On 20 and 21 June 2024, the University of Venda (UNIVEN) held the Mid-Term Strategic Plan Review Work-shop under the theme, ‘2021-2025 Strategic Plan Implementation Review – is the glass half-empty or half-full?’ The purpose of this Mid-Term Strategic Plan Review Session was to assess progress made towards attaining the strategic objectives set out in the University’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan and to propose im-provement interventions. This session took place at Warmbaths Forever Resort, Belabela.


Attendees of the 2024 Mid-Term Strategic Plan Review Workshop

During this workshop, the University’s Executive and Senior Management Committee members highlighted institutional achievements and measures to address the identified shortcomings towards the strategic plan objectives; to understand individual divisions strategic interventions towards achievements of the strategic plan, challenges and mitigating factors; to identify risk issues and challenges affecting effective and efficient implementation of the strategic plan and to develop an institutional performance and improvement plan.

In his opening and scene setting, Prof Bernard Nthambeleni gave a high-level strategic plan achievements and highlighted trajectory for new strategic path (New strategy development 2026-2030). Prof Nthambeleni further spoke about the role of leadership as a significant part in shaping the dynamics of an institution and performance. In his presentation, he touched on matters relating to the alignment of strategic objectives that the university wants to achieve. “We need to understand our roles and lead other staff members with a positive direction. We also need to ensure that the university performs accordingly.”

He continued to express that all staff members need to understand the 2021-2025 strategic plan before we implement the 2026-2030 Strategic Plan. “We also need to look back to check whether we have achieved what we said we will achieve or not. This workshop’s expectation was to provide a presentation that high-lights the institutional achievements to date and mechanisms to address the identified shortcomings to-wards the attainment of the university wide strategic objectives.” When talking about working towards the 2026-2030 Strategy Development, Prof Nthambeleni said that the external review panel recommended the retention of the 4 Strategic Thrusts that are contained in the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan.

As he was concluding, Prof Nthambeleni mentioned that it is key to prioritise measures to address the identified shortcomings towards the attainment of the University wide strategic objectives. “We need to accelerate the implementation of identified practical solutions.” Director Strategy and Risk, Dr Mutshinyalo Ratombo gave a high level 3-year institutional performance on the implementation of strategic plan 2021-2025 and 2023 Annual Performance Report (APR). He gave highlights on the 2023 APR indicators selected for auditing, emerging issues and recommendations while touching on issues related to 2020-2023 Combined Emerging Audit Issues (Internally and Externally); 2020- 2023 Combined Emerging Audit Issues (Internal Artificial Intelligence); UNIVEN rankings in the past 4 years; Engaged Scholarship and Community Engagement Projects; Selected Entrepreneurial University Initiatives and Selected Outstanding Partnerships. Dr Ratombo concluded his presentation by giving an update on the new Strategic Plan 2026-2030. Risk Officer, Mr Tinyiko Sibiya gave an update on Strategic Risk Register and progress of its implementation.

DVC Teaching and Learning, Prof Lekalakala-Mokgele delivered a presentation about the overview of teach-ing and learning performance 2021-2023 including improvement interventions. In her presentation, Prof Lekalakala-Mokgele spoke about interventions to improve students’ success and throughput rates in con-text of the 3rd year strategic plan implementation; strategies to address identified students at risk; state of the programme reviews and interventions to deal with registration in Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (HEQSF) non-aligned programmes; Measures to address students-staff ratio and update on the implementation of divisional risk register.

DVC Research and Postgraduate Studies, Prof Nosisi Feza talked about the review of Research output and improvement strategies; Academics with PhD vs publication units’ challenges and mitigating factors; im-plementation of commercialisation strategy; Filing and registration of patents; strategies to improve inter-national student recruitment; interventions to increase NRF rated researchers; interventions to increase self-funded Research professors, community engagement strategy and update on the implementation of divisional Risk Register.

Director IPQA, Dr Patience Mativandlela further highlighted the overview of Corporate Services Perfor-mance from 2021 to 2023 academic year, including improvements interventions. In her presentation, Dr Mativandlela spoke about contribution towards the realisation of core business objectives of the University (intervention strategies for advancing the corporate service initiatives focusing on core business); interven-tions strategies for advancing institutional transformation; interventions strategies to address shortcomings on lecture halls and student spaces; strategies to improve student recruitment in the context of UIEIBP (Agriculture). She concluded by giving an update on the implementation of divisional risk register.

University Registrar, Adv Joel Baloyi’s presentation was on the Academic / student administration process (es) improvement (outcome of Lekgotla); intervention strategies to address prolonged student residency period (academic non-performing students); intervention strategies to accelerate the implementation of business intelligence; and mechanisms to improve institutional governance and compliance.
Director ICT, Mr Sam Khoza shared the ICT contributions to the implementation of Artificial Intelligence and current trends of ChatGPT dynamics to support the core business in the delivery of their mandate while Dr Phillia Vukea presented about DHET Funding Framework (2003) which included Block Grants and Ear-marked Grants.

DVC Corporate Services, Dr Robert Martin gave the conceptualisation of the long-term plan of the university to inform the 2021-2030 Strategic Plan while Dr Sannah Mativandlela underscored the Strategic issues to-wards the development of the Annual Performance Plan 2025 (emanating from the outcome of review and external audit). When closing the workshop, Prof Bernard Nthambeleni thanked EMC and SMC for the richness of the con-tributions made towards this planning session which is instrumental in the decision making. He said there were innovative ways on how senior managers were engaging with the current strategic plan which shows that the future of this University looks bright. Prof Nthambeleni expressed that he is pleased to see owner-ship in spaces that they need to take control of. “We need to also hold each other accountable. We need to move as a team. There is value in what we have achieved during these two planning days.” He appreciated his office for making sure that all the arrangements unfolded as planned.

Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication University of Venda
Cell: 082 868 2218 or 082 868 1811

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