(Published - 6 February 2019)
The Annual General Staff Orientation of 2019 served as a high-level on-boarding session, where all new staff members had the opportunity to be introduced to the University of the Western Cape’s various portfolios. An orientation programme at UWC serves as the foundation journey for recently appointed employees to gain insights into the institution’s practices, processes and culture, and to better integrate them and offer an opportunity for networking with one another.
The duration of the Orientation programme was three days, and consisted of short presentations from the Executive’s strategic portfolios, as well as the Academic & Professional Support portfolios. The programme was hosted by the Human Resources Department, in collaboration with various support departments at UWC.
85 new employees gathered at the School of Public Health, where they began their on-boarding experience at UWC. They comprised an even balance of Academic & Professional support staff members. Even the new Executive Director of Human Resources, Mr Meko Ernest Magida - who took up this position in September 2018 - attended most of the sessions, participated and listened attentively to the ensemble of speakers.
As Acting Rector for January 2019, Professor Pamela Dube, who is our Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC): Student Development and Support, officially welcomed the group to the University. She assured them that they had made the best decision in joining the UWC family and highlighted some of the University’s achievements, pointing out that UWC is one of the top 200 emerging economies universities in the world. “UWC has, since it was founded in the 1960s, come a long way from its roots when it was declared a university college for coloured students,” said Professor Dube. “Over the decades, it played various roles – from an institution of higher learning to being an integral part of the fight against apartheid and the rebuilding of our country.”
The DVC: Research & Innovation, Professor Jose Frantz, also highlighted UWC’s achievements related to research output & quality and specified that at the University, “We want Research which aims to advance the expertise and competence of academic disciplines, which is problem-focused and addresses issues of social, technical and policy relevance & ultimately can transfer information from the Laboratory to the real world”.
Over the course of the three days, more than 25 presentations were delivered to staff who gained insight into how the University operates to serve more than 20 000 students from seven faculties. They learnt about the rich history of the University, and were informed about special services offered at the Institution as well as its future plans for campus infrastructure projects. UWC’s Centre for Innovative, Education & Communication Technologies (CIECT) also highlighted the importance of digitisation & our preparedness for the 4th Industrial revolution.
A tour of the main campus was also arranged in collaboration with Institutional Advancement. Those who attended were shocked to discover that the University was home to the coloured affairs parliament which was established by the apartheid government. The chambers were left untouched when the parliament was dissolved. A mural depicting the limited vocations for coloureds also remains today.
Professor Dube said that while the University is steeped in history and embellished with achievements, there are challenges. As many UWC students are the first in their families to study at an institution of higher learning, they often struggle to adapt when they enter its gates. She said: “I know first-hand the many challenges our young people have to overcome in order to achieve academic success. But I firmly believe that together, both students and staff, we will be able to achieve even greater heights. Each one of you who has joined UWC has a role to play in this.
All presenters warmly welcomed the new staff to the Institution, and echoed the same sentiments that they made the right choice by becoming “Proudly UDubs”.
Watch staff’s reaction at the end of orientation: