Streamlined redraft for UCT mission statement

27 July 2009

Mission statementUCT's 13-year-old mission statement is under review following a Council decision to align it with the international, national and higher education contexts, which have undergone significant change since the mission was first developed.

The Mission Review Task Team is chaired by Professor Francis Petersen, dean of the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment. The framework to develop the new mission was presented to all faculty boards, the PASS Forum, the Institutional Forum, the Students' Representative Council and various unions.

Two revised statements (in column on far right) have now been drafted and are up for discussion. These are based on broad details captured under four discussion points that were developed after multiple discussions were held across the campus; namely UCT's research-led identify, its graduates, its role in society, and its values.

It is hoped the new mission statement will tap input from the broader UCT community. Vice-chancellor Dr Max Price has invited staff and students to comment on the two draft statements, and even to compose and present their own versions. Comments and alternative statements must be sent to

The Mission Review Task Team will consider all comments and will then redraft the mission statement for further consultation. The executive aims to have the final version tabled at Council's September meeting.

The current mission statement was drawn up by a working group of the University Transformation Forum in the mid-1990s, and was affirmed and adopted at a special University Assembly on 24 April 1996. The statement speaks of UCT's ambitions to be an outstanding teaching and research university, to educate for life and to address the challenges facing South African society.

In a recent statement, Price noted that UCT needs a "crisper, more forward-looking mission to distinguish us from our competitors".

"We are now at a stage where the broader discussions and reflections are being distilled, and we wish to end with a mission statement that is, ideally, no longer than a paragraph or two," said Price. "This is not an easy process."

The rationale for reviewing the mission, the approach to developing a new mission, the names of members of the task team, and a process and timeline are on the Vula site. (Once on Vula, log in using student or staff log-in details - identical to logging on to your PC - select 'Membership', then 'Joinable Sites', then search for "mission".)

Mission statement draft example 1

Our mission is to be a world-class university, driven and informed by a search for new knowledge, with a commitment to excellence in teaching and learning, research and social responsiveness and underpinned with a value system characterised by a social conscience and contributing to the challenges facing society through an African context.

In pursuit of its mission, the University of Cape Town will provide an environment to students and staff for intellectual debate, international exposure and a solid educational experience, thus developing graduates with critical comparative thinking and global skills.

Mission statement draft example 2

To be a leading university internationally and in Africa, which offers excellent teaching and learning through pursuing critical and relevant research and by making meaningful contributions to society.

We seek to provide a safe and nurturing environment in which staff and students are free to think critically, develop their full potential and create and lead better societies.

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