On 12-13 July 2022, the University of Venda conducted a virtual induction workshop for new staff members. This induction for new staff is a professional development initiative. It is a process aimed at assisting new University staff members to become familiar with the culture, structure of the University of Venda and to ascertain their role of enhancing and advancing learning and teaching; to advance an understanding of policies and practices and acquire an understanding of how the University of Venda operates. It is also aimed at assisting new staff members become accustomed and agile to their new working environment for them to perform their work effectively and gain confidence in their new role as University staff members.
Director Human Resources, Mrs Uanda Ndou opened and welcomed attendees to the induction. She talked about the importance of understanding how one’s performance links to the team and divisional annual operational plan , she said “all these should link to the strategic plan.” She said UNIVEN has invested time, energy and resources in the performance management processes and system. “One of the key things in your first four weeks is to have a performance contract” she said all these to the new staff members. Mrs Ndou emphasised that UNIVEN strives for high performance culture.
Mrs Ndou mentioned that the University HR is in transitioning from being a transitional to a strategic business partner. She said, “We are currently automating a lot of processes so that we can focus on supporting you as our client.”
The Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni formally welcomed the new staff members. He said, “In my view you have chosen a very good University that is on the motion to change the lives of people in our province, region, country and the world.” He gave an address on Strategic Plan 2025, Operational Model and Macro Structure. In his address he said UNIVEN is an autonomous institution and funded through the National Department of Higher Education and Training. He said “The University complies with several laws and regulations governing institutions of higher learning.
Dr Nthambeleni further elaborated on the UNIVEN strategic direction in which the University Strategy is aligned to and seeks to contribute towards collective implementation of the national development agenda as outlined in the National Development Plan (Vision 2030). He encouraged new staff members to read the National Development Plan. “It is a very resourceful document for you to understand where the country is and seeks to be in the year 2030 as it is our role as a public institution to contribute to that particular agenda to make sure that the lives of South Africans are made better.”
He mentioned that the University Strategic Plan 2025 provides a paradigm shift in teaching, learning and research. “It ushers us into a new era characterised by vast opportunities for students and staff to develop entrepreneurial knowledge skills and thereby contributing to the local and regional economic development agenda.”
Dr Nthambeleni gave a background and context of the Strategic Plan 2025. He said the University’s positioning statement is to make sure UNIVEN has impact and influence, that it is productive, efficient, and effective as an institution of higher learning. “Turn our rural context into a competitive advantage”, he stated.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning, Professor Jan Crafford engaged with the new staff members primarily on the teaching and learning aspect. He mentioned that UNIVEN’s Vision is to be A University leading in engaged scholarship and the mission of the University of Venda through engaged scholarship, is to produce graduates that are locally relevant and internationally competitive. He mentioned that the new staff joins UNIVEN at a time of unprecedented change in the new Strategic Plan 2021 – 2025, New Academic Structure, New Executive Structure, New Operating Model, Covid 19 Pandemic: new modes of teaching, learning and assessment and Entrepreneurial culture. Prof Crafford mentioned the University’s Teaching and Learning Division since 2021 comprises of Four Faculties, the Centre for Higher Education Teaching and Learning and the Directorate Library Services. “All units are engaged in the ARISE value chain”, he said.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Postgraduate Studies, Prof Nosisi Feza was glad to welcome the new staff members “You have chosen us as your working space for career development, we expect you to make contributions towards what we are about.”
Her presentation focused on the strategy in the research and postgraduate studies. She said “As UNIVEN we have a very ambitious strategy, it was developed according to previous experiences for more than 30 years as we are celebrating 40 years anniversary this year.” Prof Feza mentioned that through community engagement UNIVEN is dealing with issues faced by community members and are working with them to provide an understanding in a mutual setting to find solutions through research. She said, “We decided as this University to be leading in engaged scholarship.”
Prof Feza was happy that some of the new members are joining the research fraternity which means their research must be community based and assist UNIVEN in solving societal problems. “We pride ourselves in being locally relevant and globally competitive to have impact and relevance.” She further said that the new staff members have made a great decision by joining UNIVEN, “You are joining a space of vibrant scholars that are doing impactful research and you will enjoy it.”
Head of Human Resource Operations, Mr Victor Sigama presented about Human Resource Practices and Business Processes. He encouraged the new staff members to strive for graduates that are locally relevant and globally competitive. He also urged them to align themselves with the University strategic plan. “From the vision to the mission, we as a support department are supporting the strategic plan.” Mr Sigama said the HR Department manages the organisational structure to make sure the core business is well equipped and has resource. “it’s a structure that supports the strategies within the faculties”
Mr Esrom Phungo, Head of Human Resources’ Organisational Development and Training, said the organisational development covers organisational effectiveness, organisational design, and work study investigation also internship and experiential programme. Mr Phungo said his Section is the custodian of the policy on learning and development which is about continuous development of the employees. The section is also the custodian of the performance management systems.
He further indicated that the Human Resources Organisational Development and Training deals with induction of staff, orientations, and succession planning. His presentation was about Performance Management which is linked to University Strategy and must measure performance in ways that both promote positive future results and reflect past performance. He said, “Performance management is based on the philosophy of continuous improvement, learning and development.”
Head of Employee Relations, Adv Rudzani Makhema introduced the new staff members to rules pertaining to employee relations at UNIVEN. He gave them an overview of employee relations and legislative framework. He mentioned that employee relations refer to an organisation’s effort to create and maintain a harmonious relationship with its employees. “We provide professional support and advice on matters concerning disciplinary measures, equal opportunities, grievances, and employee wellness.”
In terms of Legislative Framework Adv Makhema said the employment relationship between the University and its employees is governed by acts, policies and regulations which are the RSA constitution, the Labor Relations act, 1995, the Higher Education Act, 1997, University Statue (As amended) and University Code of Conduct. He said, “you need to familiarise yourself with these policies because they are important, and the University is governed by a Council.”
In conclusion Adv Makhema outlined the services that are of importance to maintain sound employee relations as Labour Relations, Employee Health and Wellness and Occupational Health and Safety. He urged the new staff members to follow the code of conduct as it acts as guideline to employees as to what is expected of them from an ethical point of view. “All employees are expected to comply with the code of conduct and commit to responsibility.” He also said, “Any contravention or failure to comply with the code, employees shall be dealt with in accordance with the University Disciplinary Code and Procedure.”
Head of IT Support Services, Dr Nkhumbuleni Ratshitanga representing the Department of Information and Communication Technology showed that the Department is comprised of three sections which are ICT Support Services, Network section and Business Systems. He said, “It assists staff with Wi-Fi connectivity, creating portal (my access), installing, and maintaining computer.”
Head of Reference section in the Department of Library Services, Dr Anna Matodzi presented on library services for staff. She said the library’s mandate is to support the University’s core business of teaching, learning, research, and community engagement. She familiarised new staff members with operating hours and divisions in the library.
HIV Coordinator from Campus Health, Ms Maggie Hlungwani gave a presentation on various services that UNIVEN Campus Health offers. “It is of utmost importance for institutions of higher learning to have campus health”, said Ms Hlungwani. Some of the services offered include COVID 19 screening, treatment for STI’s, also offers TEMS emergency ambulance and other health care services.
The Station Manager of UNIVEN FM, Ms Tshilidzi Shirinda presented on behalf of the Director of Marketing, Branding, and Communication. she mentioned that the Department can be considered as the heart of any institution. She also shared the core business activities of the department. She said it is divided into various sections namely: Media and Publications; Functions and Visitors; Schools Liaison; Advancement Unit, Media, and Sound Broadcasting; Alumni and Convocation.
Head Protection Services, Mr Nditsheni Mathanya presented on services offered by the Department. He mentioned that UNIVEN Campus Protection Services is a security division which is aimed at creating a safe and secure environment in the University by intensifying patrol to discourage all the unlawful activities and to protect University community and its property. “We offer a multitude of services that ensures the safety of both students and staff.” He continued to say UNIVEN offers CCTV footage which monitors the entire campus 24/7 and issuing of staff/student cards. He said, “Cases such as theft and Gender Based Violence can be reported.”
Risk Officer, Mr Tinyiko Sibiya addressed the new staff members on risk management and introduced them to the Internal Audit and Risk Management Structure. “When planning events, you must first check risks that might hinder the success of an event or project.”
Chief Demand and Acquisition Officer, Mr Azwifaneli Mudzwari spoke about the Supply Chain Management processes and procedures. Mr Mudzwari explained that the process of procurement is to adhere to governance, value creation for UNIVEN, support of University core function and others. He said there are certain things that new staff might need, and they are required to follow processes and procedures if they need new office furniture.
General Secretary of NEHAWU, Mr Ambros Mogashoa at UNIVEN addressed new staff on matters concerning their employment. He said the Union’s role is to engage management on anything that has to do with the employment of workers. “Be it unfair labour practices or wages, we are responsible as NEHAWU. He said, “As an employee, one must belong to a union”.
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 / 8710
Date: 21 July 2022