SU wants to become Africa’s leading research-intensive university

Stellenbosch University rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Wim de Villiers.

Stellenbosch University (SU) has a new vision, positioning the institution to become “Africa’s leading research-intensive university, globally recognised as excellent, inclusive and innovative, where knowledge is advanced in service of society”.

It forms part of a new strategic framework, which was approved by the University’s council on Monday June 18, just before the mid-year recess. With classes resuming on Monday July 23, it was launched at a staff assembly on Tuesday July 24.

The new guiding document replaces the University’s existing Institutional Intent and Strategy 2013-2018, which expires this year.

“The constant change in higher education requires a suitable response from those involved in a university at a specific time in history. This is especially true for SU as it enters its second century. Management was mandated to develop a new roadmap for the future, and we are satisfied that the resulting vision and strategic framework will serve the institution well,” council chair George Steyn said.

To achieve its new vision SU will pursue six core strategic themes from 2019 to 2024: delivering a transformative student experience; embarking on networked and collaborative teaching and learning; conducting research for impact; engaging in purposeful partnerships and inclusive networks; becoming an employer of choice in the higher education sector; and, and making SU a thriving organisation overall.

“I am proud to lead SU in the year of its centenary. I am also very proud of our capable and committed staff and students. Together, as responsible stewards, we want to add to SU’s legacy for future generations and leave behind an even better institution. We are all part of something bigger. Our new vision and strategic framework take us forward together,” SU rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Wim de Villiers said.

SU’s new vision and strategic framework were developed against the backdrop of South Africa’s National Development Plan, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The University aims to meet the needs of Africa’s growing population – not only through contact learning, but also learning on digital platforms. The focus will be on the competencies and skills needed to equip students for the future.

The new framework has been two years in the making and followed an inclusive drafting process led by Professor Hester Klopper, deputy vice-chancellor: strategy and internationalisation.

Five task teams investigated different aspects, staff and students were consulted on SU’s values, and the Institutional Forum and Senate provided input and finally recommended the document to Council.

“The vision and framework are unapologetically bold, voicing SU’s aspiration to become Africa’s leading research-intensive university that enjoys global recognition. We are confident that the documents maximise our strengths, while also allowing us space to grow,” Professor Klopper said.