DYNAMIC NEW ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT FOR WSU

Posted on: 06 October 2014
By: WSU
Institution: Walter Sisulu University of Technology and Science
Research Area: General

 As part of the eight pillars of the University’s Turnaround Strategy imperatives, the continuing success of the overarching Institutional Governance Project has paved the way for effective and successful implementation of the rest of the other imperative projects thanks to strong management and accompanying policies.

Work on the Academic Enterprise has seen major developments occurring recently with the previous campus director positions being replaced with four rector positions to provide a more strategically academic and administrative leadership foundation.
The campuses will operate independently under the institutional umbrella of the University as business units with the newly appointed rectors as the academic and administrative heads. They will be responsible for promotion of quality education, research and community engagement, as well as provision of academic and administrative leadership at a campus level.

“As a member of the Institutional Management Committee the rector has a very strategic role to play and at campus level will be responsible for rolling out the divisional management system as Chair of the Campus Management Committee. The rectors will further take full responsibility for the development of a vibrant academic culture at campus level, in support of the university reaching its strategic objectives,” says WSU Deputy Vice Chancellor: Academic Affairs and Research Prof Sandile Songca, the academic enterprise project leader.

Three of the four rector positions have been filled at the Mthatha, Butterworth, and Queenstown campuses whilst the University is unrelenting in its efforts to fill the Buffalo City campus position, where an experienced academic has been placed in an acting position.

The four campus rectors are:
• Prof Mlungiseleli Jadezweni - Mthatha
• Prof Carlson Anyangwe – Butterworth
• Prof Adriaan Coetser – Queenstown
• Mr Ferdie Gerber – (Acting in Buffalo City)


One of Prof Songca’s biggest challenges was to scrutinize the integrity of the University’s programme qualification mix (PQM) and its viability in terms of quality, socio-economic relevance and financial sustainability heading into the near future (with the institution’s geographical spread a mitigating factor). An even bigger challenge was to find solutions to deal with any anomalies pegging the University’s academic endeavours back.

Months of research into national and international higher education best practices in offering winning formulae in terms of academic enterprise saw the University making notable alterations to the make-up of its PQM.

A cleaner, leaner and meaner approach would see the four previous inter-campus faculties being divided into 11 smaller faculties, each allocated to a specific campus.
The faculties at the Mthatha campus are Commerce and Admin; Educational Sciences; Health Sciences; Humanities, Social Sciences and Law; and Natural Sciences.
Management Sciences; Education and Engineering and Technology make up the faculties in Butterworth; whilst Buffalo City will house the faculties of Business Sciences, as well as Sciences, Engineering and Technology. Queenstown campus will be home to the Faculty of Education, Finance and Management.

The vast numbers of departments and schools have been dramatically shrunk and in the case of the latter, completely done away with, again in line with the new design to try and manage the academic enterprise more stringently and effectively.
“A significant and historical milestone has now been achieved in the rolling-out of the new academic architecture and structure with the appointment of these deans for the new 11 campus-based faculties.

“These appointments mark the establishment and inauguration of the faculties. As campus-based deans, reporting directly to the campus rector, they form a critical component of campus management,” says WSU Vice Chancellor and Principal Prof Khaya Mfenyana.
 

The new deans are:
 

MTHATHA
 

Dr S. Rajkaran (Faculty of Commerce and Administration)
Dr JM Molepo (Educational Sciences)
Dr WW Chitha (Health Sciences)
Prof PN Makiwane (Humanities, Social Sciences and Law)
 

BUTTERWORTH
 

Prof R Sonn (Faculty of Education)
Dr SP Jaca (Engineering and Technology)
Ms B Nguza-Mduba (Management Sciences)
 

BUFFALO CITY
 

Mr CS Novukela (Business Sciences)
Dr M Siswana (Science, Engineering and Technology)
Prof ND Jumbam (Natural Sciences)
 

QUEENSTOWN
 

Dr D Gumbi (Education, Finance and Management)