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Sefako Makgatho Health Science University recently introduced the office of Institutional Advancement and Internationalisation to its institution. At the helm of developing this directorate is Mr. David Sedumedi who holds MEd in Higher Education (Course work specialising in Student Development) and currently busy with his PhD in Leadership and Complexity, methodology: Systems thinking. He has extensive experience in higher education, which has equipped him with the right skills and knowledge to lead this office.

He explains that institutional advancement is a new concept in South African higher education context with only a few institutions having a formal structure of advancement. The Institutional Advancement and Internationalisation office will be dealing with policy development and implementation, which includes, but not limited to fund raising and development, internationalisation, campaign designs, stakeholder relations and project communication strategy.

Setting up this office from scratch is what excited Mr. Sedumedi most to apply for this position, he hopes to incorporate his experience in his previous similar role and his current PhD studies. “In my role the plan should be informed by the institutional priorities; what is it that SMU wants to achieve and how do we then mobilise resources to support the whole enterprise by the university”, said Mr. Sedumedi. He went further on to explain that Systems thinking teaches you to be constantly monitoring your external environment, such that you are able to be responsive and adapt to the changes that the external environment imposes upon you.

“We hope to move away from the dependency of sponsorships, but rather create partnerships where people realize that by collaborating with SMU they are actually investing in the public health care system of the country”, said Mr Sedumedi. He plans to rope in current students and staff members to start pledging towards helping SMU projects such as ‘Hands of Compassion’ (a feeding scheme mainly for students without financial assistance, which relies solely on donations), in a coordinated manner such as using the Payroll donations system where a certain amount will be given back by SARS.

Mr Sedumedi is excited about the challenge that lies ahead. He hopes to be able to help SMU assert itself as a Health Sciences institution, while working towards being the number one institution of choice for investors on the University’s doorstep such as the Rosslyn industrial hub.