Vice-Chancellor’s Open Lecture and other updates

08 October 2020 | Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues

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

1. VC’s Open Lecture: Amina J Mohammed

The Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) and Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group, Her Excellency Amina J Mohammed, will be the keynote speaker of the third Vice-Chancellor’s Open Lecture in 2020. The virtual lecture, titled: “Decade of action for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): So what?” will take place on Wednesday, 14 October 2020 at 18:30 SAST.

2. Integrating our approach to inclusivity and transformation

UCT has adopted an integrated approach to address the findings of three critical reports with an important outlook on its transformation trajectory. The three critical reports are the 2019 Staff Inclusivity Survey, Professor Bongani Mayosi’s Panel Enquiry, and the Institutional Reconciliation and Transformation Commission. The approach has been adopted due to the seriousness with which the university views the key common points that emerged from the reports. These include bullying, emotional wellbeing, racial and other forms of discrimination and harassment, and retention, advancement and leadership.

3. Reminder: Online staff assembly on 13 October

Staff are reminded of the online assembly to be held from 11:30 to 13:00 on Tuesday, 13 October 2020, during which there will be an update on UCT’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the university’s thinking on the phased return to work on campus in the future. The executive will provide updates from their various portfolios and there will be an opportunity for questions and to address concerns from staff.

4. Reminder: Nominations for VC’s Excellence Awards

UCT staff are urged to nominate individuals or teams for the Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards. Eligible candidates are those who have gone over and above the call of duty to make a difference to the lives of other people. The awards recognise members of the UCT community who make an outstanding contribution to the university’s mission and objectives through innovation or improvement in services, and/or sustained exceptional performance in an area or areas beneficial to the university and its strategic imperatives. The nominations can be made in one of the three categories: global citizenship, service excellence and transformation.

5. Update on COVID-19 cases

UCT has not had any new reported COVID-19 cases since the last weekly update. As at 6 October, 101 cases had been reported among non-health sciences staff, with 90 recoveries. The reported students’ cases remain at 36, including 10 health sciences students on clinical platforms. Nine staff and one student have been sadly lost to the pandemic.

6. Mental health campaign

On Saturday, 10 October 2020, World Mental Health Day will be commemorated globally. The month of October is also Mental Health Awareness Month in South Africa, and in this regard ICAS will be running a month-long campaign surrounding mental health awareness. A 30-day challenge manual has been developed with daily challenges, while weekly throughout the month there will be articles, posters and images shared.

Mental health influences how you think, feel, and behave in daily life. It also affects your ability to cope with stress, overcome challenges, build relationships, and recover from life’s setbacks and hardships. Strong mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental health refers to the presence of positive characteristics. Anyone can suffer from mental or emotional health problems – and over a lifetime most of us will. This year alone, about one in five of us will suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. Yet, despite how common mental health problems are, many of us make no effort to improve our situation.

7. UCT Conference Management Centre

With the advent of COVID-19, it has become frustrating to navigate the 'new normal' of conferences, virtual events and hybrid models, but with the UCT Conference Management Centre (CMC), it's easier than you think! The CMC offers a total event management solution with specialist services in all areas – from accommodation and registration to the latest technology solutions and design.

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