28 October 2021

Speaking at the induction of the Convocation, Vice-Chancellor Professor Thoko Mayekiso said the University should be openminded and see the huge potential of the Convocation. In the fullness of time, it will be one of the flagship structures of UMP and will fill the institution with pride. 

Professor Mayekiso emphasized that the collective wisdom was to bear on where they are headed. The return on investment analysis should indicate that all the parties benefit, and mutuality should be at play. Getting it right at the outset and planning together will bring about an enduring roadmap.

She further explained that the Convocation must perform all its responsibilities with due regard for the generally accepted principles of good governance and within the values framework of the university.

“As we move forward, it will be important to always keep the vision, mission and values of UMP in mind. As an institution we are values-driven and we expect the same from the members of the Convocation: Excellence, integrity, diversity, collaboration, adaptability, relevance, and inspiration. A convocation embracing these values will make a huge impact on the life of UMP.”

Professor Mayekiso reminded the Convocation that what drives everyone at UMP is the vision for 2022, uhambo lwemhlahlandlela, keeping in mind the responsibility of pioneering and increasing the number of accredited qualifications on offer.

“From 2022, we will be offering two doctoral degrees, one in Development Studies and another in Agriculture; 38 accredited qualifications. The growing number of students in our care, for whom we are forever striving to create a conducive ecology. Through the SRC and CRC, we have an open door policy for issues to be raised and proactively dealt with and resolved.”

She also reminded the members of UMP links and collaborations with other institutions, both nationally and internationally, from Swaziland, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya and Mozambique to the USA, Switzerland and Germany.


Crafting a trajectory together

The Vice-Chancellor continued that part of the Convocation’s aim is to promote the interests and welfare of UMP, while contributing to the positive development of the students still on campus.

“Volunteer your time and expertise to mentor some students – they will believe you more, and get inspired by seeing success exuded by those who have walked the same grounds they are currently walking,” she added.

“Continue to give feedback about areas to improve at the university – based on your life experiences. Organise events for the mutual benefit of the Convocation and UMP. Leverage technology to spread a common positive message about UMP, ensuring that the brand is known far and wide.”

Professor Mayekiso further said that all parties can look at enhancing the professional and career development of those who have graduated, as well as those who are still studying at UMP. Some of these include assisting UMP in the recruitment of students, and ensuring interaction with academics to ensure that what UMP teaches has relevance and currency, thereby allowing the Convocation to hit the proverbial tarmac running.

“As ambassadors of our university, the brand of UMP will be enhanced if you strive to excel in spheres of life you engage in and put UMP as the premiere university in seeking solutions that are germane to the African challenges.”

Professor Mayekiso concluded that they should strive for quality in their interactions. “Mutual respect in our endeavours is encouraged, and amicable resolution of any conflicts desirable. So too the ability to negotiate in good faith.”

Convocation President, Mr Wandile Shabangu, added that it was important for the members of the convocation to focus on things that really matter and that effective communication and sufficient planning were paramount towards reaching the goals and aims of the convocation. He encouraged the convocation to work together and asked the university to assist and support their endeavours.

Some other presenters on the day included UMP Registrar Mr Sello Legodi who shared the liaison between the university and its former students and academic employees. He said the role of the Convocation is to facilitate liaison between the university and its former students and academic employees.

"The Convocation should organise former students and academic staff members of the university with a view to facilitating representation of the constituency on appropriate governance structures," he continued. "You should also support and enhance the university’s vision and mission through creating networks, maintaining and expanding positive relationships with its members and utilizing and maximizing your expertise, goodwill and influence in support of the university."

According to the UMP Statute, the functions of the Convocation are to:

  • Facilitate liaison between the University and its former students and academic employees;
  • Create networks and canvass support for the strategic objectives of the university, and
  • Organise former students and academic staff members of the university with a view to facilitating representation of this constituency on appropriate governance structures.

@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures by ChrisplPhoto.