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To bring you up to speed with key issues that were discussed and decided during meetings of Council's ExCo.
Greetings to everyone. I am pleased to write this communique to you in order to update you on Council's work during this unusual and unpredictable time. I trust that you are well and keeping safe. Due to the coronavirus and the national lockdown measures that were put in place to curb the spread of the virus, the NWU Council has been unable to convene its scheduled meetings. The Council's Executive Committee (Council ExCo) had to invoke Paragraph 11(3) of the NWU Statute in order to attend to any urgent business until such time that Council would be able to convene.

Accordingly, the Council ExCo convened online and attended to a range of issues that are integral to the functioning of the university. We have deliberated and resolved on the issues that follow:
Renewal of the term of the registrar

The first term of the registrar, Prof Marlene Verhoef, will come to an end in December 2020.

Council approved that Prof Verhoef be reappointed for another four years until December 2025 as registrar of the NWU.

We thank Prof Verhoef for her service during her first term and congratulate her on her reappointment.
Renewal of term – DVC: Assigned functions and Vanderbijlpark Campus Operations

The first term of the deputy vice-chancellor for assigned functions and Vanderbijlpark Campus operations, Prof Linda du Plessis, will come to an end in August 2020. Council approved that Prof Du Plessis be reappointed in this position for another seven years until August 2027. We appreciate Prof Du Plessis for the work she had done during her first term and congratulate her on her reappointment.

In addition, the first term of the executive director for finance and facilities comes to an end on 30 June 2021. The applicable Council processes will now be followed to attend to this matter.
Policies and rules

The following policies and rules were approved and will shortly be available here:
  • Global Engagement Policy
  • Risk and Compliance Policy
  • Policy and Rules on Conflict of Interest and on Declarations of Interest and of Gifts
  • Amendments to the General Academic Rules of the NWU
  • Information Governance Framework
NWU Business School

The NWU Business School is a crucial and strategic portfolio of the university and enjoys the benefits of accreditation by international organisations such as the Association of African Business Schools and the Association of MBAs. The continued recognition and accreditation of the NWU Business School by these international organisations require strict adherence to certain standards, norms and practices which may not necessarily apply to the university. Therefore, Council appreciates the need to allow the NWU Business School some level of operational autonomy or independence in order to compete successfully with other business schools internationally. Consequently, Council approved (that):
  • the creation of a separate legal entity for the NWU Business School was not feasible
  • the Business School be allowed some level of operational autonomy
  • the Business School maintain its academic status quo as part of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences with respect to both formal academic and non-formal continuing education programmes for purposes of accreditation, academic integrity and quality assurance
  • the new organisational structure for the NWU Business School, including changing the director title to chief director
  • the creation of a special corporate identity for the NWU business school; and
  • the establishment and strengthening of an advisory board for the Business School, consisting of members of the University Management Committee, the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and the Business School, along with a predetermined number of nominated members active in the public and private sectors.
Contingency plans for Covid-19

Council took note with appreciation of all the measures, protocols and guidelines put in place to ensure the smooth running of the university under these extreme difficult circumstances. Council emphasised the imperative that everything possible should be done to work towards the successful completion of the academic year, without leaving any student behind. To this end, we are satisfied with the multi-modal approach that management has adopted in regard to teaching-learning.
We have noted the university management's strong leadership and business continuity plans as well as financial risk management measures that are put in place to ensure stability during and beyond this current crisis. Financial stability is vital and it is clear that much thought and planning has gone into this matter, thus ensuring that the university would be able to honour its financial obligations.

We were also briefed about the process of reintegration of staff back to the workplace/offices which is anticipated to be conducted in a phased approach. Council has directed that a strict adherence to health and safety regulations be observed in order to ensure the safety of all staff and students. Council is satisfied with the mitigating measures put in place to curb the possible outbreak of the virus on any of our campuses. Council further expressed its appreciation to each staff member for the exceptional work done under these extremely difficult and challenging circumstances.
For more information please contact Amanda van der Merwe.