Dr Isaac Machi is confident that he has acquired sufficient experience and expertise, which will assist him to make a meaningful contribution as the new Deputy Vice-Chancellor for People and Operations at the Durban University of Technology.
Dr Machi is a reputable executive and has acquired extensive experience within the higher education sector. Some of his previous positions include Executive Director for Richards Bay Campus at the University of Zululand, Executive Director for Academic Affairs at the National Institute for Higher Education in Mpumalanga, the Group Head of iThemba Laboratories in Gauteng, and Senior Lecturer and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of South Africa.
Born in KwaMachi, a village located in KwaZulu-Natal’s south coast, Dr Machi holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Experimental Solid-State Physics, which he obtained at the age of 28.
He joined DUT in January 2018. He (Dr Machi) highlighted that one of his key focus areas is to ensure that DUT remains a sustainable University, and he believes that it is important to introduce systems and policies that will safeguard the sustainability of the University.
Furthermore, he added that the current landscape within the higher education sector poses a serious challenge in terms of sustainability, and government grants alone are not sufficient to support the optimal operations of the University.
“We need to benchmark DUT against other international or even national universities, in terms of their best practices when it comes to sustainability. For example, in Japan most universities have University Enterprises or University Estates, which are University owned companies that focus mainly on generating profit for universities as a third stream of income. This has proven to be a successful model internationally,” said Dr Machi.
Dr Machi added that the University Enterprise can also assist DUT to insource some of the services that can be provided by the University Enterprise, which will also act as a cost-cutting measure for the University.
As part of advocating for a sustainable University in line with the current strategic plan of DUT, Dr Machi believes that DUT should be a self-sustainable University by ensuring that all academic programmes are profitable and that they are not a liability. “I think we should come up with a performance management system with key deliverables for each programme and department. This process should be driven by Deans and Heads of Departments with assistance from Human Resources,” said Dr Machi.
Dr Machi highlighted other pivotal issues that he wants tackle, which includes curbing wasteful expenditure through strengthening procurement processes, streamlining staff recruitment with employment equity and to improve revenue generation for the University.
Dr Machi said DUT employees should always know that they are a critical stakeholder within the DUT community, and that their contribution is focal to the execution of the University’s mandate, which is to develop much needed skills base for our country.
He also encouraged DUT staff to work together with management towards making DUT a relevant, responsive and resilient University. “DUT employees should continuously engage with the Human Resources Department to offer input on how the University can assist them to develop because they are an important stakeholder to the growth of the University,” said Dr Machi.
Pictured: Dr Isaac Machi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for People and Operations at the Durban University of Technology.