Addressing the VUT community: Professor Gordon Zide, the Vice Chancellor and Principal
In his third month in office, Vaal University of Technology’s (VUT) Vice-Chancellor & Principal, Professor Gordon Zide kicked off with his first official staff and student listening session on Wednesday, 2 August.
The listening sessions are intended to create a platform where Prof Zide openly and honestly engages the VUT community. He says that it’s important that there is open and clear communication and that all stakeholders stay abreast of new projects, developments and also the sharing of updates and information across all departments within the institutions. In his address, Prof Zide explained that as leader, he aims to serve with distinction and dedication and is pleased to have garnered the support of many of his fellow colleagues and students here at the university. Raising a few issues which concerned him, he said he wishes to bring transformation and root out all the negativity in the institution. He noted that matters that create an unhealthy and toxic environment must be put to an end. Mentioning issues such as:
Cliques and Factions; the forming of cliques creates tension and instability and also makes for a toxic environment. “This University has the potential of being one of the very best Institutions in the country, if we can only focus on what is in the best interest of the University and forget about what we can get out of the University. Personal aggrandizement should have no place and space at our University,” he said. He also intends to put an end to any form of corruption and fraud, the use and abuse of power and influence by individuals (putting an end to victimisation) and racism and prejudice.
Prof Zide further noted that student debt is in the region of R500million and indicated that this is due to factors such as the “no fee increase” post the fees must fall protests, the inability of students to pay their fees, and the absence of a fundraising university committee amongst other challenges. He hopes to improve the financial situation through the implementation of various projects and partnerships. He mentioned that he is looking forward to establishing a fundraising committee, a Vice-Chancellor’s Bursary Fund and through this, resuscitate the VUT Foundation (Trust Fund). This can only happen through enhancing partnerships with government and corporates as well as strengthening relations with VUT Alumni.
Amongst the many projects he has planned during his tenure, Prof Zide spoke about the development of a bridge connecting the VUT Vanderbijlpark Campus to the campus’s Isak Steyl stadium which is across the road. He was also excited to announce that VUT will be hosting the first ever, State of the University Address in March /April 2018. Exciting times lie ahead for the institution and change is surely going to be constant.
The Vice-Chancellor listening sessions will be held quarterly at the VUT Vanderbijlpark Campus and at all sites of delivery. Ekurhuleni and Secunda Campuses are set to have their listening session take place on Tuesday, 8 August.