Upcoming inaugural lectures and other updates

28 September 2023

Dear colleagues and students

The University of Cape Town (UCT) will host four lectures in the UCT Inaugural Lecture series in October. Read about this and other recent developments on campus.

1. Upcoming inaugural lectures for October 2023

As the university draws closer to the end of this year’s UCT Inaugural Lecture series, four lectures are scheduled for October 2023.

These lectures will be held on 10, 12, 18 and 24 October, offering insights into the link between work, income and inclusive prosperity; knowledge and information stewardship; scaling; and urbanism. They will be presented by Professors Steeve Chung Kim Yuen, Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment (EBE); Ines Meyer, Faculty of Commerce; Jaya Raju, Faculty of Humanities; and Nancy Odendaal, EBE.

2. Call for proposals: Teaching and Learning Conference (TLC) 2023

The call for proposals is open until Sunday, 8 October 2023 for the 2023 UCT Teaching and Learning Conference (TLC 2023) to be held in-person at the Neville Alexander Building, Lower Campus on 21 and 22 November 2023. This year’s conference aims to provide the UCT community with an opportunity to connect, share and envision purpose-driven, innovative, inclusive and socially-just assessment practices and strategies that can unleash human potential and meet the three pillars of Vision 2030: excellence, transformation and sustainability.

Assessment in higher education is at a critical juncture. In addition to challenges posed by historical and contemporary inequalities, the rapid shifts in mode of teaching, learning and assessment (face-to-face, emergency remote, hybrid and online) have problematised traditional assessment practices. Furthermore, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), ongoing limitations to accessibility and worsening mental health reports prompt critical questions about the purpose of assessment in relation to learning and the meaning of academic integrity.

The focus for this year’s TLC 2023 is therefore “Assessment entangled: Reimagining assessment for excellence, transformation and sustainability”.

3. Submission of proposals on naming of university spaces

The UCT Council has extended an invitation to staff, students, and alumni to submit proposals for new names or suggestions and motivations for a revision of existing names of the university’s physical and virtual spaces. The University Naming Committee (UNC), formerly known as the Naming of Buildings Committee (NOBC), believes that the names associated with our university should reflect UCT’s African identity and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and academic excellence; and align with the university’s values, history and aspirations.

All members of the university community are strongly encouraged to contribute their perspectives and ideas to help shape the future identity of our institution. Submissions should be sent via email by Wednesday, 4 October 2023.

When making a submission, please include your full name, your affiliation with UCT (eg student, staff, alumni), proposed name or suggestion for revision, and rationale for the proposed name or revision.

4. Please complete the 2023 student engagement survey

UCT students and teaching staff are invited to participate in the 2023 South African Survey of Student Engagement (SASSE) and the Lecturer Survey of Student Engagement (LSSE) respectively. These two national surveys gather feedback from undergraduate students and staff across South African universities, and the results provide each institution with invaluable institutional and comparative data.

The feedback gathered provides insight into the quality of teaching and learning at UCT, allows the institution to identify areas of improvement, and helps to ensure that educational practices are aligned with the needs of students and staff. Both surveys should be completed by Tuesday, 31 October 2023.

5. University of the Future call for ideas

The University of the Future (UoF) project steering committee invites all staff and students to submit ideas to contribute towards shaping UCT’s developmental strategic roadmap. This is an exciting opportunity to rethink, redesign and realign UCT’s current spaces and services to be fit for purpose and fit for our future. The guidelines, requirements, themes and eligibility criteria can all be found on the UoF challenge ideas webpage.

Ideas should be submitted by Tuesday, 31 October 2023. Ideas which the committee selects for further development will be showcased at an exhibition in early 2024. Following the exhibition, a further set of curated proposals will then be prepared for submission to relevant UCT committees and council subcommittees for implementation.

The committee has embarked on a university wide roadshow between August and October 2023 to assist colleagues and students with conceptualising their ideas.

The UoF steering committee and the Development and Alumni Department will host a staff and alumni hybrid challenge event on Wednesday, 4 October 2023 as part of the UCT Day celebrations.

6. Release of CHE’s institutional audit report on UCT

The Council on Higher Education (CHE) conducted an institutional audit of UCT in 2022. The overarching purpose of this audit was to evaluate the coherence and effectiveness of UCT’s internal quality assurance system in enabling student success and improving core academic functions.

On 6 September 2023, UCT was notified that the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) approved the institutional audit report. UCT met all 16 standards of the institutional audit and was rated mature on standards 1, 6, 9 and 10, and functional on standards 2-5, 7-8, 11-13, 14-16. A mature rating means an institution is effective in achieving its differentiated purpose, while a functional rating means the quality management system in the institution meets the expected thresholds in terms of the identified standard, but some minor areas may need further improvement.

The CHE now requires the submission of an improvement plan (IP). The main purpose of the IP is to provide the institution with an opportunity to reflect on the 30 recommendations in the report and provide a response on how quality improvements will be addressed. The IP is to be submitted to the CHE by 30 November 2023.

7. Drupal 7 to be shut down on 30 September

Please be reminded that Drupal 7 will officially be decommissioned on Saturday, 30 September 2023. The Drupal development and migration project has successfully migrated more than 290 websites onto Drupal 9. The majority of these sites are now live, with the remaining few sites to be completed over the next two weeks.

The Drupal 9 project upgraded the official web content management system – Drupal 7 – to the latest, more secure and user-friendly version, Drupal 9. Any websites still hosted on this outdated system will be taken offline and will no longer be accessible after this date.

If you are planning to create any new website, you are requested to launch it on or after Sunday, 1 October 2023. This will enable the team to focus on completing the migration phase of the project. Please note that Drupal 9 training is now offered via SuccessFactors. If you have any concerns, questions, or would like more information on this project or on Drupal, please contact Rethea Deetlefs.


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