New UCT Council and other updates

15 July 2020 | Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues and students

This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent developments on campus.

1. New UCT Council for the 2020/2024 term

The new university Council officially started its term on 1 July 2020 and will be in office until 30 June 2024. Ms Babalwa Ngonyama has been elected as the chair of Council, and Ms Nazeema Mohamed as deputy chair. This is the first time that both positions are simultaneously occupied by women.

2. Weekly COVID-19 update

The total number of positive COVID-19 cases within the UCT community stood at 84 as at 14 July 2020. This includes 64 non-health sciences staff members and 20 students, of which five are Faculty of Health Sciences students on clinical platforms. A reported 40 staff members have recovered (recoveries for students are not included as not all cases are managed by the Department of Student Affairs). Regretfully, six deaths have been reported – five staff and one student. UCT has reached out to all the staff and students who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. Chris Hani redevelopment project underway

The Chris Hani redevelopment project project (formerly New Science Lecture Theatre) has begun, with the site handed over to the construction company on Monday, 6 July 2020. The project is earmarked for completion at the end of October 2021. Construction will take place under challenging conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the contractor will ensure that all safety measures on site are in place.

For the physical safety of all staff, students and visitors to campus, all construction operations and activities will be carried out within the cordoned off area to limit the risk of injury. Students, staff and occupants of surrounding buildings who will be impacted by construction site operations will be timeously informed of any additional disruptive work. The contractor will endeavour to keep disruptions to a minimum.

4. Upcoming virtual events

UCT has a number of virtual events scheduled to take place over the next few weeks. These include annual events on the UCT calendar such as the Vice-Chancellor’s Open Lecture, the VC Inaugural Lecture series, the TB Davie Memorial Lecture and the Women’s Month commemoration event. It also includes events such as the #NewGlobalUni series and the Vision 2030 staff engagements.

5. Completing your academic courses during 2020

The university is aware that many students, through no fault of their own, are unable to complete their work as planned. General guidelines to deal with this situation have been shared – with specific reference to first semester work, clinical courses, courses in performing and creative arts, and engineering, first semester exams and deferred exams. Within the framework of these guidelines each faculty will communicate its specific arrangements to their students.

6. Ensuring sustained research excellence at UCT

The 2019 Report on Research to Senate and Council outlines the practical details of what UCT is doing to ensure that its research remains relevant, innovative and excellent, and outlines UCT’s research portfolio, including the research strategy and how it is being implemented. While it records the goals and successes, it also acknowledges areas of risk and targets that have not yet been reached.

7. UCT Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Study

In 2018 the UCT Leadership Lekgotla endorsed a project aimed at supporting the growth of entrepreneurship at the university – the UCT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Project. As a first step, the project steering committee commissioned a qualitative research study in 2019 to map UCT’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. A summary of the key findings of this report is now available. Having a good understanding of the ecosystem will allow the institution to better support its diverse entrepreneurship offerings to both students and staff.


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