision regarding the nature of the University, and the implications for salient matters such as sustainability and curriculum changes in our future planning.
(ii) Schools partnership
During the previous Council meeting (on 7 May) management reported a decrease in the number of newcomer first-year students this year. The Rector indicated that major interventions will follow with regard to the 2013 intake. An important intervention in this regard is the Hope@Maties and Schools Partnership Project, which are aimed at promoting excellence through diversity and improving the quality of the pool of applicants. The Hope@Maties project is a new initiative that follows the example of Maties on the Plain. The aim of this Saturday, -vacation- and winter schools project is to identify the top achievers in nine clusters (Mitchells Plain, Atlantis, Elsies River, Swellendam, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Worcester, Ceres and Clanwilliam), to prepare them academically and ultimately to recruit them to study at SU.
These projects currently produce the following:
- 277 matric learners from the designated groups are involved in the Saturday and Vacation Schools
- The majority meet the SU admission requirements (school achievement 70% plus)
- Extension of the project currently provides for nine centres in the Western Cape in which staff of the University are actively involved
(iii) Development of staff
The staff of the University are its most important asset and task centres have been introduced in the people management programme to further develop members of staff. These centres make use of realistic job simulations and psychometric testing to evaluate an individual’s current abilities, skills and training needs, as well as future potential by evaluating performance on the basis of competencies that are regarded as being of critical importance for success in a specific role.
The Division for Human Resources has just completed the first pilot programme for a tailor-made appraisal centre for SU in which 18 departmental chairpersons of six faculties were involved. The development of this appraisal centre was the result of an inclusive consultation and development process in which various role players were involved in order to develop the content of the various simulations.
InnovUS is the technology transfer company of Stellenbosch University that manages the commercialisation of the University’s innovation and intellectual property portfolio. It aims to support the commercial application of the intellectual property of the University’s inventors (including staff and students). SU currently lies second behind Wits as the university with the most patented innovations in South Africa over a 10-year period. However, over the past five years the University has focused more on the international protection of its intellectual property than on mere local protection. This is also clear from the fact that last year, SU was the leading university in South Africa with international PCT patent applications. With purposeful planning and inputs, SU could soon be the leading innovative university in South Africa and on the continent.
5. Report of the acting Vice-Rector (Research), Prof Doug Rawlings, on the knowledge base of SU:
Prof Rawlings made a comprehensive submission to Council on the growth in research outputs at SU and the increase in publications by SU academics in respected research journals over the past 18 years. In its latest report on research productivity, the Department of Higher Education and Training again confirmed SU as the university with the highest number of research publications per individual member of staff. This gives meaning and substance to the University’s intention to “be a strong, research-oriented university that is sought after for the cultivation of researchers and that is acknowledged as a world leader in research on chosen niche areas”.
Among the actions that have been proposed for the retention and extension of the knowledge base of SU are the following: an increase in the number of academics with doctorates (target is 70%); encouragement of/ and incentives for publication in top-quality journals; focus on mentorships and the development of young researchers; and internationalisation and cooperation in “big science” in the global context.
6. Appointment of members of Council in Council Committees for the period July 2012 to June 2014
- Dr George du Toit, Adv Jan Heunis, and Profs Gerhard Lubbe and Leopoldt van Huyssteen were appointed to the Executive Committee of Council.
- Dr Koos Bekker, Prof Nico Koopman and Prof PW van der Walt will represent Council in the Honorary Degrees Committee.
- Dr George du Toit and Prof PW van der Walt will represent Council in Senate.
- Mr Piet le Roux and Mrs Elize le Roux were appointed to the Institutional Forum.
- Mr JJ Durand and Prof DP du Plessis were appointed to the Investment Committee.
7. Report of the Human Resources Committee of the SU Council
The Committee informs that the promotion of Dr Antoinette van der Merwe, Director and head of the Division for Interactive Telematic Services, to Senior Director as of 1 July 2012 has been approved.
8. The next meeting of the SU Council is scheduled for 25 September 2012.