Dear colleague,

Message from the


The decision by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) to put our LLB programme on notice came as a shock to many. In the wake of the announcement, questions such as the following were posed: Have we not been a foremost producer of LLB graduates over many years? Can the academic quality of our programme really be questioned? Is this not a political ploy?


To understand the CHE’s notice we have to understand a basic notion, namely that transformation is not to be seen separately from quality.


Let me put it somewhat differently to stress the point: the quality of university programmes is not determined on “pure academic” grounds.


The criteria include the extent to which a programme provides a conducive, equitable home for all its students. If this is not achieved, a programme could be put on notice.


We could have protested vociferously and argued that we offer a top-class LLB programme with alumni in all spheres of the legal world. We could have challenged the report on various grounds. But I judged it prudent to take the blow on the chin and rather focus on rectifying what was pointed out as problematic.


Fortunately the North-West University already has a strongly transformational agenda. We know we have shortcomings and have therefore accepted a new strategy, structure and Statute to guide and inspire us.


In view of this I urge all staff to understand the reasoning behind the new strategy and structure and to wholeheartedly support the implementation. As part of that process we should do serious introspection and take the initiative to move speedily towards a renewal of our institutional culture (including our language practices). This applies to all subject groups, schools and faculties.


The moment we start seeing ourselves as servants of the whole university, whether in teaching, research or support capacities, we will include colleagues and students from the other campuses in our thoughts and practices. When we consult and plan together in a supportive, collaborative spirit we will transform the NWU into a unitary university where equity, excellence and care are a given. At that moment we will achieve true quality and have nothing to fear.