Leadership Lekgotla appointments and other updates

07 April 2022

Dear colleagues

UCT Chair of Council Babalwa Ngonyama recently announced that Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng has been reappointed for a second term, while the university also recently announced the appointment of Associate Professor Kasturi Behari-Leak and Ms Sarah Archer as Dean: Centre for Higher Education Development and Executive Director: Development and Alumni Department respectively. Read more on this and other updates below.

1. Leadership Lekgotla appointments

Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng has been appointed by Council for a second five-year term of office. The university’s policy for re-appointing an incumbent vice-chancellor requires extensive consultation. This process included the Students’ Representative Council, staff bodies and organised labour, deans and executive directors.

Associate Professor Kasturi Behari-Leak has been appointed as the Dean: Centre for Higher Education Development. She took up the position on 1 April 2022.

Associate Professor Behari-Leak has a long history in education, with 32 years spent in the education space, of which 17 have been in higher education. This includes, but is not limited to, educational and organisational leadership, higher education transformation, social inclusion and educational change, decolonial practice, curriculum development and pedagogical innovation.

Ms Sarah Archer has been appointed as the new Executive Director of the Development and Alumni Department. She will take up the position on 1 June 2022.

Ms Archer will join the university from Stellenbosch University where she held the position of director of fundraising in the Development and Alumni Relations Department. In this role, she was involved in growing a team of fundraisers as well as a pool of committed and engaged donors, showcasing the work of the university in international circles and building strategic partnerships with multiple stakeholders.

2. Announcing the new president of convocation

Mr Kassi Carl Manlan has been elected as the new president of Convocation. UCT’s Convocation is a statutory body administered by the Office of the Registrar. It provides a platform for alumni to actively participate and engage in pertinent issues affecting the university community and to help find solutions.

Mr Manlan serves as vice president: inclusive impact and sustainability for Visa Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. Prior to joining Visa, he was the chief operating officer at Ecobank Foundation, where he led the bank’s social impact work in 33 markets in Africa.

3. March 2022 graduation

From Monday, 28 March to Thursday, 31 March 2022, in eight ceremonies, the UCT March 2022 graduation took place where students from across the university took part in a walk of celebration to mark their achievement. Approximately 200 doctoral candidates graduated alongside their peers after years of research.

4. Tackling Gender Based Violence and strengthening policies

The annual UCT Gender Based Violence Report was tabled at Council in December 2021. It provides an in-depth view of how our community members experience sexual and gender-based violence and how they receive support from UCT through our external partnerships, including with the South African Police Service.

Additionally, two important institutional policies about inclusivity at UCT – HIV/AIDS and Inclusivity for Sexual Orientation – are due for a comprehensive review. The process will take an in-depth look at our administrative policies, documentation, procedures, FAQs, and appendices

5. UCT Research Support Transformation Project

UCT launched an ambitious project to improve significantly the structures and processes that support and facilitate research. The Research Support Transformation Project aims to position UCT research to flourish and grow, facilitated through effective and efficient research support.

While the scoping of Phase I of this project, initiated last year, highlights addressing key “pain points” in the research landscape for which rapid solutions could be found (update to follow), Phase II addresses research support from a systems perspective. Running from January to December 2022, it is comprised of 12 workstreams.

6. UCT's Digital Learning Platform

UCT has adopted a new digital learning platform, Brightspace from Desire2Learn, as part of the Learning Platforms Update Project. The Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) is hosting a series of information webinar sessions, to update the UCT community.

Join CILT, on Thursday 7 April from 15:00 to 15:45, for an update focusing on the Migration and Pilot workstream, including how the planning for the migration is progressing, what the migration timelines look like, and how they are identifying potential pilot courses.

7. Introduction and implementation of EE Guidance and Training Interventions

UCT has implemented a new five-year EE plan which is valid until 31 December 2026. The new EE guidance which became effective from 1 March 2022 replaces the previously issued EE practice note.

The EE guidance now allows deans, executive directors, and chairs of selection committees to fully meet their responsibilities and maintain their accountability for this key area of transformation. Monitoring is vital for individual faculties and PASS departments in achieving the agreed targets for the university and in evaluating progress.

8. Reminder: VC’s Open Lecture: Fred Swaniker

Mr Fred Swaniker, founder and chief executive officer of African Leadership Group, will present the first Vice-Chancellor’s Open Lecture in 2022. His lecture titled “The impact of the African youth on the 4th industrial revolution” will take place on the Microsoft Teams platform on Wednesday, 13 April 2022 at 18:00 SAST.

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