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On Monday, 20 September 2021, the Organisational Development and Training Unit under Human Resources Department of the University of Venda (UNIVEN) held an academic and support staff induction programme. This staff induction programme took place on Microsoft Teams and was attended by new staff members including the Executive Deans of Faculties of Management, Commerce and Law; Science, Engineering and Agriculture; Humanities, Social Sciences and Education; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Post Graduate Studies and Directors from various directorates of the University. This programme was facilitated by Mr Esrom Phungo. 

Vice-Chancellor, and Principal Dr Bernard Nthambeleni

In his address when welcoming new staff members, the Vice-Chancellor, and Principal Dr Bernard Nthambeleni highlighted that, induction of newly appointed staff members is important because it helps to acclimatise new staff members to new environment. When giving the background and context of the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, Dr Nthambeleni said UNIVEN strives to be an institution that has impact and influence, which is productive, efficient and effective as an institution of higher learning. He went further explaining the UNIVEN operating model where he advised staff members to put this model at the centre as a guide towards achieving the University’s objectives. “This model places faculties at the centre, so all staff members have equal responsibilities of supporting these academic faculties.” 

“As a University, we should by all means avoid appearing in the news for wrong reasons. Let us value our University by showing our existence and visibility through research and infrastructure development.” Dr Nthambeleni advised attendees to always strive to save and maintaining the University’s infrastructure and this goes to staff and students. “UNIVEN is not a University for a region but a University of our country, continent and for the whole world.” He welcomed new staff members and told them to contribute towards the University’s exciting journey. 

DVC Teaching and Learning, Prof Jan Crafford said the purpose of his presentation was to give direction about the academic sphere’s new vision and mission. He said UNIVEN strives to lead in engaged scholarship. Prof Crafford told new staff members that they have joined the University at the time of unprecedented changes. He said UNIVEN has the new 2021-2025 Strategic Plan; new academic structure; new executive structure; new operating model; new models of teaching, learning and assessment; and Entrepreneurial Culture. 

“New teaching and learning model under 2021-2025 strategic plan demand student centricity, student support, student success and student graduating on time (entrepreneurial thinking, intercultural competency, competitive). COVID-19 pandemic has changed teaching and learning forever. Student support remains very important, especially at entry level. We need to be careful in terms of how we allocate financial resources.” 

He told attendees that Universities are ranked according to research output, and UNIVEN has five research niche areas being African Heritage, Earth Systems and the Environment, Sustainable Engaged scholarship and students should be active participants if we are serious about being an engaged scholarship institution. “However, UNIVEN has immensely contributed to the uplifting the local communities,” he concluded. 

Head: HR Planning, Staffing, Remuneration and Benefits, Mr Victor Sigama presented about the Human Resource Benefits and Processes. He spoke about recruitment support, benefits and administration. Mr Sigama said the purpose of employee benefits are to attract and retain staff members, increase economic security of staff and branding by making UNIVEN an employer of choice. Amongst other things Mr Sigama spoke about Membership to the University provident fund and administration processes, medical aid schemes, withdrawal benefits, bonus provision, leave, remission of tuition and boarding fees and long service awards. 

Head of Organisational Development and Training, Mr Esrom Phungo presented about the performance management at UNIVEN. In his presentation, Mr Phungo said it is the responsibility of all staff members to make sure that what they do on daily basis is in line with what the University strives to achieve. He said his section deals with Work Integrated Learning, learnerships and internships. “We also deal with NGAP programme, making sure that we work closely with DVC Teaching and Learning to ensure that the NGAP Lecturers complete their qualifications on time.” Amongst other things, the Organisational Development and Training office is responsible for organisational performance management system. Mr Phungo said the performance management system is important because the University uses it to measure the rate of success and failure in achieving the University’s strategic objectives. 

Andre Viljoen from Careways presented on the Employee Wellness Programme. Mr Viljoen spoke about confidential, individual support; Short term solution-focused and personal work-related problems while Advocate Rudzani Makhema presented about Employee Relations Processes and Procedures including code of conduct. 

Ms Annah Matodzi, Head: Reference Services presented Library Services and Procedures. She said services offered at the library includes professional services, information consulting, expert searches, information retrieval, research support such as using software like Turnitin. “Library offers database training and acquisitions of books at request,” She concluded. 

Ms Maggie Hlungwane from Campus Clinic representing Head of Campus Health, Ms Faith Mashau presented on Campus Health Services and Procedures while Ms Tshilidzi Shirinda, Media and Sound Broadcasting Officer representing the Director Marketing, Branding and Communication, Dr Takalani Dzaga, presented about Marketing, Branding and Communication’ Services and Procedures. Ms Shirinda mentioned the importance of adhering to the University Corporate Identity manual for the enhancement of UNIVEN brand. 

Mr Tinyiko Sibiya, Risk Officer in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal presented about awareness and management of risks at UNIVEN. Mr Sibiya presented internal audit and risk management structure, the risk assessment and enterprise risk 

management process. Mr Sibiya presented the types of risks that all staff members should be aware of. He concluded his presentation by informing the attendees about the availability of Fraud and Whistleblowing toll free numbers which is 0800 212 755. He said staff and students or anyone can also send an email on anonymity to univenhotline@tip-offs.com. 

Finance services and procedures were presented by Ms Tshilidzi Ramulondi, Manager Income. Ms Ramulondi made a presentation about important services offered by Finance including requisitions, application for transfer of funds, application for use of university transport, application for travelling, subsistence and incidental claims (S&T), general claim form and application for petty cash. 

Mr Botwe Kraziya, the University CFO made a short presentation on Finance, where he highlighted the University’s reliance on government funding through the block grant and NSFAS funding. Mr Kraziya mentioned the problem of student debt as a concern because it contributes to the University’s financial wellbeing. He stated that “these students need our help to fund their studies and the University need to find ways to assist them to fund their studies.” He added: “We are changing the way we interact with staff and students to ensure that there is a smooth running of the University”. Mr Kraziya said the University is in the process of appointing a few key staff members in Finance who will assist in the running of the University. The CFO welcomed the attendees to the University and wished them well in their careers. 

Mr Azwifaneli Mudzwari from UNIVEN Supply Chain Management unit of Finance Department presented on the supply chain management processes and procurement processes of the University. He also presented about procurement, assets, stores and transport units/sections. 

The induction programme was concluded by Mr Maanda Nemaxwi from Protection Services Department who presented about Protection Services and Procedures. He said the Protection Services Department strives to protect students, staff members and the property of the University. 

Issued by: 

Department of Marketing, Branding & Communication 

University of Venda 

Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710 
Date: 27 September 2021 

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