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28 May 2020
Revised 2020 Academic Calendar and Return to Campus

(Published - 28 May 2020)

Dear campus community

Senate met today and adopted resolutions on assessments, the revised 2020 Academic Calendar as well as the academic phased-in return plan to campus. All these are in line with the recommendations from the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology.

With regards to assessments, Senate noted the UWC Guiding Principles for Assessment during COVID-19, which were previously communicated with the campus community. Senate approved the amendments to the assessment schedules of modules. Lecturers will notify students about these changes as these relates to their modules. Senate also noted the 5 Top Tips for Inclusive Online Teaching or #UWCDataLyteTeaching.

Senate adopted the following Revised 2020 Academic Calendar:

In addition, Senate approved the Principles for Flexible Adoption of the Academic Calendar, to make provision for a few exceptions in the Faculties of Arts, Law, Community and Health Sciences and Economic and Management Sciences. These faculties will communicate with students directly in this regard.

Furthermore, Senate noted two Senate Academic Planning Task Teams. The first team will identify inactive students and their resources. The second task team will plan for the provision of print material for inactive students.

To date, approximately 11000 students received data bundles from the university, which enabled a higher level of activity in faculties. Gratefully this includes the provision of data to 880 undergraduate tutors. Furthermore, 2000 devices have been couriered to students.

The #NoStudentWillBeLeftBehind fundraising campaign is progressing well. The university executive re-prioritised approximately R9,5-million towards this campaign. I am also pleased to announce that ABSA donated R1-million towards the campaign. Finally, the UWC Foundation Board of Trustees increased their contribution to R7,5-million. On behalf of the University and its students, I thank ABSA and the UWC Foundation for their generous donations. We continue to pursue alumni and international donor agencies for contributions to our campaign.

UWC’s academic phased-in return to campus will commence – as depicted in this diagram – with a maximum of 30% of its students and staff returning to campus two weeks after the start of Level 3 of lockdown (1 June 2020), but only according to specific criteria. For students, the criteria are:

  • Vulnerable students;
  • Final-year laboratory-based students; and,
  • Clinical students.

Remote learning and operations will continue. An integrated plan dealing with the phased-in return of specific staff, residences and the safety and security issues pertaining thereto, will be communicated early next week to allow for consultation with the union and other stakeholders.

I salute all the Deans, HODs, academics and support staff who worked so tirelessly, especially on changes to assessment schedules and the revised Academic Calendar. I am mindful of staff fatigue and an increasing workload and will be working with the Deans to see how we can alleviate this.

We live in uncertain times, and agile leadership is necessary. Thank you for your understanding that we sometimes make decisions that may need to change depending on the trajectory of COVID-19. As always, I urge you to stay safe, to practice all the safety precautions communicated earlier and to take responsibility for your health and wellness.

I wish you well as we traverse these uncertain terrains.

Professor Vivienne Lawack
Acting Rector and Vice-Chancellor