Celebrating UCT accomplishments and other updates

17 May 2023

Dear colleagues

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has had several international milestones worth celebrating in the past few days. Read about this and other recent developments on campus.

1. Celebrating recent UCT accomplishments

UCT remains the best university in Africa and is ranked at 267th position globally, up three places from last year, on the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) 2023 Global 2000 list published on Tuesday, 15 May 2023.

In addition, some of the university’s academics recently had notable achievements in their fields, including election as Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society and winning the much sought-after Frontiers Planet Prize.

2. Appointment of new Ombud for UCT

Ms Nashira Abrahams has been appointed as UCT Ombud with effect from 1 May 2023. An alumna of UCT, Ms Abrahams holds an LLM degree, Bachelor of Social Science in social anthropology (honours) and a Bachelor of Social Science in psychology and sociology from this university. Her tenure and training through the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has qualified her as an expert labour law practitioner and an experienced alternative dispute resolution accredited mediator, lead negotiator and arbitrator.

The Office of the Ombud is an independent and impartial institution, established by the UCT Council, to provide a voluntary, confidential and informal service to all members of the university community, with the aim of securing the just, fair and equitable treatment of each and every member of the university community.

3. UCT's Summer School available online

The Centre for Extra-Mural Studies (EMS) invites Summer School participants, friends and alumni who were not able to attend the programme in person in January this year to register to access some of the school’s lectures and courses online. These will be available at a reduced fee as a once-off opportunity to not miss out on the knowledge shared in January.

Bookings opened on Monday, 15 May 2023 and will continue until Friday, 30 June 2023. Upon booking with Webtickets, participants will receive a link to the lecture or course they have registered for, which they can then watch in their own time.

At the end of each course description, there is a direct link to Webtickets to make booking easier. All participants will need to register/log into their Webtickets profile to process their transaction on Webtickets.

EMS will, meanwhile, also host a free webinar titled “The age of the AI-Chatbot: new technology at its best or/and a major challenge to our society?” on Tuesday, 6 June 2023 at 18:00. It will be addressed by Professor Dan Remenyi.

4. Residence Academic Development Committee (RADC) webinar series

In preparation for the demanding exam season ahead, the first RADC online seminar of the year was held on Thursday, 17 May 2023. The speaker, Ms Isabella Sinn from the UCT Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED), discussed the topic “Exam planning: strategies for academic reading and exam preparation – how to approach an academic reading, and how to break down exam questions and plan for an essay task.”

As an essential tool in preparation for the forthcoming examination season, the online seminar series aims to provide support and relevant guidance for UCT students, not limited to those living in residences. Students will benefit much from this opportunity to learn from seasoned experts and raise their academic standards.

Further details on upcoming RADC webinars will be shared in later campus communication.

5. Assessment policy workshops

The Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED) invites staff and students to join an engagement session to provide input into the drafting of a new assessment policy for UCT. Each session is designed for participants to provide input and engage in discussion and debate about the core principles in the proposed policy and to give guidance into implementation. This initiative forms part of the work of the UCT Assessment Project: Enabling student success through transformed programmes of assessment in CHED.

Please register for one of the following sessions:

  • 18 May 2023 from 12:00-15:00 in the CHED Meeting Place (Steve Biko Building).
  • 19 May 2023 from 12:00-15:00 via Microsoft Teams.

If you are unable to make the sessions but would like to contribute, you can note that on the registration form. For more information, please contact Soraya Lester.

6. Rescheduled annual Dr Stuart John Saunders Lecture

The third edition of the annual Dr Stuart John Saunders Lecture, which was initially scheduled for October 2022, will take place on Monday, 22 May 2023 at 17:30 in the Neurosciences Institute Auditorium, Groote Schuur Hospital. The lecture will be presented by professor of rhetoric in the Faculty of Law at UCT, Distinguished Professor Philippe-Joseph Salazar and is titled “The Nine Circles of Scholarship”.

Distinguished Professor Salazar was appointed as chair of French at UCT in 1986, and later as dean of arts in 1993. He was elected to the College of Fellows in 1995. That year he founded the Centre for Rhetoric Studies, pioneering the discipline in Africa. In 1998 he was elected director in rhetoric and democracy at Jacques Derrida’s Collège International de Philosophie. A year later, he was appointed to a French professorial chair, and to a distinguished professorship in rhetoric and humane letters at UCT. He is also a recipient of the 2021 UCT Book Award, which recognises outstanding and/or influential books written by UCT staff members.

7. Upcoming UCT Inaugural Lectures for May/June

The next two lectures in the UCT Inaugural Lecture series will be held on 29 May and 8 June 2023 and will be presented by Professor Elizabeth Mayne and Professor Romy Parker respectively.

Professor Mayne will address the topic, “Racing the red queen: Immunology underlies all disease processes as well as the most successful treatment interventions of all time”.

Professor Parker’s lecture is titled “Pain management to reduce suffering in South Africa: integrating interdisciplinary research into the healthcare professions.”

Both lectures will be held at 17:00 in the Neuroscience Institute Lecture Theatre, Groote Schuur Hospital.

8. Development Dialogues 2022-2023

The current Development Dialogue (DD) cycle for PASS and senior staff comes to an end on Wednesday, 31 May 2023. This cycle covers the period 1 June 2022 to 31 May 2023. UCT’s 2023–2024 DD cycle is such that 1 June 2023 marks the beginning of the cycle ahead. The DD system aims to create alignment between UCT’s strategic goals and individual performance goals by ensuring effective feedback and forward planning. While regular, formal and informal engagements take place throughout the cycle, the formal cumulative/summative DD must be documented and completed by the end of June 2023.


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