Introduction by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal
A centenary celebration provides the ideal opportunity to reflect on the development of the University from its humble origins in 1908 to an internationally recognised research university. At its inception, the focus was on the teaching of undergraduate students with little opportunity for research and no postgraduate students. However, after the first twenty years of its existence, research activities were being undertaken by the staff in a variety of fields. A notable discovery was that of the Mapungubwe settlement with its associated gold artifacts. The extensive archaeological excavations of this site demonstrated the existence of a sophisticated agricultural economy with advanced technical skills in working metals and an extensive trading network.
At the beginning of its second century, the University’s strategic plan emphasizes the goal to be an internationally recognised research university that is known not only for its research expertise, but also for its ability to translate its research efforts into economic activity that contributes to South Africa’s economic development and competitiveness as well as an improved quality of life for all South Africans. The University strives to be the intellectual home for the rich diversity of South African academic talent, and to be a symbol of national aspiration and hope, reconciliation and pride, and is committed to discharging its social responsibilities.
This research report is a reflection of the depth and diversity of the research that is undertaken by nine faculties and the
business school. The diligent efforts of the University’s researchactive academic staff and postgraduate students have led to a situation in which the University has produced the largest number of accredited research outputs annually in the tertiary education sector for the last decade. In addition, it is a leader in the production of doctoral graduates. This performance has ensured that the University is counted amongst the 500 best universities in the world, as reflected in the Shanghai Jiao Tong rankings.
The challenge for the future is not simply to maintain our current level of excellence, but to ensure that the University rises in the international rankings over the first decade of the second century of its existence. The skill and dedication of the University’s research staff that is reflected in the chapters of this report bode well for the future, and I would like to express my appreciation for all the effort that has gone into striving to achieve the goals of the University’s strategic plan.
Prof. CWI Pistorius
Vice-chancellor and Principal