VUT hosts a successful Transformation breakfast meeting with the Vaal Community.
The meeting was attended by local municipalities, community organizations, government institutions, business community and youth organizations. The Breakfast is part of the consultative process with the various stakeholders in preparation for the University's transformation summit intended to be held on the 6-7 December 2010.
“HOW WE HAVE CHANGED!!!”
VUT TRANSFORMATION BREAKFAST
18 NOVEMBER 2010
The concept transformation has such a welcoming ring to it, yet ironically if not checked, can either lead to integration or alienation. Question is which road is the VUT is choosing.
Ladies and gentlemen, it was a scary past, fraught with pitfalls, it was a challenging past and yet it beckoned us to plunge and unearth the potential VUT has.
Transformation has a particular context and substance for us. It has to do with redressing the historical, socio-economic inequalities within societies, organisations, businesses, government and above all universities as places of work, learning and teaching. Such inequalities were built into the educational dispensation under apartheid and promoting a commitment, by an institution such as ours, to a new “social order” that reflects our social structure and inadequacies more accurately. Transformation starts with the assumption that: the old order is no longer adequate for the needs of today. This old order would need to be supplanted by a new policy landscape. It is about a new way of doing, thinking and meaning giving.
We’ve all emerged from this divisive past with psychological scars too gory to contemplate. Let’s get on the crest of the transformation wave – it rises, falls and abates as its energy is spent. We will then be able to say it was indeed a rough ride but the journey was worthwhile. Oh, How we have changed.
If the macro changes in the political environment were about democracy, participation, consultation, equity and transparency, the accompanying changes in higher education had to be about representation, openness, inclusiveness, access, opportunity and collaboration. Compounding these changes was the conversion of what this institution used to be - a “technikon”, - to our new mantle with the nomenclature of a “university of technology”.
If we are serious about our quest to be a “university of choice” that responds to the higher education needs of our province, region, country and continent we needed to consider seriously, the following questions:
Having considered these and many other deep seated questions about “transformation” at the Vaal University of Technology, we decided to make a break with the past. We formulated a new “vision” and a new “mission”, namely:
“We are a University that leads in innovative knowledge and quality technology education”
Our mission is to produce top quality employable graduates who can make an impact to society by
We see ourselves operating in a new environment, a new knowledge society, where learning, working and living become more interwoven in both content and delivery. We see ourselves creating new knowledge that will be more meaningfully applied and commercialized, through technology transfer and diffusion. Oh, how we have changed! Or must change and transform!
e.g. Our programmes and qualifications have to change and keep up with the changing and complex world of work. This is all about adjusting to the new policy landscape. It is such large scale events and national obligations that have forced us to redefine and realign ourselves as a VUT.
Ladies and gentlemen the question is, What were the challenges that compelled us to craft a new strategic direction or vision and mission?
Over the past 3years a number of challenges – scary yet necessary to force us as a University to make serious introspection in an attempt to ask questions like what now, why us?
The location of the Vaal University of Technology is both a blessing and a great challenge, surrounded by a well established heavy metal and the petro-chemical industries, a vast pool of untapped human resources. The University has a wonderful opportunity to reposition and redefine itself for the 21st century, and also better align itself with the country’s national skills and knowledge creation agenda.
ACCESS vs SUCCESS
Issues of redress, access and success have become the underlying principles for “gain sharing” in terms of the benefits of education. In looking back, for the first time in its 45 years of existence, our institution has grown from 6 000 students to 17 000 last year. First term 2010 has seen VUT grow to a staggering 21 000 heads. Sadly enough, without the commensurate upgrade in infrastructure, accommodation and human resources. Added to this, we have almost 3 000 students who are not covered by government subsidy to continue their studies at VUT. To transform, VUT had to target the learning environment access and success:
Erosion of Donor Base
3 years ago we witnessed an almost complete erosion of our donor base through, leaving VUT panting for alternative source of support. Solutions are:
- VUT Trust
- Alumni Foundation
- Donor Register
- Sourcing new funders and partnerships
One of the greatest challenges faced by VUT is re-directing donor influence and interest towards resuscitating partnerships with VUT. In this regard, VUT wishes to build on its established networks with local industries, communities, FET colleges, local municipalities, and the media, because through you, media, we are able to spread our message beyond our own local borders, and so act as the ambassadors of the university. You are indeed a vital player in these alliances.
Policy Void landscape
The institutional reputation of VUT has been plagued by internal turmoil over the past few years, blurring the line between “malpractices and policy” issues. This inability led to many unethical practices being taken for granted as “rights” by many stakeholders.
Solutions: Crafting, Review of Policies. Phasing out redundant and aligning our policies with desired legislature policy environment.
The “Hollywood Syndrome”
Another challenge that affected the productivity levels of the university was the after effects of a “random” deployment of employees into roles they were not trained for. Not only was such misplacement demoralising, but inadvertently bred a culture of inadequate competencies and a “casualness” in terms of work ethic.
Current Transformation and National Level Impact
Exploding energy needs
We are also faced with the challenges of exploding energy needs to feed growing economies and expanding populations. Clean energy is now the buzz word. Winning nations in this century are those that will innovate and harness leading edge technologies in the fields of clean or renewable energy technology and biotechnology. The increased consumer awareness of sustainable products and the increasing risks of climate change have created a market place where carbon responsible companies may benefit their brand and sales. And VUT is amongst those universities who have faced those challenges head on. This is seen in our research breakthroughs namely through:
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the desired state of VUT in transforming our socio, economic and political landscape. It is within the above endevours, that partnerships with all of you will add an invaluable contribution to VUT as a “University of Choice” and a catalyst for our region.
What then is our Desired State:
Since the emergence of new technologies is calling for a new entrepreneurial mentality, it is within such an environment that the Vaal University of Technology must make its mark as a new Generation University. Like an institution in the 21st century, we will have to focus on innovation and harnessing leading edge technologies in sustainable development, technology management, engineering, biomedical technology, environmental technology, technology innovation and transfer and entrepreneurship. It is within such progressive rhetorics that the Vaal University of Technology is operating (see evidence in reports). We are all gatekeepers of this envisaged state.
Transformation as an “inner journey”
As part of a process to give voice to the VUT Community, the Transformation and Equity Unit held a session similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, under the banner of the Healing, Reconciliation and Transformation Forum on 26 August 2010. It was part of the Human Rights Awareness Week. Representation from local churches and industry were also invited to participate in the ceremony. It was indeed a journey deep into the soul of the University. It was an attempt “at emotional cleansing, Hoping for a transformative sense or outlook: closing chapters and moving on.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is potential only in the present hence transformation has become a national imperative we cannot think or reason away.
It has to happen, it’s beyond our control. In its broadest sense, transformation is part of the cosmic healing cycle.
Ladies and gentlemen, an Institutional Transformation Summit is currently under preparation and would require input and support from the VUT Council. Incorporating the institution’s internal and external stakeholders, the summit is expected to develop the VUT’s position on Transformation in response to the National Higher Education Summit declarations which was held in March 2010.
To guide and guard – evaluate such a transformative road map, we have crafted in the following policies/guidelines as part of the Integrated Transformation Plan:
“Sense of unease – must serve as your moral barometer”.
Ladies and gentlemen, all these policies are an attempt to create a sound, healthy and affirming environment for all those who work and live within it.
Finally, I would be depriving the VUT of this accolade if I do not share this with you: Since I wish to draw you into this Orbit of our “new habitas” called the VUT.
VUT won the 1st position of the 2010 PriceWaterHouseCooper Excellence Award within Higher Education, amongst 23 institutions, for good corporate governance and financial management. I am proud to mention that we came 2nd in the past 2 years.
Another indication of VUT’s financial prowess is that its assets database will be used in an ITS pilot project for software modification. This will enable higher education institutions to migrate from GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practice) reporting to IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) accounting. The milestone is that VUT is already using IFRS for financial reporting, while the other institutions of higher learning are still on GAPP. What an achievement for our Finance Division.
Finally, having sketched my vision, mission and very bold transformative aspirations for the desired future of this University, you may want to ask this question, how do you know if what you see, is what’s really there? How do you avoid championing the wrong strategy or tackling the wrong problem? Even well-trained professionals make devastating mistakes, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Consider the following metaphor: the crew of a jet airliner, taking off from New York City. Noting surprisingly high airspeed readouts, the puzzled crew attributed them to unusual updrafts. They did not realise that before takeoff they had missed a crucial checklist item: turning on heaters to prevent freeze-up in the airspeed indicators.
So the pilot kept easing back on the throttles to get the speed down. When the control stick began to shake, the crew interpreted it as a “Mach buffet” – an indication they were approaching the speed of sound. It was actually a stall warning. These were professional pilots, trained to know the difference in a highly technical environment. But by the time the crew members recognised their error, their aircraft was plunging to the ground, hopelessly out of control. Plane and crew were both destroyed. The costs of misreading a situation can be dire – in an airplane, business, government, even more so, in a University. Hence, your role and responsibilities as a titular head, will make an invaluable contribution to help navigate us towards our desired future. Hence our new strapline:
Mission Impossible is our Mission!
Change “is a natural path of growth” – from which lessons can be learned. We all want to change – but it’s the going there that is difficult and threatening. Tensions and conflict are the necessary fears - when a society or organisation wants to transform and move on.
Hence I appeal to you to walk this mile with us in our moccasins.
How seductive the notion of transformation can be.
What transformation resistors tend to forget is that “once you teach a person to write you can’t lie to that person anymore, nothing stays the same.
If we are going to resist change or transformation, we will soon be consigned to the pages of history by a new generation competitors in the name of Technology.
Brand yourself: Are you a Resistor or a change agent.
Oh, How we have changed!!!
Prof. I.N. Moutlana
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
Она скончалась на пятом году супружеской жизни, оставив "Скачать слово о полку игореве мультфильм"Магнуса навеки оплакивать краткие дни своего семейного счастья.
Может быть, удастся "Виктора суворова скачать"что-нибудь узнать на берегах Аламо.
Никто не "Игры скачать букины"видел, как убийцы "Скачать музыка медитации"сели рядом со своей спящей жертвой; никто не заметил, как "Скачать песню он не для тебя"оба сразу, протянув руки, склонились "Скачать музыку на сотовый телефон скачать"над ирландцем.
Последуем за ними в храм и посмотрим, что там происходит.