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The Dean of the School of Medicine at SMU Prof Nathaniel Mofolo attains a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from a UK based University

The Dean of the School of Medicine at SMU Prof Nathaniel Mofolo attains a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from a UK based University

Professor Nathaniel Mofolo heeded the call in 2017 and enrolled for a professional Doctorate in Business Administration in Higher Education Management offered by the University of Bath in the United Kingdom (UK). The University of Bath has established itself as one of the top 10 UK universities with a reputation for research and teaching excellence.

This was a collaborative partnership with the Nelson Mandela University’s (NMU) Teaching Development Grant funding from the DHET to implement the Future Leaders Initiative programme. The programme aimed to provide high-level development opportunities for professional, administrative, management and support staff involved in leading and managing sections or divisions linked to the academic project in universities. It also aimed at enhancing the general quality of teaching, student learning and success.

Prof Mofolo was part of the second cohort of 27 senior professional staff who started in 2017. The professional Doctorate is an innovative, research-based programme designed to meet the needs of senior professional staff. It is offered on a part-time basis, through a blended mode of delivery, with four 8-day residentials (contact sessions) in the first two years of the programme. The first and last residentials were held at NMU and the other two at the University of Bath. After the two years of course work, a doctoral research study is undertaken. This means that the programme, generally, takes 4 to 8 years to complete. Professor Mofolo completed his Doctorate in 2022; and he is the third to complete in his class. He will be graduating on the 19th July 2023 in the UK.

The title of his thesis was: Evaluation of the implementation and assessment of AfriMEDS physician competency framework in an undergraduate medical programme: A South African mixed- methods case study.

The study focused on the evaluation of the implementation and assessment of milestones achieved in entrenching the AfriMEDS physician competency framework in an under- graduate medical programme in South Africa. The study concluded by showing that a framework, guidelines and benchmarked assessment tools are needed to infuse the AfriMEDS framework to transform an undergraduate medical curriculum. Furthermore, the developed guide- lines, when implemented, will lead to the improvement of the quality of medical students.

SMU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbati, on behalf of the university congratulates Prof. Mofolo for this monumental achievement.

The Dean of the School of Medicine at SMU Prof Nathaniel Mofolo attains a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from a UK based University

Prof Zach Koto is the new President of Association of Surgeons of South Africa (ASSA)

Prof Zach Koto is the new President of Association of Surgeons of South Africa (ASSA)

Prof Zach Koto, Head of Surgery at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, was recently elected as the President of the Association of Surgeons of South Africa (ASSA). He wants to see ASSA grow to a point where it also mentors young surgeons apart from looking at the affairs of surgeons in the country. Under his capable leadership, he hopes to see the association address many pressing challenges that include amongst others training, inadequate funding for training posts in public hospitals, equipment issues and the disease burden that threaten to overrun surgical programmes across various training platforms. Prof Koto is an ordinary individual who likes to work hard, challenge himself continuously to be a better version of himself. Focus on SMU reporter caught up with him to get insight into his role as the president of the association.

His thoughts on taking up the role of President. “I have previously served in the executive committee as a representative from academic centres as head of the department, I served in various capacities for many years in the association and I think for colleagues to have confidence in me and elect me as president is indeed an honour and privilege. It is an association that organises surgeons across the width and breath of South Africa and does many things in terms of surgical care and training. I am looking forward to working with a very able executive committee under the chairmanship of Prof Paul Goldberg, Secretary Dr Claire Warden, and treasurer, Dr Mbulelo Khenene. I’m looking forward to working and serving as the president of the association,” said Prof Koto.

Prof Zach Koto is the new President of Association on of Surgeons of South Africa (ASSA)

Engagement with DALRRD and ARC on the re-introduction of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Health at SMU

Engagement with DALRRD and ARC on the re-introduction of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Health at SMU

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbati hosted a delegation from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) on the 14 October 2022 at SMU. This meeting comes against the backdrop of an initial meeting that the VC held with the Minister of DALRRD, the Honorable Thoko Didiza and her Department to explore the possibility of the reintroduction of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Health at SMU, necessitated by the realization that there is an increased need for veterinary training in the country.

As a way of introduction, the Chief Director for Sector Capacity Development, Ms. Lebogang Botsheleng, who led the Departmental delegation, made a brief contextual presentation with regard to the increased need for veterinary training in the country. She indicated that Cabinet has taken a decision regarding the introduction of veterinary Sciences and Animal Health to be hosted by at least two additional universities; and that SMU was encouraged to submit a proposal for consideration by the Department. The ARC was represented by its CEO, Dr. Litha Magingxa and its Group Executive Animal Sciences, Dr. Andrew Magadlela.

In response, the VC indicated that SMU has a new business model, which amongst others, seeks to ensure that the university diversifies its PQM and increases its student enrolment to ensure that it becomes financially sustainable. In this context, it is anticipated that the reintroduction of a range of veterinary studies will make a significant contribution towards this strategic objective.

The VC further indicated that the university has commissioned a feasibility study with regard to the reintroduction of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Health, which will be completed by the end of November 2022. He stated that this study will inform proposals on a responsive curriculum and the required capacity (human, physical and technical), which will be done in consultation with all the relevant stakeholders.

The meeting also acknowledged that, internationally, South African graduates are in high demand; which is an indication of the quality of veterinary training that South Africa provides; a strength which needs to be harnessed.

In conclusion, the parties made a commitment for further consultative meetings to consider the outcomes of the SMU commissioned feasibility study and to chart a way forward.

VCs Desk - Engagement with DALRRD and ARC on the re-introduction of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Health at SMU

SMU Council crafts levers to grow a world class Health Sciences University

SMU Council crafts levers to grow a world class Health Sciences University

In a departure from the routine Council workshops, the SMU Council spent considerable time and energy in a strategy reflection workshop from 14 – 15 September 2022 re-imagining a new operating model that
would catapult SMU into the league of World Class Universities, becoming globally competitive and simultaneously remaining locally relevant. The Chairperson of Council Ms. Maria Rambauli emphasized urgency in a shift towards SMU becoming a sustainable self-funded institution, with the academic enterprise at the centre of its operations.

In this context, the university needs to ensure that it attracts excellent academics, professionals, administrative staff and students. It is envisaged that this will ensure that SMU is academically and administratively competitive and becomes the “go to” institution in the HE sector, locally and abroad. The need for collaboration with industry and other institutions of higher learning, and the utilization of alumni for resource mobilization, coupled with an emphasis on impact of SMU initiatives was emphasized. Ms. Thaaniya Isaacs of PwC made a compelling case for the adoption of technology to increase teaching and learning efficiencies in a Health Sciences University. Her presentation was premised on the 2022 PwC survey conducted amongst Vice Chancellors and Deputy Vice Chancellors of the 26 South African public universities.

On transforming SMU into a World Class University, the Vice Chancellor Prof Peter Mbati stated that there has to be a deliberate intent and purpose from within an institution to grow into a world class university while change management towards achieving this goal is key to successful transformation. According to Mbati, the establishment of a World Class university requires, above all, strong leadership, a bold vision of the institution, and clarity of its mission and goals. In this regard, SMU must craft a clearly articulated strategic plan to translate this vision into concrete targets and programmes. Prof. Patrick Demana (former Acting DVC Academic and Research) made a compelling case in his presentation on “Reimagining a World Class Academy at SMU”. This possibility is real, with the need for SMU to expand its PQM, consideration for a hybrid programme delivery model, the need for state-of-the-art infrastructure, striving for teaching excellence, improved rankings and the strengthening of community engagement. On the backdrop of the presentation by the Acting Dean of the School of Oral Health Sciences Prof. Dini Mawela, Council was convinced of the need for strong, principled, cohesive and caring leadership.

In his presentation, the CFO Mr. Eminos Manyawi focused on the new business model as central in achieving financial sustainability. Among others, the model seeks to be increase programme offerings and double student numbers over time, increase infrastructure capacity on campus, improve its third-stream income by amongst others commercialization of SMU land. SMU will consider changes with regard to, amongst others, enrolment targets and its pricing model. The Registrar Dr. Jeffrey Mabelebele led a discussion on the current SMU SWOT analysis while the Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Mfanfikile Sibanyoni presented the status of infrastructure development on campus, and future possibilities.

VCs Desk - SMU Council crafts levers to grow a world class Health Sciences University

Hundreds show up for the first day of SMU symbolic in-person Graduations Ceremonies

Hundreds show up for the first day of SMU symbolic in-person Graduations Ceremonies

The symbolic in-person Graduations Ceremonies commenced in  earnest at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University yesterday 20 September 2022 for the cohorts of students who graduated virtually in 2020 and 2021 respectively as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions enforced by government at the time. Professor Peter Mbati in his capacity as Acting Chancellor presided over the ceremony and also awarded Degrees to a group of students who could not attend the May 2022 physical graduations ceremonies due to reasons beyond their control.

Speaking at the start of the two-day ceremonies, Professor Tandi Matsha-Erasmus in her capacity as Acting Vice- Chancellor congratulated all graduates and commended them for defying the odds to eventually complete their studies in the midst of Covid-19 and other geopolitical factors and challenges. Matsha – Erasmus further urged the graduates to remain humble and kind especially to those who assisted them to attain their qualifications. She commended Prof Mbati for his leadership of the University adding that the work he has done remains visible. The Acting Vice-Chancellor challenged the graduates to fight corruption and any form of maladministration wherever and reminded them that they are joining multitudes of SMU Alumni whom the University is proud of.

Families and friends came to support graduates as they walked the stage and got an opportunity to take photographs as part of creating memories. When the ceremonies are concluded today, it is expected that over 1000 graduates would have been awarded their qualifications in different fields of study from the Five Schools of the University namely; Schools of Medicine, Health Care Sciences, Oral Health Sciences, Pharmacy as well as Science and Technology.

Newsflash - Hundreds show up for the first day of SMU symbolic in-person Graduations Ceremonies

SMU meets with the Chinese Embassy

SMU meets with the Chinese Embassy

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) has taken a conscious decision to place the Academic Project (teaching and learning and research and innovation) at the centre of its operations. This involves the
establishment of national and international partnerships and collaborations to ensure that it has adequate capacity to support its strategic objectives.

It is against this background that SMU, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbati, hosted the Chinese Embassy at SMU on the 27 July 2022. The Chinese delegation was led by the Chinese Minister Counsellor for Science and Technology, Mr Long SHEN and the second Secretary for Science and Technology, Mr. Wei XIE. The meeting follows on initial discussions with the Chinese Embassy as well as the prestigious Wenzhou Medical University located in Zhejiang, China.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Mbati said that “SMU has taken a de- liberate approach to establish partnerships to help address heath issues locally, continentally and globally through teaching and learning and research and innovation”. He further indicated that central to the discussion was the need to, broadly, deepen the relationships between SMU and Chinese higher education institutions.

In response, the Chinese Minister Counsellor emphasised his government’s commitment to advance health sciences and innovation, including the development of vaccines and research in smart agriculture. He further emphasised China’s commitment to fund research projects on the African continent. In this regard, the first project that will be initiated between SMU and the Chinese government is skills development and training in the field of ophthalmology, involving the Wenzhou Medical University.

The highly ranked Wenzhou Medical University (WMU) was identified as the partner of choice for collaboration with SMU. The initial engagements with WMU were aimed at the introduction of an Ophthalmology and Optometry Advanced training programme and the envisaged collaboration between SMU and WMU. This drew on ongoing SMUs efforts to strengthen and enhance strategic partnerships between academia and industry nationally and internationally.

As part of the meeting, SMU’s Director for Research and Innovation, Prof. Mapaseka Seheri made a presentation focusing on the establishment of the Centre of Pandemic Diseases. In her presentation, she indicated that as part of SMU’s strategic goals the university seeks to ensure that through the establishment of the Centre, it “contributes to ensuring an understanding of emerging pandemics and how best to treat them, and to strengthen health policies, equip policy and decision makers with evidence-based research interventions”. Furthermore, the Centre seeks to build collaborations with internationally recognized centers of excellence”, Prof. Seheri said. Possible collaborations with the Chinese government in this regard were considered.

To conclude what, in all respects, was a successful meeting, the Chinese visitors were taken through a campus tour where they visited the following laboratories: MECRU, Microbiology, Centre of Entrepreneurship and the EMU facility. What has become evident is the commitment between SMU and the Chinese Embassy to forge a partnership and to contribute to the training of health sciences practitioners and to address health challenges in South Africa, China and globally.