The Durban University of Technology Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu, delivered the 2023 State of the University Address (SOUA) at the Indumiso campus in Pietermaritzburg on Friday, 10 March 2023. This prestigious event was also also broadcast live online, on the DUT YouTube channel: DUTCampusTv and on the DUT Facebook page: Durban University of Technology.
This was the first physical State of the University Address since the COVID-19 global pandemic and subsequent lockdown. It attracted a large crowd of over 300 distinguished guests consisting of the DUT Council, DUT Executive and Senior Management teams, members of the DUT Convocation, staff and students, Student Representative Council (SRC) and external stakeholders from government, business, broader society and media.
The Programme Director was Mr Alan Khan, Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at DUT, who expressed the university’s excitement and joy in hosting this highly anticipated event, which was last held in February 2020.
In his welcome address, the DUT Midlands Campus Director, Dr Joe Molete, pointed out that DUT was honoured by the presence of so many esteemed guests who had graced the event, especially since it was held on a Friday afternoon. The DUT community based in the Midlands, was pleased that the event was held on one of their campuses and this gave them a chance to showcase all of the great work in their area and how they plan to be Creative. Distinctive. Impactful at DUT.
In his speech, Professor Mthembu began by explaining that the State of the University Address does three simple things starting with looking back, reflecting on how DUT people performed against ENVISION2030’s Strategic Plan in 2022. Secondly, SOUA looks forward, providing a peak into DUT’s Extended Annual Performance Plan (EAPP) 2023, which was approved by Council on 26 November 2022. Thirdly, SOUA takes DUT from doing the right things that ENVISION2030 incorporates, into doing things right based on their plans. Professor Mthembu highlighted that SOUA was a public demonstration of the university’s values and principles, including transparency, honesty, integrity, accountability, professionalism, commitment and excellence.
According to Prof Mthembu, the period between 2021 and 2023 focused on a Different DUT, based on the university’s Strategic Plan, ENVISION2030. He indicated that everyone in attendance could confirm that DUT was indeed becoming Different. In 2024 to 2026, Professor Mthembu revealed that DUT will be in the Upended period then later, embark on a Transformed period, during the last three years between 2027 to 2030. He hopes that during the Transformed period, the University will have ample evidence of its contributions towards transforming its society and economies.
Giving insight into the establishment of ENVISION2030, Professor Mthembu reiterated that DUT was dissatisfied with just being good but had an appetite for being great. He unpacked the four perspectives of ENVISION2030 namely, Stewardship, Systems and Processes, Sustainability and Society, zooming in on their objectives and their impact on the DUT community and in society at large.
Professor Mthembu also referred to DUT as being the leading University of Technology in South Africa, however, he cautioned the DUT community that it takes character to remain on top. Furthermore, he added that DUT’s biggest challenge is remaining on top and how to sustain the greatness “whenever we (DUT) reach it.”
He commended the 2022/23 SRC for ensuring that the start of the 2023 academic year was different from other years, resulting in other universities, not DUT, being protest capitals of higher education. Professor Mthembu applauded the SRC, saying DUT was proud to have student leaders in 2023 that lead from front and who are not pushed from behind. His gratitude was also directed to the DUT Council, Management, the university stakeholders in academia and in support services, for making DUT Different.
Delivering the vote of thanks was DUT’s Professor Keolebogile Motaung, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement who thanked Prof Mthembu for the thought provoking SOUA. She also extended her gratitude to the DUT Community, as well as stakeholders for making this event a huge success.
Pictured: Professor Thandwa Mthembu, DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal.
Photographer: Khulasande Tshayile.