NMMU vice chancellor to bow out at end of 2017

2017-02-24 17:00
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University's Vice Chancellor Professor Derrick Swartz. (File, Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University's Vice Chancellor Professor Derrick Swartz. (File, Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

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Port Elizabeth - Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Vice Chancellor Derrick Swartz has indicated that he will not be seeking the renewal of his contract at the end of 2017 because he wants to pursue other professional and academic interests.
NMMU chairperson of council Judge Ronnie Pillay said in a statement that the council was made aware of Swartz's decision at the start of his second term of office, in January 2013.
"In the coming months, the university will embark on an extensive recruitment and selection drive to look for a suitable vice chancellor (VC) and principal for appointment with effect from January 2018," said Pillay.
"We wish to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation for his years of dedicated service and singular commitment to ensuring NMMU grows to significant heights. It is our hope that the intellect, knowledge and skills of Professor Swartz would not be lost to the city and region," said Pillay.

"He has the distinction of being the longest serving VC currently in South Africa and has brought a wealth of experience in regard to higher education, research and innovation, as well as social change," Pillay said.
The council also commended Swartz for his strategic fundraising campaign that, over the last decade, raised well over R2bn.

Personal fundraising campaigns

"This new funding paved the way for the most far-reaching capital expansion in property, plant and intellectual capital since the original creation of the university," Pillay said.
This funding has been used to secure, among others, three new libraries, a science complex, a new business school, two engineering buildings, one new education complex, a biokinetics complex, an atomic high resolution centre, and three large lecture hall complexes in Port Elizabeth and George.
"Finally, council also wishes to pay tribute to his personal fundraising campaigns, climbing mountains in Peru and Japan to raise money for needy students. These efforts have certainly set a high bar for the next university leader," said Pillay.

Swartz has served as VC for two successive terms since January 2007. During this time, he had anchored the university on a clear post-merger strategy, Pillay said.


Some of the major achievements of the university, with Swartz at the helm, include:

  •  Growth in overall student numbers from 22 661 in 2008 to more than 27 848 in 2016, while graduation numbers rose from 4 464 in 2008 to 6 258 in 2016;
  • Massive increase in postgraduate student intake, from 2 914 in 2008 to 4 162 in 2016;
  • Research output productivity rose from 504 838 to 897 857 total weighted research output units from 2008 to 2016, with 12 new prestigious research chairs, two A-rated; nine B-rated and dozens of C-rated scientists joining NMMU's ranks;
  • Total number of permanent staff grew from 1 524 to 2 154 in the same period, with numbers of black staff rising from 42.3% to 59.7%, and women comprising 56.8% and men at 43.18% of total workforce in the same period;
  • Total recurrent income in 2008 stood at R1.063bn. By 2015, this rose to R2.052bn, a 93% increase in revenue; total fixed asset value rose from R1.404bn to R3.026bn by 2015, registering a 115% increase over this period;
  • Total financial aid contributions, in the form of bursaries and loans, rose from around R250m in 2008 to more than R600m by 2016;
  • Expansion of NMMU, with the formation of a new ocean sciences campus, and with this, attracting more than R1.2bn worth of new marine and maritime investment commitments to date;
  • Converting NMMU's Bird Street campus into a dedicated arts and culture campus, with a new art gallery, to support the creative arts sector;
  • Successful campaign to establish South Africa's 10th medical school at NMMU by 2020;
  • Modernisation of the Missionvale campus and the George campus, on the back of more than R350m of capital investments from 2008 to date;
  • Securing ministerial approval of a name change to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, key to repositioning and rebranding the university globally.
Read more on:    nmmu  |  education

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