Prof Marlene Verhoef, the institutional registrar, says as a linguist she was amazed at the importance of language while drafting the new Statute. “We had to make sure that every word used was the right word and every comma and punctuation mark was in its right place.”

“The Statute’s role is to provide an environment conducive to good governance and management at the university.”

The Statute has
creative power

The Minister of Higher Education and Training recently signed the NWU’s new Statute, after which it was published in the Government Gazette. This marks the beginning of a 12-month period during which the university is legally obliged to implement it. The NWU & U spoke to Prof Marlene Verhoef, institutional registrar, about the process, importance and intricacies of the new Statute.

“The Statute gives birth to structure at the university. It is not just a piece of paper, it has remarkable creative power,” says Marlene. “It is the result of active consultation and many hours of hard work done by a dedicated team of specialists and legal and constitutional experts.”


Supporting the new structure and strategy


Once Council had accepted the NWU’s new strategy, a new Statute was needed to support it. “If the university wanted to continue to function to its full potential it needed a Statute to support the new structure and strategy.”

Marlene says although the previous Statute was widely regarded as very good, the changes in strategy and structure necessitated a new one.


Addressing changes


The Statute provides the foundation for all the important changes contained in the new management model. These include changes in the composition of Council, the role of executive deans across campuses and the functions of deputy deans, among others.


The NWU will also have five deputy vice-chancellors, consisting of a deputy vice-chancellor for teaching and learning, a deputy vice-chancellor for research and innovation and three deputy vice-chancellors heading the three campuses.


Defining important roles


Marlene says an important amendment to the Statute is the focus on the crucial role and composition of the Institutional Forum. The forum’s role is to advise Council on important matters, including the selection of candidates for appointment in senior management, policy on equity, codes of conduct and dispute resolution processes and procedures.


The role of the Senate in the appointment of all academic staff is also re-emphasised in the new Statute. According to the Statute, academic employees must be appointed after consultation with the Senate.


Other significant changes include establishing one Student Representative Council consisting of 15 members with proportional representation of students, and the election of a Student Campus Council on each campus.


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Implementation determines success


“The Statute depends on how successfully we implement the rules, procedures and policies. If we fail in doing this, the Statute will not be able to realise its full potential.”


Marlene says there is a lot of work to be done in the next few months. “There are 74 policies and a number of rules that need to be revised.”


To view the NWU’s Statute, please click here.


NWU & U  |

NWU & U  |