unisa logo

From the Vice Chancellor

Professor David Lloyd, Vice Chancellor and President

As we take tentative steps towards regaining our normality – and I stress tentative, we’re going to do this slowly and carefully – I just wanted to point out that throughout the shutdown, lockdown, call it what you will, this University has conducted business as usual, but in a most unusual way.

As a university, we have a single obligation: to harness curiosity and to empower the curious. Once we build expertise onto that curiosity, real knowledge grows, we prepare people for careers in their chosen field, or they’re motivated to further learning, teaching and perhaps research. So knowledge builds, real contributions are made to the economy and to the community, and society moves forward that little bit further.

We stayed open for our students, our undergraduates, our postgraduates, our PhD candidates, our early career researchers and all the levels that they can reach into from there to nurture their curiosity.

We often talk about helping develop in students a lifelong love of learning and once that fire is lit, there’s no telling how much new energy is released. It’s our job to guard that flame, and to guide it so that students with a passion for a subject can eventually bring it to a new career or develop knowledge even further through research and academic development of their ideas.

Throughout the shutdown, we moved our teaching operations online so as not to disrupt the critical first part of that process, taking undergraduates from school to lead them on their first forays into higher education, helping them hold onto that curiosity but adding to it with  discipline and knowledge, developing skills that can translate that curiosity and knowledge into something of real benefit to the student and to the student’s community.

That obligation has become exponentially more important since the lockdown impacted on much of the state’s and the nation’s economy and has been so hard for so much of the community. We’ve remained open for business, not just the business of teaching and learning, but the business of helping business and enterprise in this state to recover.

Even before this pandemic we had ambitious growth targets for the state, which  had identified those areas of business and enterprise that would be best placed to help reach those targets: food and agribusiness; energy and minerals; defence and space industries; the high-tech sector; health and medical industries; and creative industries.

The list also included international education and tourism and you’d have to agree that they need absolutely everything we can do to help them, now more than ever before.

We have stayed at the coalface during this pandemic, simply to focus on doing everything that we can do to keep the flame alive in our students, and to help bring our state and our nation’s economic growth back to health.

We stayed because we really are unstoppable.

Watch Enterprise25: building on our past achievements.

 

Professor David Lloyd
Vice Chancellor and President