VISION 2022

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Dec 1, 2012 (4 years and 7 months ago)

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Wits - Knowledge at the leading edge
VISION 2022
S t r a t e g i c F r a me wo r k
Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist •
Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates •
Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to
Meritocratic Diverse University
Located in Johannesburg
Intellectual Engagement
Leading Scholars
VI S I ON 2 0 2 2
Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist •
Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates •
Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway
to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business
School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to cutting-edge Research • Meritocratic-Diverse University • Talented staff • Highly trained graduates • Well-
resourced • Leading Postgraduate Education • Research excellence • A-rated Scientist • Leading Business School • Johannesburg, Africa’s economic-hub • Intellectual gateway to South Africa • Diversity • Gateway to
Global leading university
Gateway to Africa
Research excellence
Quality postgraduate education
S t r a t e g i c F r a me wo r k
The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
PAGE 02
Cont ent s
The Purpose of a Strategi c Framework 03
Strategi c I ntent 04
A Leadi ng Research-I ntensi ve Uni versi ty 06
Purpose and Mi ssi on 08
The Val ues We Cannot Compromi se 10
The Envi ronment I nfl uenci ng our Choi ces 12
- Uni ver si t i es and Gl obal i sat i on
- I mpet us f or a wi der Wi t s Af r i can Foot pr i nt
- Wi t s as Par t of t he Nat i onal Resear ch and
I nnovat i on Syst em
- Locat i on of Wi t s i n Johannesbur g
- The Chal l enges f or Wi t s
Present and Future Real i ti es and Capabi l i ti es 22
- What Wi t s l ooks l i ke i n 2010
- What wi l l Wi t s l ook l i ke i n 2022?
Strategi c Pri ori ti es 24
- Wi t s Exper i ence
- Resear ch and Knowl edge Leader shi p
- I nnovat i on and Soci al Leader shi p
- Ext ensi ve Net wor ks and Par t ner shi ps
- Excel l ence i n Gover nance, Management and
Suppor t Ser vi ces
- An I T Savvy Uni ver si t y
- Weal t hy and Wel l - Resour ced
PAGE 03The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
The Purpose of a
Strategic Framework
The Vision 2022 Strategic Framework sets out the vision for the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) to
pursue in the next 12 years (2010 - 2022) and identifies the strategies to achieve this vision. Building on an
assessment of internal capabilities and resources and an environmental scan, the framework emphasises
the need critically to review our approach to research, teaching and learning, and social engagement, and
adapt it drastically to attain the goal articulated in the vision. It is a positioning document that articulates the
vision and strategic choices this University is making to assert itself as an internationally leading research-
intensive institution. The framework does not state detailed mechanisms through which these choices
will be executed. This instead will be achieved by a series of rolling three-year strategic plans undertaken
throughout the 2010 - 2022 period, each with well-defined objectives, set indicators and benchmarks.
The ability to put goals and objectives into action effectively and efficiently as an organisation is directly
linked to alignment with the people, processes and purposes of that organisation. Effective strategy
execution is a consequence of a well-thought-out process of strategy formulation and planning. Without
visionary and determined leadership, pragmatic implementation plans, and robust monitoring and
evaluation systems, strategic planning becomes a meaningless exercise.
It is a positioning document that articulates the vision and
strategic choices this University is making to assert itself as
an internationally leading research-intensive institution.
PAGE 04 St r at egi c I nt ent
The Vision 2022 Strategic
Framework positions Wits
as an internationally-leading
research-intensive university
located in Africa.
Strategic Intent
PAGE 05St r at egi c I nt ent
Wits aspires to be a leading research-intensive university, firmly embedded
in the top 100 world universities by 2022.
The Vision 2022 Strategic Framework positions Wits as an internationally
leading research-intensive university located in Africa. The preceding
Wits 2010 Strategic Plan was directed at the internal consolidation
and development of the University’s intellectual strengths, its teaching
excellence, and its administrative and financial systems. Wits’s identity
has been affirmed as an internationally respected research-intensive
university, fully engaged with the contemporary national and international
environment. The Vision 2022 Strategic Framework lays the foundation for
a Wits that is a leader in research, teaching and innovation internationally
in a number of key priority fields of global importance, but without
negating our strategic role as leader in a local and regional context.
Wits is fully cognisant of the continuing changes in the global, regional
and local context for knowledge production. In this regard we are uniquely
Wits aspires to be a leading research-
intensive university firmly embedded in
the Top 100 world universities by 2022.
positioned to respond to the profound challenges of our times by
exploring, much more vigorously, the use of our local and broader African
context as a basis for groundbreaking, globally significant research. This
in itself will require collaboration by way of select and strategic choices in
partnerships and networks to ensure that Wits plays an influential role in
South Africa, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and
the rest of the African continent as a distinguished and internationally
leading intellectual powerhouse located in a vibrant metropolitan and
world-class African city.
To achieve the above will require visionary, determined and practical
leadership to ensure that by 2022 Wits will have attained top-100
status. This implies that Wits will need to embark on bold strategies
that will:
• Pursue an ambitious internationalisation strategy that will project
Wits as a world-class centre of intellectual engagement and a preferred
destination for top-class international scholars and students
• Pursue intellectual elitism as an approach that will nurture world
leaders in their respective fields of engagement, and graduates
through professional development and educational programmes that
compare with the very best globally
• Fully exploit its competitive advantages by building aggressively on
existing niche areas and strengths and nurturing new avenues for
intense engagement where it can produce groundbreaking research
output
• Drastically increase its intake of postgraduate students and post-
doctoral fellows
• Provide a high-quality support environment and top-class
infrastructure for its core functions
• Become recognised among academics globally as a gateway to
knowledge and understanding in Africa and a preferred employer for
global intellectual talent
• Ensure high-level implementation of choices we make, and
monitoring of impact and performance, as a means to set us apart
from other universities with similar ambitions.
PAGE 06 A Leadi ng Resear ch- I nt ensi ve Uni ver si t y
A Leadi ng Resear ch- I ntensi ve Uni ver si t y
We ai m t o bui l d on t hi s
r eput at i on aggr essi vel y
by i nt ensi f yi ng our ef f or t s
t o cr eat e an envi r onment
conduci ve t o el evat i ng t he
st andar d and i mpact of
r esear ch, qual i t y of t eachi ng
and l ear ni ng, and t he
r i gour of i nt el l ect ual and
soci al engagement t o new
hei ght s.
PAGE 07A Leadi ng Resear ch- I nt ensi ve Uni ver si t y
The University of the Witwatersrand is a research-intensive university
located in the heart of Johannesburg, a dynamic, metropolitan, world-
class African city.
Its distinctive capabilities have contributed to the global research
and development agenda through leading-edge scholarship and
produced global citizens who are passionate about intellectual and
social engagement. We aim to build on this reputation aggressively by
intensifying our efforts to create an environment conducive to elevating
the standard and impact of research, quality of teaching and learning,
and the rigour of intellectual and social engagement to new heights.
The purpose of the Vision 2022 Strategic Framework is to articulate a vision
that elevates Wits’s position as one of the internationally leading research-
intensive universities and a gateway to knowledge and understanding
in Africa. It provides the overarching framework for more detailed plans
that will be based on imperatives current for the time and that will shape
strategic thinking during the respective planning cycles.
The purpose of the Vision 2022
Strategic Framework is to articulate
a vision that elevates Wits’ position
as one of the internationally leading
research-intensive universities
and a gateway to knowledge and
understanding in Africa.
IMPLEMEnTATIon/MonIToRInG & EVALUATIon
RESEARCh/TEAChInG & LEARnInG/SoCIAL EnGAGEMEnT
Research Planning
Acadamic Planning
Talent Management Strategy
Finance Strategy
Spatial Development Planning
Partnership Strategy
Advancement Strategy
KIM Strategy
Internationalisation Policy
Administration & operations Planning
VISION 2022
S t r a t e g i c
F r a m e w o r k
2 0 1 3
2 0 1 6
2 0 1 9
2 0 2 2
S t r a t e g i c P l a n
PAGE 08 Pur pose and Mi ssi on
Pur pose and Mi ssi on
As an i nsti tuti on bui l t on
pr i nci pl es of i ntel l ectual
excel l ence, we are
commi tted to provi di ng
hi gh-qual i ty, i nter nati onal l y
competi ti ve educati on,
founded on high academic
standards, cutting-edge
research, public engagement,
and productive partnerships
with leading institutions
throughout the world.
PAGE 09Pur pose and Mi ssi on
Wi t s’ s mi ssi on i s t o gr ow i t s gl obal st at ur e as a l eadi ng r esear ch- i nt ensi ve
uni ver si t y and a gat eway t o r esear ch engagement and i nt el l ect ual
achi evement i n Af r i ca. Thi s i t wi l l achi eve by bui l di ng on t he pr i nci pl es
of i nt el l ect ual excel l ence, i nt er nat i onal compet i t i veness and l ocal
r el evance.
As an i nst i t ut i on bui l t on pr i nci pl es of i nt el l ect ual excel l ence, we ar e
commi t t ed t o pr ovi di ng hi gh- qual i t y, i nt er nat i onal l y compet i t i ve
educat i on, f ounded on hi gh academi c st andar ds, cut t i ng- edge r esear ch,
publ i c engagement, and pr oduct i ve par t ner shi ps wi t h l eadi ng i nst i t ut i ons
t hr oughout t he wor l d.
I n pursui ng our vi si onary goal of becomi ng a top-l eague uni versi ty
l ocated on Afri can soi l, we ai m to:
• ampl i f y our gener at i on and di ssemi nat i on of gr oundbr eaki ng
knowl edge i n ni che ar eas.
• opt i mi se our i nt er nat i onal vi si bi l i t y and i mpact of r esear ch, and our
r eput at i on f or t eachi ng.
• mai nt ai n a hi gh pr opor t i on of i nt er nat i onal st udent s and st af f
• r ecr ui t hi ghl y t al ent ed st udent s f or under gr aduat e educat i on
• mai nt ai n a hi gh pr opor t i on of car ef ul l y sel ect ed post gr aduat e
st udent s.
• pr oduce hi ghl y i nf l uent i al gr aduat es f or t he gl obal ci vi l soci et y
• wi den our f oot pr i nt gl obal l y t hr ough ext ensi ve st r at egi c net wor ks
• at t r act and r et ai n di st i ngui shed schol ar s and pr i ze- wi nni ng l eader s i n
ni che and st r at egi c f i el ds.
• at t r act and r et ai n t he best academi c and suppor t st af f
• cont r i but e t o soci et y t hr ough r esear ch, t eachi ng and soci al
engagement.
• maintain a distinctive focus and reputation for groundbreaking research
and scholarship in science, engineering and technology (SET) areas
• benchmark with top-league and top-100 universities, including the
UK Russell Group, the Australian Group of Eight, and the Big 5 in South
Africa.
• provide a high-quality, supportive research and educational
environment for students and staff.
• establish and sustain a sound base for diversified sources of income
• retain a high degree of academic freedom and institutional
independence.
• retain our long-lasting legacy of high-level achievement and
excellence.
PAGE 10 The Val ues We Cannot Compr omi se
The Values We Cannot Compromise
Wits values excellence
achieved through
uncompromising
commitment to intellectual
achievement.
PAGE 11The Val ues We Cannot Compr omi se
Wits values excellence achieved through uncompromising commitment
to intellectual achievement. The distinctive character of Wits includes our
value system and legacy of visibly committed academics, and a socially
engaged and independent-minded institution. These values will be
embedded in all Wits policies and activities - taking advice from De Maret
that:
“...universities have a lot to lose in public opinion if they lose their
values, as these are the glue of the community of scholars at the
heart of the university, and their credibility to the outside world.”
1
The enduring commitment of the University to the legacy of
intellectual excellence, public engagement and institutional
autonomy will be espoused through the following values, which are
elaborated upon in detail in the 2005 Academic Aims and Values: A
commitment to Scholarship document:
• Independent enquiry and trust.
• International comparability.
• Intellectual excellence and integrity.
• Academic freedom and institutional autonomy.
• Collegiality.
• Social engagement and responsiveness.
• Diversity.
• Accountability.
• Debate and critical engagement.
1
de Maret (2007). In Sadlak, J. and Liu
N.C. (Eds). The world-class University and
Ranking: Aiming beyond status. Bacarest:
UNESCO - CEPES/Shanghai Jiao Tong
University, 2007, pp31 - 38.
PAGE 12
The Envi r onment I nf l uenci ng our Choi ces
The Envi r onment I nf l uenci ng our Choi ces
The gener at i on of
knowl edge t hr ough basi c
schol ar l y or sci ent i f i c
r esear ch r emai ns t he
pr i mar y f unct i on of
ever y r esear ch- i nt ensi ve
uni ver si t y i n t he wor l d.
PAGE 13
The Envi r onment I nf l uenci ng our Choi ces
Universities and Globalisation
Knowledge and Innovation as Drivers of Change
The generation of knowledge through basic scholarly or scientific research
remains the primary function of every research-intensive university in the
world. Having said this, it is important to observe that global economic
and social systems have been radically restructured due to the growing
importance of information and knowledge in all spheres of economic
and social activities.
This transformation has come about through the interaction of
several forces which characterise evolving knowledge economies
and innovation systems, and provide a framework for examining the
role of higher education in future,
2
,i.e.:
• High levels of human resources mobility across national borders and
the generation of new knowledge through real and virtual knowledge
clusters or networks, irrespective of geographical location
• High levels of knowledge intensity incorporated in products, in
services and in production and service-delivery processes
• The intensification of the pace of innovation in all spheres of human
endeavour, i.e. the rate of production of new knowledge and the
shortening of time between discovery or inventions and innovations
for socio-economic development
• The relative ease of accessibility of knowledge through global
research networks and the Internet
• The increased importance of research and development (R&D) and
the creation and promotion of new knowledge in the form of
innovations that are commercialised and generate revenue, as well
as in the form of social innovations that have positive development
impacts
• The significant value attributed to human knowledge capital
compared to valuating an enterprise solely on its fixed capital assets
• The value of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in
promoting the capturing, access and analysis of complex and
voluminous data sets, and the value of ICT networks in promoting
rapid knowledge exchange - irrespective of time and distance and
dependent only on access to people and institutional networks
• The emergence of entirely new disciplines and fields of knowledge,
e.g. advanced manufacturing, nanotechnology, next-generation
communication networks, etc.
“We must rewrite the social contract between the researcher and
society, so that freedom of thought is balanced by responsibility
for action. We must open our markets, our companies and our
knowledge institutions so they work together more productively.
Above all, we must create an environment in which the best ideas
thrive, the brightest people prosper, and our excellence is rewarded
- while at the same time improving the cohesion of our society.”
3
There is a growing recognition around the world that universities play
a key role in generating, sharing and disseminating the knowledge
required to drive global competitiveness and economic growth. Such
a recognition, far from diminishing the traditional role of universities as
institutions that generate knowledge for the enrichment of science, has
in fact created the space for dynamic engagement and realignment of
knowledge hierarchies. In addition to this, global competitiveness has
created opportunities for universities to re-imagine different means of
sharing and appropriating that knowledge.
2
Abrahams, Lucienne and Melody, William
H. 2005. South African Higher Education
in the ‘Knowledge Economy’: Visions and
Vignettes towards the Future. SAUVCA
Occasional Paper 2, 29p.
3
European Commission: Preparing Europe
for a New Renaissance: A Strategic View of
the European Research Area. First Report of
the European Research Area Board - 2009.
4
Wildavsky, B. 2010. The Great Brain Race:
How global Universities are reshaping the
world. Princeton University Press.
5
Readings, B. 1996. The University in Ruins.
Harvard University Press.
PAGE 14
Uni ver si t i es ar e t her ef or e not onl y r equi r ed t o keep abr east of soci o-
economi c changes i n t he gl obal envi r onment, ar i si ng f r om, among ot her
f act or s, t he unpr ecedent ed r at e of pr oduct i on of new knowl edge and
sci ent i f i c or t echnol ogi cal i nnovat i ons, but al so t o f i nd an appr opr i at e
pl ace f or t hemsel ves t o f l our i sh i n t hi s l andscape. Wi t hi n a knowl edge-
based economy, t he uni ver si t y becomes a key el ement of t he i nnovat i on
syst em bot h as a cr eat or of new knowl edge and i deas based on r esear ch,
and as pr ovi der of human capi t al. But wi t hi n i nnovat i on syst ems t he
r espect i ve t r adi t i onal r ol es of t he cor e pl ayer s, vi z. i ndust r y, gover nment
and uni ver si t y, accust omed t o oper at i ng at an ar m’ s l engt h f r om one
anot her, have become i ncr easi ngl y bl ur r ed; so much so, t hat wi t hi n any
speci f i c set of ci r cumst ances one may t ake on t he r ol e of t he ot her. Thi s,
cal l ed t he Tr i pl e Hel i x model of i nnovat i on, concept ual i ses a dynami c
r at her t han st at i c r el at i onshi p among st at e, i ndust r y and academi c
i nst i t ut i ons.
Research and Trai ni ng for Wi ts wi thi n the
Context of Gl obal Chal l enges
The chal l enges bef or e t he wor l d ar e i mmense and compl ex. Soci et y
demands answer s t o gl obal chal l enges and sees sci ence as a maj or par t
of t he sol ut i on. The st at us quo can, by i mpl i cat i on, not be an opt i on as
t he ‘ sci ence of compl exi t y’ t hat char act er i ses gl obal chal l enges demands
ever - changi ng appr oaches t o r esear ch, and devel opment of i nt el l ect ual
capi t al.
Thi s confronts uni versi ti es l i ke Wi ts wi th new chal l enges that i ncl ude,
among others, the need:
• t o def i ne ni che ar eas of schol ar shi p.
• f or di f f er ent di sci pl i nes t o wor k t oget her.
• t o col l abor at e wi t h ot her soci al act or s f or shar ed pur poses.
• t o t r ai n i n dept h whi l e i nt egr at i ng acr oss di sci pl i nes
• t o i nt egr at e i nt o t he i nt er nat i onal ef f or t s and net wor ks
• t o t r ai n t he next gener at i on of r esear cher s t o f i t i nt o l ar ge t eams,
yet t o r et ai n t hei r own i ndi vi dual i dent i t y and al l ow r oom f or i ndi vi dual
cr eat i vi t y.
• t o r ecr ui t st udent s and sci ent i st s f r om gl obal mar ket s
• t o devel op hi gh- l evel cr i t i cal ski l l s.
• f or st udent s t o be t r ai ned t o par t i ci pat e i n t he i nt er nat i onal cont ext
• f or r esear cher s t o under st and t he l i nks among evi dence, pol i cy,
r egul at i ons and i mpl ement at i on.
• t o expl or e new means of knowl edge shar i ng and appr opr i at i on
( knowl edge t r ansf er ).
6
de Maret. 2007. In Sadlak, J. and Liu N.C.
(Eds). The world-class University and
Ranking: Aiming beyond status. Bacarest:
UNESCO - CEPES/Shanghai Jiao Tong
University, 2007, pp31 - 38.
The Envi r onment I nf l uenci ng our Choi ces
Within a knowledge-based economy,
the university becomes a key
element of the innovation system
both as a creator of new knowledge
and ideas based on research, and as
provider of human capital.
PAGE 15
Wi t s needs t o posi t i on i t sel f wi t hi n t hi s r eal i t y as
a r esear ch- i nt ensi ve uni ver si t y suppor t ed by
wor l d- cl ass admi ni st r at i ve and busi ness syst ems.
These trends in the changing role of and demands placed on higher education in the
economy and society, have also led to the realisation that the management of higher
education institutions has become increasingly important and specialised. Two cultures exist
in international research intensive universities today, viz. academic culture geared towards
knowledge, scientific excellence, academic freedom and sharing of results; and a business
culture geared towards producing wealth, profitability and appropriation of results.
6
Management I mpl i cati ons
“Dramatic changes in regional economic conditions, globalisation
of both input and product markets, and the increase in the
intensity of knowledge as an input to production across a wide
range of products have contributed to institutions of higher
education becoming key national and regional economic
development actors.”
7
Uni ver si t i es ar e r ecogni sed as speci al ki nds of busi nesses, whi ch
must r ecogni se and appl y busi ness pr i nci pl es i f t hey ar e t o pr osper.
Academi c schol ar shi p and i nt el l ect ual l eader shi p ski l l s ar e no l onger t he
sol e r equi r ement s f or r unni ng hi gher educat i on i nst i t ut i ons. Ef f i ci ent
management, pol i t i cal net wor ki ng and f undr ai si ng ski l l s ar e equal l y, i f
not mor e i mpor t ant. Ther ef or e, t hey need t hei r own ‘ busi ness model s’
t hat addr ess t he ver y speci f i c demands pl aced on t hem by t he soci et y
t hey ser ve. Wi t s needs t o posi t i on i t sel f wi t hi n t hi s r eal i t y as a r esear ch-
i nt ensi ve uni ver si t y suppor t ed by sophi st i cat ed admi ni st r at i ve and
busi ness syst ems. I t i s common knowl edge t hat t he sur vi val of wor l d-
cl ass uni ver si t i es i s ent r enched i n t hei r abi l i t y t o gener at e weal t h, al l ocat e
r esour ces and use busi ness syst ems t o suppor t t he academi c ent er pr i se.
I mpetus for a wi der Wi ts Afri can
engagement
Li ke el sewher e i n t he wor l d, uni ver si t i es i n Af r i ca ar e expect ed by var i ous
soci o- economi c dr i ver s, such as t he UN Mi l l enni um Devel opment Goal s
( MDG), t o ser ve as cr i t i cal pl ayer s i n nat i onal and r egi onal economi c and
soci al devel opment i mper at i ves, i ncl udi ng shapi ng t he r esear ch and
devel opment ( R&D) agenda.
7
Goldstein, HA. What we know and
what we don’t know about the regional
economic impacts of universities. In Varga,
A. 2009. Universities, Knowledge Transfer
and Regional Development: Geography,
Entrepreneurship and Policy. UK:Edward
Elgar Publishing.
8
Accelerating Catch-Up: Tertiary
Education for Growth in Sub-Saharan
Africa, a Synopsis. World Bank, 2008:15.
The Envi r onment I nf l uenci ng our Choi ces
The chal l enges bef or e SADC ar e equal l y i mmense and compl ex. Whi l e
var i ous nat i on st at es f ace t he chal l enge t o al i gn t hei r nat i onal obj ect i ves
t o t he r egi onal economi c and soci al devel opment i nt er est, t hi s has t o
be done i n a cont ext of compet i ng nat i onal i nt er est s, and l i mi t ed
nat i onal r esour ces. Thi s r equi r es uni ver si t i es t o bal ance t he t r adi t i on of
PAGE 16
i ndependence of schol ar shi p and gener at i on of knowl edge agai nst any
soci al r ef or m i mper at i ves of any gi ven or der, and t o adopt new i nst i t ut i onal
model s t hat wi l l al l ow t hem t o al i gn t hei r act i vi t i es wi t h publ i c- good and
pr i vat e- gai n i mper at i ves.
The Envi r onment I nf l uenci ng our Choi ces
For Wits to fully assert itself as an African
intellectual powerhouse, the University
needs to consciously initiate policies that
open up spaces for engagement with
Africa and not leave this to individual
and isolated efforts of faculty staff.
of all African scientists live and work in Organisation for Economic Co-
operation and Development (OECD) countries, according to the Network
of African Science Academies.
9
Despite these adverse conditions under which African universities
operate, universities have to act as champions of innovative solutions
and important drivers of change in Africa. The development imperatives
of African universities are such that the continent is destined to continue
to rely heavily on the goodwill of foreign funders and the co-operation
of top higher-education institutions beyond its shores for many years to
come in order to build the capacity it needs for self-sustainability today.
To accelerate this process there have, in recent years, been calls for better
co-ordination of support programmes and the need for pan-African
strategies and initiatives to direct the building of academic and research
capacity within and for the continent.
10
Building a strong, internationally competitive higher education sector in
Africa will require, among other things, strong collaborative linkages among
leading academics within Africa. That is to say, there is a need to build on
existing strengths. Such collaborative linkages among leading academics
with proven track records and demonstrated, tangible measures of
recognition and success will expedite the process of becoming globally
competitive, enhance regional innovation, and position Africa as one of
the centres of global knowledge production in its own right, with African
9
Brain Drain in Africa: Joint statement by
the Network of African Science Academies
(NASAC), July 2009.
10
Farley, S. 2005. Support to Science,
Technology, and Knowledge for
Development: A Snapshot of the Global
Landscape. Paper prepared for The Africa-
Canada-UK Exploration: Building Science
and Technology Capacity with African
Partners. 30 January - 1 February 2005,
London, UK.
Today, the era of individualism among tertiary institutions is rapidly
passing, as governments and stakeholders increasingly ask them
to become team players contributing to a national innovation
system that nourishes a national economy. To play this role, these
institutions need to put their legal autonomy into practice, become
more entrepreneurial, embrace experimentation and change, see
themselves as networked partners and institutional collaborators,
understand the dynamic needs of the labour market, and strive for
greater instrumentality in their teaching and research.
8
Through its African Footprint programmes, Wits has reaffirmed its
commitment as a university located in Africa by increasingly becoming an
‘“engaged university’ which addresses society’s needs and expectations
in South Africa and Africa through leading-edge research and quality
education.
higher Education Challenges in Africa
It is estimated that there are in excess of 200 public universities in sub-
Saharan Africa, many of them established over the past two decades to
cater for an unprecedented growth in student enrolments. The estimated
growth over these years was over 8% per annum, representing more than
a threefold increase over this period. Simultaneously, however, public
funding has declined considerably in almost all African states. The impact
of this has been a decline in educational quality, a shift towards the
less expensive disciplines, a drastic decline in research funding to cover
the costs of growing student numbers, a decline in high-level research
production, a shrinking proportion of postgraduate enrolment, and a
decline in the development of the next generation of academics. This is
exacerbated by the fact that an estimated 30 000 home-grown specialists
and professionals leave the continent annually. Presently about one third
PAGE 17
The Envi r onment I nf l uenci ng our Choi ces
scholars at the centre of the debates. This process can be accelerated by
way of innovative engagements with the African Diaspora, in particular
the numerous African scholars who occupy senior academic positions in
many of the top universities of the North.
The outcome of such an approach must be an increase in the levels of self
confidence among African academics and emerging scholars, as well as
respect for academic ideas and scientific inquiry by African governments,
business and policy makers. This is necessary for increased levels of
democratisation and participatory development. For Wits to assert
itself fully as an African intellectual powerhouse, the University needs
consciously to initiate policies that open up spaces for engagement with
Africa and not leave this to individual and isolated efforts of faculty staff.
opportunities for Wits in Africa
There are numerous examples of opportunities unique to Africa that feature
repeatedly in various national and regional policy frameworks, including
those of the African Union (AU) and SADC. These include the development
of intellectual capital, research and development, and mobilisation of
knowledge for innovation and technological advancement, in areas such
as those set out below.
• Climate and environmental is of particular importance to Africa
as it is generally acknowledged that this continent is most vulnerable
to climate change because of its location, its unique biodiversity and
its limited capacity to adapt. It is also acknowledged that climate
change will manifest itself in shorter and more extreme weather
patterns over the continent, leading to droughts, abnormal rainfall
and heat waves, with resulting nature-induced hazards and disasters
such as landsides, floods and famine.
• The optimal utilisation of Africa’s mineral wealth and other natural
resources for economic growth, wealth creation and the improve-
ment of the quality of life will require high-level human resources for
research and innovation in several disciplines. These will embrace,
among others, the development and utilisation of technologies
for infrastructure and ICT; mineral beneficiation; energy; post-harvest
technologies, including biotechnology; advanced manufacturing
and nanotechnology.
• Africa’s population groups display the largest genetic diversity and
virtually nothing is known about this in relation to susceptibility to
diseases. Any research activities within the life and health sciences,
will need to take this into consideration. That includes biomedical
and genomic research with emphasis on both communicable and non-
communicable diseases, their treatment and prevention, and
pharmaceutical biomaterials and drug-delivery technologies Related
are issues of nutrition, and the safe development and application of
biotechnology in, for example, pharmaceuticals and genetic
modifications, as well as securing and using the indigenous knowledge
base in this regard.
• Africa, the undisputed cradle of humankind, provides a large
number key fossil deposits across the continent that have preserved
within them evidence of not only the earliest manifestations of the
hominid line through to the emergence of modern humans, but also
associated faunal and floral environments, the study of which
enhances our understanding of the factors that have driven human
evolution. In addition, the continent’s rich diversity of living peoples
from different cultures is the prime laboratory for studying human
origins and genetic diversity, our understanding of which is
augmented by numerous cave and rock art sites that hold behavioural
and morphological evidence of earliest human species.
• The continent’s rich diversity of peoples and cultures, referred to
above in itself provides unique opportunities for studying and
understanding the cultural and social dynamics of people and
communities, their expression through literature and performance, their
ability to anticipate and adapt to changes brought about by globalisation,
and many more aspects of their lives. Although these areas of engagement
are of great significance in their own right, the recent Nairobi Report
has made a strong case for the need to strengthen considerably the
human and social sciences and their importance in understanding the
cultural and social dynamics of people, communities, places and
institutions. This is vital for scientific and technological knowledge to be
effectively adapted and applied on the continent.
11
The Nairobi Report - Frameworks for
Africa-UK Research Collaboration in the
Social Sciences NA Humanities. 2009. The
British Academy and the Association of
Commonwealth Universities, 40p.
PAGE 18
Wi ts as Part of the nati onal Research
and I nnovati on System
Research and human Capi tal Devel opment
Chal l enges i n South Afri ca
I n t he past t hr ee decades, t he r at e of new knowl edge pr oduct i on i n
i nvent i ons and i nnovat i on f or soci o- economi c devel opment has been
speeded up by t he r el at i ve ease of accessi bi l i t y t o knowl edge t hr ough
gl obal r esear ch net wor ks and i ncr eases i n R&D f undi ng acr oss t he
gl obe. The nat i onal Depar t ment of Sci ence and Technol ogy has set an
i nvest ment t ar get of 2% f or R&D gr owt h by 2018 i n i t s Ten Year I nnovat i on
Pl an ( TYI P), a pl an t hat wi l l “dr i ve Sout h Af r i ca’ s t r ansf or mat i on t owar ds a
knowl edge- based economy, i n whi ch t he pr oduct i on and di ssemi nat i on
of knowl edge l eads t o economi c benef i t s and enr i ches al l f i el ds of human
endeavour ”. I t i dent i f i es f i ve ar eas, t he so cal l ed “Gr and Chal l enges” of
st r at egi c i mpor t ance f or i nnovat i on: “Far mer t o Par ma” ( Li f e Sci ences and
Heal t h), “Space Sci ence and Technol ogy”, “Ener gy”, “Gl obal Change”, and
“Human and Soci al Dynami cs”.
I ncreased i nvestment i s envi saged for the key dri vers of the pl an, vi z.:
• Human capi t al devel opment;
• Knowl edge gener at i on and expl oi t at i on;
• Knowl edge i nf r ast r uct ur e;
• Enabl er s t o addr ess t he ‘ i nnovat i on chasm’ bet ween r esear ch r esul t s
and soci o- economi c out comes.
For Wi t s t he medi um t o l ong- t er m pl an i s t o ensur e t hat i t s exi st i ng
st r uct ur es and f r amewor ks of r esear ch engagement and knowl edge
t r ansf er ar e capaci t at ed t o benef i t f r om t hi s l evel of i nvest ment, t o
gener at e t he desi r ed l evel s of r esear ch out put and t o pr oduce hi gh- l evel
i nt el l ect ual capaci t y t o gr ow i t s r esear ch engagement.
Human and soci al dynami cs ar e t he cor e of near l y ever y maj or chal l enge
f aci ng Sout h Af r i ca, f r om cl i mat e change t o cr eat i ng a compet i t i ve and
i nnovat i ve wor kf or ce. Human capi t al, i ncl udi ng hi gh- l evel ski l l s, r emai ns a
si gni f i cant st r uct ur al const r ai nt on t he nat i onal gr owt h and devel opment
pat h. A ski l l ed and capabl e wor kf or ce i s essent i al f or an i ncl usi ve economy,
decent wor k, r ur al devel opment, sust ai nabl e l i vel i hoods, heal t h, r educt i on
of i nequal i t i es and a knowl edge- based economy.
Layered on thi s i s an emergent need to:
( a) pr oduce a co- or di nat ed ar chi t ect ur e of nat i onal knowl edge and
i nnovat i on pol i cy, and f aci l i t i es t hat suppor t var i ous f or ms of r esear ch.
( b) put concer t ed ef f or t i nt o bui l di ng t op- l evel r esear ch capaci t i es
i n hi gher educat i on i nst i t ut i ons, par t i cul ar l y a f ew r esear ch- i nt ensi ve
uni ver si t i es.
( c) at t r act and r et ai n est abl i shed r esear cher s and t r ai n t he next gener at i on
of schol ar s.
( d) i ncr ease t he number of post gr aduat e st udent s and post - doct or al
f el l ows as a st r at egy t o i ncr ease t he pool of act i ve r esear cher s.
South Afri can hi gher Educati on
The compl ex chal l enges i mposed by gl obal i sat i on f i nd expr essi on i n a
cont ext of a hi ghl y f r agment ed Sout h Af r i can envi r onment wi t h scat t er ed
and i ncoher ent l y mobi l i sed r esour ces f or t op- end knowl edge. Cur r ent l y,
t he pr esi di ng pol i t i cal voi ce i s shi f t i ng hi gher educat i on i nst i t ut i ons
t owar ds a homogenous i dent i t y and f r amewor k f or soci al r esponsi veness
Human and social dynamics are the core of
nearly every major challenge facing South
Africa, from climate change to creating a
competitive and innovative workforce.
The Envi r onment I nf l uenci ng our Choi ces
PAGE 19
As a university producing research and
graduates that are internationally revered,
we need to ask more sophisticated
questions regarding our role as part of the
national knowledge and innovation system.
that appears to place emphasis on post-secondary education skills
development. As a university producing research and graduates that are
internationally revered, we need to ask more sophisticated questions
regarding our role as part of the national knowledge and innovation
system.

Location of Wits in Johannesburg
Wits is an urban university located in the heart of a populous, vibrant but
also complex metropolitan city, an interconnected economic and physical
space now officially known as the Gauteng City Region (GCR). This context
compels us to ask how this ‘citiness’ should influence the mission and
activities of the University. The GCR offers an extraordinary laboratory for
research and teaching, but the nature and scale of the challenges faced
within the region also, arguably, compel the University to engage with its
urban environment through knowledge creation, intellectual critique, the
content of teaching programmes, and public service.
A starting point for this engagement is an understanding of the realities,
possibilities and challenges of the GCR. Fortunately, Wits has been involved
in urban-related research over a long period of time and has developed
partnerships with Government and other institutions on matters relating
These questions should:
• address the need for a differentiated higher education system as a
strategy for the development of multi-dimensional capacities in
higher education
• accentuate the centrality of research-intensive universities in
national strategies to address complex and unpredictable challenges
of globalisation and the contemporary South Africa
• assert the need for Wits to remain an independent entity, autonomous
in its choices, identity and governance
• re-invigorate our ability to mobilise world-class resources and
capacities to lead top-level research and produce highly trained
graduates and scholars
• proliferate a shared understanding of how the choice to invest in top-
level global competitiveness in research and teaching will
concomitantly position Wits for local public good and economic
development
The Envi r onment I nf l uenci ng our Choi ces
PAGE 20
t o ur ban devel opment; an i mpor t ant exampl e bei ng t he Gaut eng Ci t y
Regi on Obser vat or y, a f or mal par t ner shi p bet ween Gover nment and
uni ver si t i es. However, t he scal e and compl exi t y of t he GCR r equi r es mor e
knowl edge and st r onger engagement.
I n i ts nati onal and Afri can context, the GCR i s a rel ati vel y prosperous regi on,
and so it attracts large numbers of migrants, mainly from South Africa, but
also from elsewhere in Africa and, increasingly, from other countries, including
Pakistan, Bangladesh and China. This is contributing to the development of
an increasingly diverse and cosmopolitan - some would say, ‘Afropolitan’ -
urban society. Cities of migrants are often associated with cultural, economic
and intellectual innovation, but they can also be places of tension, and the
GCR is confronting challenges of xenophobia and migrant vulnerability.
The GCR has an economy that contributes around 36% of South Africa’s
GDP and has a GDP per capita which is almost 70% higher than the
average for South Africa as a whole. These figures, however, obscure
enormous urban inequality and poverty. The State of World Cities Report
revealed that Johannesburg was the least equal city in the world, slightly
worse than other South African cities, and significantly worse than the
notoriously unequal Latin American cities. A 2009 study characterised
32% of Gauteng’s population as experiencing economic deprivation. This
is proportionately small in South African terms but numerically speaking it
is a large number - more than three million people.
Many day-to-day burdens face the residents of Johannesburg, and
especially the poorest segments. These include crime and violence; the
so-called ‘quadruple burden of disease’ (HIV/AIDS, diseases of lifestyle,
diseases of poverty, and physical trauma); political fractiousness and
inefficiencies in government; inadequacies in public health, education
and public transport; and deteriorating environmental quality. There is the
difficult challenge of accommodating a rapidly expanding population
with the physical infrastructure of land, housing and services, and the
even more difficult matter of building social cohesion in a divided and
unequal society. Layered on this is a series of environmental threats,
including the effects of climate change; the increasing scarcity of key
resources such as land, water and carbon fuels; and the pollution of
environmental assets, including through acid mine drainage. The GCR,
with its sprawling and fragmented urban footprint, is one of the world’s
most inefficient cities in the use of energy and in the cost of providing
infrastructure.
There are no easy solutions to many of these challenges. They present
‘wicked problems’. There is wide consensus that we need fairer,
greener, safer, and more sustainable and resilient cities. This will require
extraordinary creativity and effort. It requires collaboration across
institutional divides – an effective and honest government, but also the
resources of the private sector; the activism and involvement of ordinary
citizens; and the creativity, critique and intellectual strength of universities
and research institutes.
The GCR, with its sprawling and
fragmented urban footprint, is one
of the world’s most inefficient cities
in the use of energy and in the cost
of providing infrastructure.
The Envi r onment I nf l uenci ng our Choi ces
PAGE 21
It is because of these challenges and requirements that a complex urban
context like the GCR is a great location for a university such as Wits. It is not
only that University engagement with the city region will contribute to address-
ing tough local challenges, but it will also position Wits as a leading university
in contributing to debates on city development and urbanisation globally, as
Johannesburg, and the GCR more widely, have been increasingly referred to
internationally as an exemplar of urban challenges in the global South.
The Challenges for Wits
The environment and the challenges of global, regional and local
imperatives apply equally to Wits as they do to other higher education
institutions in the region, all of which are no doubt engaged in processes
to face these challenges not only to survive, but also, like Wits, to improve
their respective dispensations to provide better services to their respective
stakeholder communities. However, for Wits to emerge among the top
100 universities globally by 2022 will require innovative renewal in our
approach to core and support functions that will build on Wits’s strengths,
exploit its competitive advantages, and focus on those dimensions that
will provide us with the distinctive edge that sets us apart from others.
This we will achieve only by way of unprecedented determination,
commitment, drive and support of all constituencies concerned.
However, for Wits to emerge among the Top 100 universities globally
by 2022 will require innovative renewal in our approach to core
and support functions, which will build on Wits’ strengths, exploit
its competitive advantages and focus on those dimensions that will
provide us with the distinctive edge that sets us apart from others.
The Envi r onment I nf l uenci ng our Choi ces
PAGE 22
Pr esent and Fut ur e Real i t i es & Capabi l i t i es
What Wi ts l ooks l i ke i n 2010
The Uni ver si t y of t he Wi t wat er sr and has a st r ong hi st or y of achi evement s
t hat di st i ngui sh i t i n many ways f r om ot her uni ver si t i es i n Sout h Af r i ca.
These real i ti es i ncl ude the fol l owi ng:
• Wi t s has a ver y hi gh pr opor t i on of i t s enr ol ment s i n t he SET di sci pl i nes,
i ncl udi ng hi gh l evel s of Mast er s and Doct or al st udent s. I ndeed, 64% of
i t s Doct or al gr aduat es ar e f r om t he SET f i el ds of st udy. Wi t s i s a
power f ul cont r i but or t o t he count r y’ s pool of t hese scar ce ski l l s.
• Wi t s’ s st r engt h i n post gr aduat e educat i on i s r ef l ect ed i n t he f act t hat
one- t hi r d of our st udent s st udy at t hi s l evel. I mpor t ant l y, a quar t er of
t hese ar e i nt er nat i onal st udent s who have been at t r act ed t o
post gr aduat e st udy at Wi t s.
• The hi gh qual i t y of Wi t s gr aduat es i s r ef l ect ed i n t he f act t hat 90%
of gr aduat es t hat t he Uni ver si t y pr oduces get per manent empl oyment
wi t hi n 12 mont hs of gr aduat i on ( excl udi ng t hose opt i ng t o pur sue
f ur t her st udi es or not t o seek empl oyment ).
• Wi t s’ s power f ul r esear ch t r ack r ecor d i s r ef l ect ed i n par t i n t he 23
f i el ds of st udy wher e t he Uni ver si t y r anks i n t he t op 1% of t he wor l d.
We have shown especi al l y st r ong gr owt h i n bot h t he engi neer i ng
and soci al sci ence f i el ds, si gnal l i ng t he br eadt h and bal ance of our
di sci pl i nar y excel l ence. Fur t her, our publ i cat i on r ecor d shows a ver y
hi gh l evel of i nt er nat i onal col l abor at i on: a subst ant i al per cent age
( 44,8%) of al l paper s publ i shed by Wi t s academi cs i n I nt er nat i onal
Sci ence I ndex ( I SI ) j our nal s have at l east one i nt er nat i onal co- aut hor.
• Wi t s’ s pr of essi onal di sci pl i nes r emai n l eader s i n t he count r y,
pr oduci ng gr aduat es who ar e i n demand gl obal l y. Wi t s cont i nues
t o of f er hi gh- qual i t y educat i on i n t hese di sci pl i nes, whi ch cut acr oss
al l f acul t i es, put t i ng emphasi s on engi neer i ng, heal t h sci ences,
commer ce, l aw and some ar eas i n t he soci al sci ences and t he
humani t i es.
Pr esent and Fut ur e Real i t i es & Capabi l i t i es
PAGE 23
• The st r engt h of Wi t s i n t he sci ence and engi neer i ng
di sci pl i nes has over t he year s cr eat ed a st r ong cul t ur e
of i nnovat i on and t he cr eat i on of suppor t st r uct ur es f or
t he commer ci al i sat i on of i deas and r esear ch r esul t s.
Thi s, t oget her wi t h t he act i vi t i es of t he Lear ni ng
I nf or mat i on and Knowl edge ( LI NK) Cent r e on I CT
pol i cy, r egul at i on and management, and t he mor e
r ecent l y est abl i shed Cent r e f or Ent r epr eneur shi p and
t he t eachi ng and r esear ch pr ogr ammes on St r at egi c
Management of I nnovat i on, bot h i n t he Wi t s Busi ness
School ( WBS), have consi der abl y el evat ed Wi t s’ s st andi ng
as a uni ver si t y of r el evance i n t he “knowl edge economy”.
• Rapi d ur bani sat i on and gr owt h of t he ci t y and t he
ci t y r egi on of Gaut eng have cr eat ed a sl ew of uni que
oppor t uni t i es of engagement i n a var i et y of ot her f i el ds
t hat have been and ar e bei ng pur sued wi t h vi gour by
our academi cs. St r ong exampl es i ncl ude t he Gaut eng
Ci t y Regi on Obser vat or y ( GCRO) and t he Johannesbur g
Cent r e f or Sof t war e Engi neer i ng ( JCSE). St r ong r esear ch
and pol i cy advi ce i s pr ovi ded by ( among many ot her s)
t he For ced Mi gr at i on St udi es Pr ogr amme, at t he Cent r e
f or Ur bani sm and Bui l t Envi r onment St udi es ( CUBES), and
t he Soci ol ogy of Wor k Pr oj ect ( SWOP).
• Wi t s’ s l ong- acknowl edged l eadi ng posi t i on i n t he heal t h
sci ences i s augment ed by i t s st r ong f oot hol d i n a t ypi cal
vul ner abl e r ur al set t i ng at Agi ncour t i n Mpumal anga,
wher e ongoi ng r esear ch on t he ‘ quadr upl e bur den of
di sease’, coupl ed t o t he avai l abi l i t y of ext ensi ve
l ongi t udi nal dat aset s, pr ovi des uni que oppor t uni t i es f or
cut t i ng- edge r esear ch i nt o compar at i ve st udi es i n ur ban
and r ur al set t i ngs, par t i cul ar l y i f seen i n conj unct i on wi t h
t he act i vi t i es of t he Per i nat al HI V Resear ch Uni t at Chr i s
Hani Bar agwanat h Hospi t al, whi ch i s one of l ar gest AI DS
r esear ch cent r es i n Af r i ca, t he Bi r t h t o Twent y pr ogr amme
and t he Hear t of Sowet o st udy.
• Wi t s has a st r ong t r adi t i on of publ i c i nt el l ect ual debat e.
Thr ough i t s Di st i ngui shed Schol ar s Pr ogr amme, Wi t s
cont i nues t o at t r act i nt er nat i onal l y r enowned sci ent i st s
and Nobel Laur eat es f r om ar ound t he wor l d t o
par t i ci pat e i n schol ar l y act i vi t i es of t he Uni ver si t y. I n 2009
such schol ar s i ncl uded t he 2001 Nobel Laur eat e Pr of essor
Joseph St i gl i t z and 10 ot her schol ar s of equal st at ur e
acr oss var i ous di sci pl i nes.
• Ther e i s an unpr ecedent ed pr ogr amme of i nf r ast r uct ur e
devel opment and i mpr ovement at Wi t s whi ch i s due
t o cont i nue f or t he next f our year s. Cur r ent l y st andi ng at
a val ue of ar ound R1,5 bi l l i on, t hi s i nf r ast r uct ur e i ncl udes
bot h Depar t ment of Hi gher Educat i on and Tr ai ni ng
( DoHET) and non- DoHET capi t al pr oj ect s, and i t gi ves
Wi t s t he advant age i n consol i dat i ng i t s posi t i on as a
l eadi ng Af r i can i nt el l ect ual power house of f er i ng qual i t y
educat i on.
• I n t he past f i ve year s Wi t s has r epeat edl y been r anked as
one of t he t op 500 of t he appr oxi mat el y 20 000
uni ver si t i es i n t he wor l d. Thi s at t est s t o Wi t s’ s exi st i ng
i nt er nal capaci t y and t he r eal i t y of i t s abi l i t y t o pr oduce
r esear ch wi t h hi gh i nt er nat i onal i mpact and of f er hi gh-
qual i t y educat i on.
What will Wits look like in 2022?
By 2022, there will a number of distinct qualities and
accomplishments that will position Wits as a leading
research-intensive university and these include the
following:
• Wits will be in the top 100 world universities, as measured
by the quality and impact of research output, and its
ability to attract high-quality students and world-class
researchers from across the globe.
• Wits will be a world leader in several niche areas and
strengths, and will have engaged several new avenues
for cutting-edge research.
• Wits’s institutes will have contributed to at least doubling
its research output, by way of, among other things,
in-depth, cross-disciplinary and multidisciplinary
engagement in the emergence of new disciplines and
fields of knowledge. These institutes will have world-
class research facilities and host a number of
distinguished, leading scholars who routinely interact
with others across the globe.
• The university will boast at least 50 internationally
leading scholars, identified as such either by way of a
National Research Foundation (NRF) A-rating or as ISI
highly cited researchers, strategically distributed across
the schools and institutes. The University will be a mobile
campus, ubiquitously accessible to students and staff
to respond with greater ability to research, teaching and
learning opportunities.
• Wits will serve as an intellectual gateway to South
Africa, SADC and beyond, based on locally contextualised
groundbreaking research of global impact.
• International students will constitute at least 30% of total
enrolments.
• Postgraduate students will constitute 50% of total
enrolments.
• Wits will produce highly trained graduates who are
globally highly sought after for their ability to contribute
to civil society.
• The university will be generating significant additional
revenue from third-stream income sources and the Wits
Group will be operating at its optimal capability to
generate the income required for achieving the 2022
goals.
• Wits will be a fully-fledged ‘Meritocratic-Diverse-Elite
’ university supporting all those with the ability to benefit
from the Wits experience regardless of social class, race,
gender, religion or nationality.
Pr esent and Fut ur e Real i t i es & Capabi l i t i es
PAGE 24 The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
St r at egi c Pr i or i t i es
To be a Wi t s gr aduat e i s t o
be known as a t op achi ever.
PAGE 25The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
Academi c Excel l ence and
the Wi ts Experi ence
Wits commits itself to providing a distinct, intellectually stimulating, challenging
and rewarding research and educational experience to all its students, staff,
alumni, partners and guests, and all organisations that are associated with the
University. By pursuing this ambition, Wits will position itself as a gateway to
research and intellectual engagement in Africa and a preferred destination
for talented students, staff and scholars from around the world who share
our values. Wits commits itself to providing a vibrant intellectual experience
that allows students and staff to analyse, critique and understand the cultural,
social, political and economic contexts in which their knowledge generation
and acquisition are located. Wits seeks to uphold values enshrined in the
South African Constitution and the Bill of Rights in teaching, research, service
and social engagement, and in campus life. The Wits experience has three
pillars: the intellectual project, student centeredness and institutional culture.
Wits wants to be vaunted for creating an intellectually vibrant, socially
embracing and culturally diverse teaching and learning environment.
Student-centeredness at the University does not only focus on provision
of facilities that are sensitive to student needs but also on the use
of pedagogies that respond appropriately to the learning needs of
all students. It includes the creation of a conducive environment,
inclusive institutional culture, explicit concern and support for student
development, and the promotion of student responsibility for the
quality and effectiveness of their learning. It is a given reality that these
values cannot be achieved without co-ordinated and transformative
programmes informed by rigorous intellectual debate and critique in a
research-intensive metropolitan university like Wits.
Strategic Objectives
(a) Attract highly talented students from around the world and provide
a unique student-centred and research-driven experience without
compromising Wits’ commitment to local imperatives.
(b) Re-invigorate Wits’ reputation for supporting the participation of
students and scholars from all diverse backgrounds who have
the potential to benefit from our educational opportunities and
arrangements.
(c) Attract, develop and retain high calibre and distinguished scholars
and support staff by offering a welcoming and supportive environment
noted for diversity and high level intellectual achievement.
(d) Cultivating a positive and lasting distinct experience for all who
become associated with Wits, by promoting critical enquiry, debate,
independence, accountability, and the public good.
An environment that promotes high-level student
engagement and performance
Teaching and learning: Teaching and learning at Wits is informed by the
Teaching and Learning Plan 2010 - 2014 which provides the strategy that
Wits will take in order to sustain and continuously strengthen the quality
of education provided by the University. This quality is to be found in the
currency of curricula, in the levels of excellence achieved by students, in the
improvements in throughput and in the continuing very high demand for
our graduates. To be a Wits graduate is to be known as a top achiever.
To this end, teaching and learning should be guided by:
• integration of teaching and research to ensure the currency, liveliness
and challenge of the curricula.
PAGE 26 The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
• use of pedagogi cal pr act i ces t hat encour age l ear ni ng f i r ml y r oot ed i n
st r ong t heor y, and a di sposi t i on t owar d i ndependent and cr i t i cal
enqui r y.
• devel opment of ski l l s i n r esear ch, bot h as an i nvi t at i on t o post gr aduat e
st udi es and a r equi r ement f or pr of essi onal l i f e.
• i nt er nat i onal i sat i on of st udent s and st af f pr of i l es, and t he embeddi ng
of i nt er nat i onal per spect i ves i nt o t he cur r i cul um acr oss al l l ear ni ng
pr ogr ammes.
• st r at egi es t o enl ar ge t he pr opor t i on of st udent s who gr aduat e, and
do so wi t h excel l ence.
• del i ber at e exposur e of st udent s t o t he f ul l r ange of i nt el l ect ual
and soci al exper i ences t hat cont r i but e t o t he br eadt h and dept h of a
r esponsi bl e ci t i zen f i t f or a sust ai nabl e soci et y.
Access and performance: Wi t s wi l l i nst i t ut i onal i se r obust mechani sms
and r i gor ous st udent suppor t pr ogr ammes t o at t r act l ocal and i nt er nat i onal
st udent s wi t h a st r ong pot ent i al t o be i nt el l ect ual achi ever s. The uni ver si t y
r emai ns commi t t ed t o i mpr ovi ng st udent success and gr aduat i on r at es
si gni f i cant l y.
To achi eve these goal s, we wi l l:
• increase the intake of international students to 30% of total enrolments.
• ensure that selection and admission processes are fair and support
the attraction of highly talented students who stand to benefit from
an intellectually elite environment.
• implement strategies to attract more international students, especially
at a postgraduate level.
• improve efficiency across all undergraduate and postgraduate
programmes by improving student throughput rates.
• monitor targets for affirmative widening of participation while
celebrating the cosmopolitan nature of the University by vigorously
promoting diversity and internationalisation.
Student support: Wits will continue to put in place programmes and
mechanisms to make teaching and learning more conducive to success.
We will:
• make Wits a wireless campus and ensure that all Wits students have
laptops to maximise ubiquitous access to information and learning
material through wireless devices.
• monitor student performance and link this to student support
mechanisms which are consonant with our definition of
graduateness.
• ensure that administrative systems and processes are positioned
to provide effective and efficient services to students in person and
electronically.
• develop physical infrastructure that supports the total learning needs
of Wits students.
• monitor the performance of support staff and provide necessary
support and training to institutionalise the culture of service excellence
across the University.
• put in place support mechanisms and services that address the
particular needs of international students and staff.
An environment that attracts highly talented and
distinguished scholars
As Salmi
16
suggests, becoming an internationally leading university is not
achieved by self-declaration, but rather conferred by the outside world
on the basis of the university’s ability to attract and retain international
top scientists and distinguished scholars.
In pursuit of international excellence in teaching and learning, researcher
and other scholarly activities, Wits is positioning itself to become a preferred
African destination for high-level researchers and scholars. Embedded in
this vision is the University’s commitment to a talent management strategy
that identifies, nurtures and retains young researchers with the potential for
distinguished academic careers in a research-intensive university like Wits.
The University remains committed to
significantly improving student success
and graduation rates.
PAGE 27The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
To make i tsel f a magnet for tal ent Wi ts wi l l:
• i ncr ease t he pr opor t i on of i nt er nat i onal st af f t o 40% of t he t ot al st af f
compl ement.
• i nst i t ut i onal i se a t al ent management st r at egy whi ch i s suppor t ed by
pr of essi onal i sat i on of t eachi ng, enhancement of r esear ch pr oduct i vi t y
and pr of essi onal i sat i on of admi ni st r at i ve suppor t.
• cr eat e an i nst i t ut i onal envi r onment conduci ve f or cr i t i cal enqui r y,
debat e, l eadi ng- edge t eachi ng, r esear ch and soci al engagement f or al l
Wi t s r esear cher s and sci ent i st s.
• r ecr ui t a number of di st i ngui shed schol ar s t o gui de and suppor t t he
Uni ver si t y’ s hi gh- l evel r esear ch i ni t i at i ves.
• put i n pl ace r obust mechani sms t o i dent i f y, at t r act and r et ai n mor e
t al ent ed r esear cher s t o pr omot e t he Uni ver si t y r esear ch pr ogr ammes
and schol ar l y act i vi t i es.
• suppor t and nur t ur e t al ent by pr ovi di ng f i r st - cl ass capaci t y- bui l di ng
pr ogr ammes t o suppor t st af f per f or mance acr oss al l cat egor i es of t he
Wi t s wor kf or ce.
• maxi mi se i ndi vi dual st af f pot ent i al t hr ough ef f ect i ve per f or mance
management, r ewar d and r ecogni t i on, and separ at i on mechani sms.
Creati ng l asti ng i mpressi ons and good rel ati ons
Ther e i s a compel l i ng need t o pr omot e Wi t s nat i onal l y and i nt er nat i onal l y
by bui l di ng l ast i ng posi t i ve r el at i onshi ps wi t h al l t hose associ at ed wi t h
Wi t s, i ncl udi ng al umni, r esear ch and t eachi ng par t ner s, pr i vat e and
publ i c or gani sat i ons, counci l s and di st i ngui shed i ndi vi dual s who st and t o
benef i t f r om our schol ar l y act i vi t i es. Thi s wi l l be achi eved through co-
ordi nated marketi ng, publ i c rel ati ons, and communi cati on strategi es
and acti vi ti es that seek to:
• cont i nue t o expand t he accur acy and i ncl usi veness of t he al umni
dat abase, and t hus our capaci t y t o communi cat e r egul ar l y i n or der t o
st r engt hen good opi ni on and l oyal t y
• i nvest si gni f i cant l y and ef f ect i vel y i n i nt er nal mar ket s t o st r engt hen
i nst i t ut i onal sel f - conf i dence and col l egi al r el at i onshi ps at al l l evel s
• enhance t he Wi t s pr of i l e t hr ough nat i onal and i nt er nat i onal web-
based and pr i nt medi a, i ncl udi ng pr esence i n hi gh- l evel conf er ences
and st r at egi c event s
• ensur e t hat t he cor por at e i dent i t y of t he Uni ver si t y i s ef f ect i vel y used
wi t hi n and out si de t he Uni ver si t y t o enhance i t s i mage - ensur i ng
t hat al l i t s busi ness and r esear ch ent i t i es use ‘ Wi t s’ as par t of t hei r
of f i ci al busi ness i dent i t y
• i mpr ove Wi t s’ s par t i ci pat i on i n publ i c- engagement pr ogr ammes and
debat es t o deepen t he publ i c good i mage of t he Uni ver si t y
• communicate our achievements through internal and external media
• encourage the appropriate and explicit use of Wits brands across all
activities, including research publications
• increase the number of strategic high-profile events engaging external
Embedded in this vision is the University’s commitment to a
talent management strategy which identifies, nurtures and
retains young researchers with the potential for distinguished
academic careers in a research-intensive university like Wits.
PAGE 28 The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
audiences such as scientists, alumni, donors, individuals and organisa-
tions to promote the Wits profile and brand nationally and internationally
Research and Knowledge
Leadership
Our commitment to a vibrant and stimulating balance among the pure
sciences, applied sciences, social sciences and the liberal arts remains
unshakeable, and Wits will sustain the leadership position it currently
occupies in a number of these fields. Wits will continue to build on
our established track-record of multidisciplinary research groups and
thrusts. The University will, on a continuing basis, seek opportunities to
support and advance strong existing teaching and research areas, and
identify emergent areas, with a view to sustaining leading positions in
these niche fields of study. Our distinctive capabilities have contributed
to the global research and development agenda through leading-edge
scholarship and we have produced global citizens who are passionate
about intellectual and social engagement. We aim aggressively to build
on this reputation by intensifying our efforts to create an environment
conducive to elevating the standard and impact of research using the
prestigious institutes approach.
Strategic objectives
(a) Attract leading scholars (ISI highly cited/A-rated researchers) and
strategically deploy them across schools and research institutes.
(b) Have 10 prestigious research institutes established by 2022 as an
impetus for increased basic, cross-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary
research output.
(c) Significantly improve the research output in terms of quality, quantity
and impact while continuing to develop research capacity across
the university - producing basic and applied research of high quality
in abundance.
(d) Create an environment that promotes research excellence by
putting in place appropriate organisations, systems and resources,
and implementing the research infrastructure strategy.
(e) Intensify the postdoctoral programme by attracting high-level
postdoctoral fellows and increasing funding for this programme.
(f) Attract top-level postgraduate students from international markets
and provide world-class postgraduate education, ensuring that
research at Wits remains challenging, relevant and innovative.
(g) Increase the number of high-impact research networks and
Our distinctive capabilities have
contributed to the global research and
development agenda through leading-
edge scholarship and we have produced
global citizens who are passionate about
intellectual and social engagement.
PAGE 29The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
col l abor at i ons, put t i ng emphasi s on our ar eas of st r engt h and
maxi mi si ng Wi t s’ s gl obal pr esence.
( h) Pr ovi de l eadi ng- edge r esear ch management, benchmar ked agai nst
t op- 100 wor l d uni ver si t i es’ syst ems.
We note that the contempor ar y i mper ati ve i s for the ‘ sci ence of compl exi ty’,
or, in other words, our capacity to advance the fields of knowledge that
address the ‘wicked problems’ that confront society, or the leading edges of
science that we know will shape our shared futures. As always, all powerful
fields of applied or strategic research depend fundamentally on basic and
pure research conducted now and in the past. Our commitment to the
pure sciences remains unshakeable, and Wits will sustain the leadership
position it occupies currently in a number of these fields.
Wits will continue to build on our established track record of
multidisciplinary research groups and thrusts. The University will
continually seek opportunities to support and advance strong existing
areas, and identify emergent areas, with a view to sustaining leading
positions in these niche fields of study. We will call this strategy the
‘institutes approach’, where we will work with a limited number of
appropriately configured groups to optimise their capacity to attract the
resources, human and material, that make for excellence.
Examples of existing areas of strength that lend themselves to institutes,
and that are exceptionally well positioned to address challenges and
opportunities afforded by our position in Gauteng and Africa, include:
• Evolutionary Sciences: Wits already has unique, well-established
and world-leading assets and intellectual strengths in human
evolution, archaeology and palaeontology. We are strategically
located in a country that profiles itself as the ‘cradle of humankind’,
and we have evidence of Government’s intention to support this
work into the future. With two formal institutes already in place, we
are on the way to realising the vision.
• Institute for Molecular Biosciences: In the global context of the rising
importance of diseases of lifestyle, infectious diseases and
HIV/AIDS, Wits already has six research units, access to a genetically
unique population, eight hospitals, top-level international networks
and a centre of excellence in TB - all available to support this institute.
Already conceptualised, this project will soon embark on fundraising.
• Institute for Global Change: The issue of climate change has focused
unprecedented interest on matters of sustainability. Wits has several
research units and groups located across the University, and a
working group is currently developing a plan for Wits to be a leading
platform for Global Change Science. Four potential focus areas
are under consideration. These include: innovation for sustainability,
understanding the changing planet, reducing the human footprint
and changing the way we live.
• Institute for Mining, Minerals and Energy: Wits has strong and unique
intellectual resources that address various different dimensions of the
minerals and energy complex, including social, economic,
environmental and engineering priorities. We already have several
research units, unchallenged leadership in the field of mining
engineering, existing funding streams, two Research Chairs (the NRF
and the South African National Energy Research Institute [SANERI]).
The concept of the multidisciplinary institute has already been
accepted, and enjoys wide support in industry circles.
• Health, Population and Society: Wits enjoys wide international respect
for the work conducted in this area of study in various quarters of
the University. Our scientists collaborate with other top research
We aim aggressively to build on this
reputation by intensifying our efforts to create
an environment conducive to elevating the
standard and impact of research using the
prestigious institutes approach.
PAGE 30 The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
gr oups i nt er nat i onal l y and r ecei ve st r ong gr ant f undi ng. Our st r ong
f oot hol d i n bot h r ur al and ur ban envi r onment s pr ovi des t he Uni ver si t y
wi t h a uni que compet i t i ve advant age, and some of i t s most pr ol i f i c
r esear ch out put ar i ses f r om act i vi t i es i n t hi s f i el d.
• Institute for the Study of Cities: Wits is located in the most powerful
city-region on the continent. Gauteng functions as a financial gateway,
an economic hub and a population magnet - and as a consequence
distils all the characteristics, challenges and inequities of the developing
world. The University has very strong research and teaching capacity
in the field of urban studies, and other complementary specialisations
from all faculties combine into a compelling niche priority for Wits.
The above are examples of areas currently under discussion; other
candidates are likely to emerge. Each institute, although an integral part
of and embedded in the University, will in time demonstrate that it is
comparable to other esteemed institutes in the world, and an embedded,
respected member of the leading networks in the field. To this end, each
institute will develop business plans for its trajectories of development,
which will include funding and revenue streams, intellectual capital,
infrastructure and profiling strategies. The success of the institutes will
rely, among other things, on inspirational intellectual leadership and
strong institutional champions.
The quality, quantity and impact of our research output will be the
differentiating factors for our identity as a research-intensive university.
our output will be strengthened by placing emphasis on:
• developing and implementing strategies and organisational models
for research institutes
• developing appropriate research-management systems and
monitoring mechanisms
• improving the international visibility of our research
• building strategic research networks and collaborations nationally
and internationally
• building and improving the research infrastructure to support research
excellence
• launching co-ordinated capacity-building strategies and programmes
to improve research performance across the University
Innovation and Social Leadership
We believe that our capacity to alter the social and economic conditions of
the present and influence our chances for the future depends on our capacity
for innovation. Our ability to bring different forms of knowledge together
in order to do things differently requires a synthesis of academic fields, but
sometimes it requires also contributions from different actors in society.
The ‘science of complexity’ and ‘innovation’ is quintessentially cross-boundary,
and involves hybrid knowledges and knowledge-transfer projects. Wits
will provide high-level support for a selected number of local public-good
imperatives as part of its contribution to the national innovation system. It will
also promote public engagement, and support socio-economic development
through its top-quality research, teaching and critical debate.
Strategic objectives
(a) Embed knowledge transfer capacity within institutes, faculties
and schools, integrating this with teaching, research and engagement
activities at Wits.
(b) Deepen Wits’s institutional presence in Johannesburg and Gauteng
PAGE 31The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
f or t he r eci pr ocal benef i t of t he Uni ver si t y, i t s met r opol i t an envi r onment
and i t s associ at ed publ i c spher e.
( c) St r engt hen Wi t s’ s r ol e as a l eadi ng knowl edge pl at f or m f or soci al
engagement wi t h cont empor ar y i ssues.
The Uni ver si t y wi l l put i n pl ace syst ems and mechani sms t o encour age a
bal anced advancement of bot h commer ci al and publ i c- good i nnovat i on.
The ‘ i nst i t ut es’ st r at egy wi l l be one avenue t hr ough whi ch i nnovat i on i s
gener at ed and r oot ed i n soci al pr act i ces. To t hi s end, t he i nst i t ut es, as an
i nt egr al component of t he Uni ver si t y, wi l l expl or e mechani sms t o gr ow
f undi ng st r eams and suppor t syst ems f or r esear cher s t o concent r at e on
r esear ch, publ i shi ng and ot her f or ms of di ssemi nat i on, i nf usi ng i nt o and
connect i ng wi t h t he economy and soci et y.
The Uni versi ty wi l l:
• develop and implement knowledge partnerships and knowledge-
transfer strategies guided by contemporary and evolving intellectual-
property considerations
• implement strategies to be entrepreneurial with groundbreaking research
conducted in our institutes, faculties and schools
• develop strategies, systems and mechanisms to support revenue
generation without compromising the traditional academic culture of
knowledge sharing for public good and the independent enrichment of
science
• strengthen Wits Enterprise as a platform for generating revenue for
the University and to inculcate and promote the culture of academic
entrepreneurship
• launch outreach marketing arrangements to establish and maintain
networks and relationships with business, public organisations and
individuals in order to promote Wits’s knowledge-transfer activities and
groundbreaking research ‘products’
• develop strategies to take advantage of the location of Wits in
Johannesburg as a research-intensive university by continuing to engage
with the city, the province and national departments in knowledge-
transfer and evidence-based policy advice
Extensive networks and
Partnerships
Partnerships enable a combination of the distinctive aptitudes and
resources of multiple actors to be brought to bear on common projects for
shared purposes. Our capacity for innovation in a complex world depends
on the degree to which we can reach across boundaries to address goals
that ultimately are predicated on the public good. The success of our
academic projects and our financial sustainability is likely to come about
as a consequence of, among other things, resilient strategic partnerships.
The purpose is to grow a limited number of focused partnerships with local
and international collaborators, arising mostly from our research priorities
and our contextual opportunities. Among other purposes motivating the
selected number of such partnerships will be the intention to fulfil the
needs of our multidisciplinary research projects, our partnerships in Africa
and our city-region location.
PAGE 32 The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
Strategi c obj ecti ves
( a) Posi t i on Wi t s as a gat eway t o r esear ch and i nt el l ect ual achi evement
i n Af r i ca - a uni ver si t y t hat i s deepl y commi t t ed t o l ocal devel opment
by means of wor l d- cl ass r esear ch, t eachi ng and i nnovat i on.
( b) Est abl i sh l ong- t er m and act i ve r esear ch net wor ks and par t ner shi ps
wi t h t he wor l d’ s t op 100 uni ver si t i es t o pr ovi de ext ended oppor t uni t i es
f or i nt er nat i onal mobi l i t y of st af f and st udent s.
( c) Use bi l at er al and mul t i - hel i x par t ner shi ps t o suppor t soci al
engagement, knowl edge gener at i on and knowl edge t r ansf er t o
l ever age r esour ces nat i onal l y and i nt er nat i onal l y.
In order to advance our declared purposes - and often to give effect to them
- Wits collaborates in increasingly planned and systematic relationships with
other social partners, whether these are in the private sector, government
or civil society. Such partnerships enable the combination of the distinctive
aptitudes and resources of the partners to be brought to bear on common
projects for shared purposes. To this end, natural partners include other
universities, the various layers of government, parastatals, industry groupings,
the media and civil-society groupings. These relationships require sustained
investment over the longer term but promise considerable dividends for
both the partners and the wider society.
Wits is positioned to participate in economic growth and social-
development agendas, both here and elsewhere on the continent. It is
through extensive networks and partnerships (for example, through our
Pan-African University Partnerships strategy) that the University seeks
to pursue its international excellence in research and teaching, and in
student and staff recruitment. The purpose is to grow a limited number
of focused partnerships, including those with an international focus,
and make these resilient and optimally productive. To achieve these
aspirations, Wits will:
• establish formal and active benchmarking agreements with identified
benchmark institutions, including the Australian Group of Eight, the
Russell Group in the UK, and the Big 5 in South Africa, as articulated in the
Wits Benchmarking Framework
• establish international networks and collaborations with top-100 world
universities for each Wits research institute
• develop an institutional partnership strategy associated with key strategic
goals - the research institutes form one category of these
• broaden our African footprint by collaborating with good universities,
and partnering with business where appropriate, to contribute to
intellectual and human capital development in Africa
• establish strategic collaborations and networks that promote the role of
research-intensive universities in South Africa
• take advantage of Wits’s location in Johannesburg and Gauteng by
ensuring that Wits becomes an integral part of the Johannesburg and
Gauteng development agendas
PAGE 33The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
Excel l ence i n Governance,
Management and Support Servi ces
I t i s common knowl edge t hat t he sur vi val of wor l d- cl ass uni ver si t i es i s
det er mi ned by t hei r abi l i t y t o gener at e weal t h, al l ocat e r esour ces and
use busi ness syst ems t o suppor t t he academi c ent er pr i se. Schol ar shi p
and i nt el l ect ual l eader shi p ski l l s ar e no l onger t he sol e r equi r ement s
f or r unni ng hi gher educat i on i nst i t ut i ons, but ef f i ci ent management,
net wor ki ng and f undr ai si ng ar e equal l y i mpor t ant. Uni ver si t i es need t hei r
own ‘ busi ness model s’ t hat addr ess t he ver y speci f i c demands pl aced on
t hem by t he soci et y t hey ser ve. Wi t s wi l l posi t i on i t sel f wi t hi n t hi s r eal i t y
as a r esear ch- i nt ensi ve uni ver si t y suppor t ed by vi si onar y l eader shi p, and
sophi st i cat ed admi ni st r at i ve and wor l d- cl ass busi ness syst ems.
Strategi c obj ecti ves
( a) Put i n pl ace and devel op a wor l d- cl ass vi si onar y, pr agmat i c and
det er mi ned management t eam i n por t f ol i os l i nked t o al l st r at egi c
pr i or i t i es of t he Uni ver si t y.
( b) Pr ovi de wor l d- cl ass busi ness pr ocesses and i nf r ast r uct ur e t hat suppor t
t he academi c ser vi ces of t he uni ver si t y.
( c) Al i gn al l deci si ons and di st r i but i on of r esour ces t o t he st r at egi c goal s
of t he Uni ver si t y.
Wi t s wi l l cont i nue t o r evi ew busi ness i nf r ast r uct ur e and st af f per f or mance
t o suppor t excel l ence. The cul t ur e of good gover nance, admi ni st r at i on
and concomi t ant pr ot ocol s shoul d per meat e t he i nst i t ut i on, maki ng
deci si on- maki ng smoot her, easi er and mor e di st r i but ed. Thi s wi l l be
achi eved by:
• implementing and monitoring the recommendations of the Wits
2001 Review in order to bring about more efficiency and effectiveness
in administration
• institutionalising a robust performance management system by 2012
• designing, implementing and reviewing business processes that lead
to administrative efficiency
• continuing to monitor the organisational performance against the
strategic objectives, risk management and high-level performance
indicators
An IT Savvy University
Wits will position itself as an IT-savvy university that uses technology to
enhance all its core process, including providing new and innovative
ways of engaging students and staff in academic activities.
This includes making the University accessible through mobile technologies
irrespective of time and place. While remaining committed to the tutorial-
based approach to learning, teaching and learning processes will be
reinforced through the application of technology-enhanced pedagogy
to address some of the key challenges that we face as a predominantly
contact institution.
Wits researchers will be supported by technology to enable them to
carry out cutting-edge research as befits a research-intensive university
environment, including working in virtual interdisciplinary teams.
Research, teaching and learning will benefit from open-access approaches,
including institutional repositories, open educational resources and open
PAGE 34 The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
publ i cat i on, al l of whi ch use cr eat i ve commons l i censi ng, t oget her wi t h
t r adi t i onal copyr i ght - mai nt enance wher e appr opr i at e.
Admi ni st r at i ve suppor t f or our cor e academi c act i vi t i es wi l l t ake advant age
of t he l at est t echnol ogy and appr oaches, and al l I T i mpl ement at i ons
wi l l consi der peopl e, pr ocess and t echnol ogy t o ensur e success. Wher e
appr opr i at e, i nnovat i on wi l l be encour aged and suppor t ed i n our
appr oach t o t echnol ogy.
To accompl i sh thi s, Wi ts wi l l ensure that i t sustai ns the peopl e
necessary, i ncl udi ng:
• a core IT department with the necessary skills, attitudes
• an e-learning team that is responsible for the application of cutting-
edge technology and pedagogy to teaching-and-learning
• a business intelligence capacity that is able to turn data into
information that is available when and where it is needed
• a library system that makes available the latest resources appropriate
for a leading research-intensive university
• an IT capacity within faculties that articulates with central IT system to
ensure a coherent and responsive approach
• governance mechanisms that provide the right balance between
agility and stability
Wits will position itself as an
IT savvy university that uses
technology to enhance all its core
processes, including providing
new and innovative ways of
engaging students and staff in
academic activities.
PAGE 35The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
Strategi c obj ecti ves
( a) I mpr ove, devel op and mai nt ai n t he Wi t s I T i nf r ast r uct ur e t o f aci l i t at e
enhanced access t o i nf or mat i on, t eachi ng and l ear ni ng, r esear ch,
and engagement oppor t uni t i es i n a manner t hat pr omot es academi c
excel l ence appr opr i at e f or a l eadi ng r esear ch- i nt ensi ve uni ver si t y.
( b) Ensur e t hat st udent s possess comput i ng devi ces and ar e connect ed
t o Wi t s i r r espect i ve of t i me or pl ace, and ar e abl e t o use t hei r own and
pr ovi ded comput i ng devi ces as knowl edge access and cr eat i on t ool s
i n a connect ed way.
( c) Ensur e t hat academi cs ar e adept at usi ng I T t o enhance t hei r
t eachi ng, st udent engagement, r esear ch, super vi si on, admi ni st r at i on,
and engagement wi t h a br oader communi t y.
( d) Ensur e t hat suppor t st af f has access t o excel l ent admi ni st r at i ve
syst ems t hat enhance t hei r suppor t r ol e and hel p cont r i but e t o ser vi ce
excel l ence i n al l ar eas.
( e) Ensur e t hat Wi t s al umni enj oy a sust ai ned and val uabl e r el at i onshi p
wi t h t he Uni ver si t y t hr ough t he cr eat i ve pr ovi si on and use of I T.
( f ) Ensur e t hat a st r ong el ement of i nnovat i on under pi ns t he way i n
whi ch we choose, cr eat e and appl y I CT t o academi c and suppor t
act i vi t i es wi t hi n t he uni ver si t y.
( g) Remai n cogni zant of our posi t i on i n Af r i ca and act i vel y col l abor at e i n
i nnovat i on and appl i cat i on ar eas wi t h ot her i nst i t ut i ons i n Af r i ca and
t he wor l d.
(h) Create, sustain and enhance a leading-edge IT infrastructure, including
its network, telephony systems, back-office environment and end-
user systems.
(i) Place emphasis on strengthening IT infrastructure, technologies, and
approaches that enhance research, promote the visibility of research
output, and ensure that Wits researchers (both staff and students) are
connected to a global network of researchers and research output.
(j) Ensure that we sustain and enhance a library that provides the latest
electronic knowledge resources in support of teaching-and-learning
and research appropriate for a leading, research-intensive university.
(k) Provide continuous capacity-building, training and just-in-time
learning opportunities to improve student and staff capacity to exploit
technology to achieve excellence in their work.
(l) Expand IT platforms to include open-access methods, licenses and
approaches, along with more traditional full copyright where
appropriate, to enhance our reputation as a global university
participating actively in the knowledge commons.
(m) Ensure that the data and the information needed for the administration
and management of the institution will be available when and where
they are needed, and the underlying data will be accurate and well
governed.
Wealthy and Well-Resourced
Abundance of resources is often viewed as the second element
that characterises nearly all world-class universities - in terms of the
substantial costs involved in sustaining a complex, research-intensive
institution. It is commonly accepted that (with certain notable exceptions)
govern-mental funding of university systems around the world has been
dwindling over the past two decades. Further, the challenge of pursuing
global competitiveness from an African context is rendered more
demanding by the reality of inadequate financial resources.
PAGE 36 The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
To opti mi se the generati on of i ncome and ensure fi nanci al
sustai nabi l i ty we wi l l:
• Take advantage of the Wits Group’s ability to leverage our
constellation of organisational forms that have evolved to enable
us to exploit the increasingly complex and fluid environment of
contemporary higher education.
• Continue to implement and review the University Financial Turnaround
Strategy.
• Optimise income through government subsidy by ensuring maximum
efficiency in teaching and research.
• Maximise the generation of income through knowledge transfer and
social engagement arrangements, including exploring the benefits of
intellectual property.
• Intensify the capital projects campaign to secure resources for Wits’
main capital projects through government grants, philanthropy, and
alumni and private business donations.
• Improve the financial sustainability of Wits by achieving savings in
appropriate areas; and
• Refine and use the Strategic Resource Allocation Model to
distribute funds and strategically monitor the impact on organisational
performance.
Abundance of resources is the second element that
characterises most world-class universities, in response
to the huge costs involved in running a complex,
research-intensive university.
17
Wits will therefore need to put in place mechanisms and programmes
designed to generate the means necessary to ensure its long-term
financial sustainability as an institution, as well as the proper resourcing of
its scholarly and business activities.
Strategic objectives
(a) Optimise generation of income through teaching, research, contract
research, fees, donations and endowment.
(b) Ensure long-term financial sustainability in the context of dwindling
state funding.
(c) Review the University’s financial tools, including the cost-recovery
policy and intellectual property strategy, to ensure that they are
consonant with international best practice.
PAGE 37The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
PAGE 38 The Pur pose of a St r at egi c Fr amewor k
FOR MORE I NFORMATI ON CONTACT:
The Di rector of Strategi c Pl anni ng
The Strategi c Pl anni ng Di vi si on
Uni versi ty of the Wi twatersrand
4th Fl oor, Senate house
Tel: +27 ( 0) 11 717 1161/2
Emai l: nhl anhl a.cel e@wi ts.ac.za or i nfo.spd@wi ts.ac.za
Websi te: http://web.wi ts.ac.za/AboutWi ts/Strategi cPl anni ngDi vi si on