From the Vice-Chancellor

Moira Muller -- Fri, 06/23/2017 - 09:44

Tell us how you feel about the NWU - Student survey: 18 – 29 September 2017

14 September 2017

Dear student

Here at the North-West University we have made great strides in establishing a quality teaching and learning university. To guide our journey until 2025, we aim to become an internationally recognised university in Africa, distinguished for engaged scholarship, social responsiveness and an ethic of care.

We also wish to provide a superior student experience underpinned by a caring culture. This means that the NWU wants to offer a supportive learning experience in a diverse, integrated environment with equal facilities across all campuses. A key focus area is creating a socially cohesive and inclusive environment where all students feel welcome and comfortable.

We would like to measure how well we are doing in providing an excellent student experience and identify any aspects that are not working well at the NWU to allow us to improve on them.

To assist us with this important process, all contact students are invited to share their feelings about the NWU by participating in an online Student Culture and Climate Survey between 18 and 29 September 2017.

Participation in the survey is voluntary and no one is compelled or forced to take part if they do not wish to. However, I encourage your participation as this survey will help Council understand how you experience the NWU, what can be done to improve the university and to better align the culture of the NWU with our new strategic direction.

The survey will be managed by LAETOLI, an external service consultancy specialising in climate and culture surveys, among others. They will be the only ones who have access to the online questionnaires and interview reports. Furthermore, they will only report on groups of respondents rather than on individuals, so your responses will be kept confidential. Thus rest assured that this survey will protect you as a student and that your input will be valued.

A few key points to note:

  • The survey will take no longer than 25 minutes to complete (your investment of just 25 minutes of your time can make a huge difference to our university)
  • You will receive a link via email, SMS and on e-Fundi
  • All responses will be completely anonymous, since there is no way to link the responses from a completed questionnaire with any particular respondent
  • If you choose to participate in the draw to win prizes at the end of the survey, the email address that you provide cannot be linked to your responses
  • You may also be randomly selected to participate in focus groups to further understand the student experience

We strongly urge you to participate in the survey and focus groups and let us know how you experience the NWU. Remember - your views, feelings and experiences are important to us.

I look forward to your participation in this important exercise towards making the NWU an even better place to study at.

Kind regards

Prof Dan Kgwadi

New primary colour proposed for NWU 

6 September 2017

In view of the NWU Council’s approval of a unitary, faculty-driven model for the university, it was deemed prudent to revisit our current use of three corporate colours, representing each of the three campuses.

A thoroughly researched report was presented to the University Management Committee (UMC), who accepted a proposal to Council for a new primary colour that will better represent our unitary structure.

In terms of the proposal, our well-known and established NWU logo will not change. However, sports teams will no longer use maroon, blue or green, but one unitary colour. The same applies to marketing material where we need to employ one primary colour.

As new colours impact on various stakeholders, a process of further engagement and buy-in from stakeholders commenced after the UMC’s consideration of the matter. This included discussions with students and sports bodies. As part of this engagement, a limited number of examples in a proposed colour (deep purple) were developed to demonstrate the practical application.

A final decision on any colour change is, however, the prerogative of the NWU Council. A comprehensive roll-out plan has been developed to engage with stakeholders after a final decision by Council.

Two other issues came up in discussions, namely the use of the name Pukke and language. In the draft Brand Policy that will be presented to Council for approval, the university recognises that there are existing campus nicknames which were approved for use by Council. It is proposed that these nicknames will no longer be used in formal communication and branding, but no one will be prevented from using them informally.

Regarding language: our policy is one of multilingualism, which means that we encourage the use of English, Afrikaans and Setswana. This policy will be reflected in our marketing and communication.

Due to an oversight, various NWU Facebook platforms were merged prematurely last week and this will be rectified. Any changes in this regard will only be implemented after engagement with student leaders and as part of an approved roll-out of a new primary colour.

If approved by Council, the new primary colour will be implemented gradually and in a financially prudent way. Sports attire is, for example, sponsored by Varsity Sports and 2018 teams will be issued with new kit, as is the custom. Normal marketing material will be funded from current budgets. The only exceptions are the signage at campus entrance gates and some of the existing external brand signage that will be financed from strategic funds.

All stakeholders can rest assured that the NWU remains a home to all who wish to study and work here, and to our many alumni whose support we continue to cherish.

Yes, a new look is proposed, but our focus on excellence and our commitment to our values remain guiding principles.

Kind regards

Prof Dan Kgwadi

Student disciplinary matters

18 July 2017

Dear colleague

Over the past few years, the management of the NWU has focused on a strategy to transform and position the NWU as a unitary institution of superior academic excellence with a commitment to social justice. This culminated in major structural changes embodied in our new Statute, which we are in the process of implementing.

As chief student disciplinary officer of the NWU, I had the opportunity to consider a disciplinary matter which involved students of the university publishing comments on social media. Students on the Potchefstroom Campus were accused of publishing allegedly racist remarks in May 2017.

During a hearing on 30 May 2017, a student was found guilty and a sanction was handed down. He was suspended from the university for two years, but the sentence was suspended for the remainder of the duration of his studies. He also received the penalty of a fine of R 5 000. He was found guilty on two charges. The first charge was that his conduct was detrimental or could have been detrimental to the good name, order, discipline or performance of the university or any part of the university, and the second, a charge of making statements on social media amounting to discrimination in the form of racism.

A second student was charged with conduct allegedly being detrimental or which could have been detrimental to the good name, order, discipline or performance of the university or any part of the university, making statements on social media which allegedly amount to discrimination and/or hate speech, and also allegedly contravening the social media policy of the university. This student requested a postponement, and his case was scheduled for 18 July 2017.

The matter was put on hold today and the provisional suspension of the student in question was lifted, to allow the student to continue with classes.

After consulting the members of my senior management team who were available this afternoon, I have decided that the case against the second student should not proceed and should be withdrawn. This is so, because the evidence to be presented does not clearly justify the continuation of the matter.

My team and I are working hard to build a culture which is socially inclusive and cohesive, welcoming and embracing the diversity of our university community, mindful of our historical context. Incidents of this nature are against all of these and we must apologise to the staff and students of the NWU and, in fact, the public at large. It is clear that we need to do more in our mission of educating students to live and work in South Africa, in the spirit of our mission, our values and our country's constitution.

The university management condemns any act of racism or discrimination in the strongest possible terms. It is against the ethos and values of the NWU and contradicts our efforts to work towards social justice. We shall continue to work tirelessly to build a culture of which the university community and the rest of South Africa can be proud.

Kind regards

Prof Dan Kgwadi

Senior management appointments

23 June 2017

View the senior appointments that have been made by Council as part of the restructuring process to implement a new unitary model for the NWU here. These appointments, made by Council during its meeting of 22 June 2017, take effect from 1 July 2017.

Constitution of the SRC and the Campus Student Councils

22 June 2017

The Council has approved the Constitution of the SRC and the Campus Student Councils at its meeting on 22 June 2017. This marks a new era in the life of students at the NWU. Our strategy is aimed at creating a more unitary university across our various campuses where we celebrate the full range of our diversity and create on each of our campuses a socially inclusive environment which promotes student success and properly prepares students for the world of work.

In this interim phase of our development, we will utilise currently applicable electoral processes to elect an SRC in August 2017 and then align these by September 2017 for the future.

I encourage all students to participate in the electoral process and foster the culture of engagement, tolerance and debate which should characterise all our activities.

Yours sincerely

Prof Dan Kgwadi