New TUT vice-chancellor and principal Tinyiko Maluleke outlines plans
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Pretoria - Incoming vice-chancellor and principal of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Professor Tinyiko Maluleke, has expressed his intention to build an institution that is well known in the country and beyond.
Maluleke, who is currently a senior research fellow and deputy director at the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria, spoke to the Pretoria News yesterday ahead of his first day in office on February 1, following his appointment last year.
Mindful of the high unemployment rate facing the country, he said he wanted the institution to participate in finding solutions for the country.
“One of the ways in which we are going to participate in finding solutions to these problems is by producing graduates who can find a job very quickly, but who can invent a job for themselves. Elsewhere I call them hustler graduates. In other words, graduates who will go out there and hustle because of the knowledge that they have,” he said.
The country, he said, faced a problem of universities and colleges that tended to produce job seekers.
“I want a TUT graduate who will seek a job and find one quickly – that is my aim – but one who will be able to invent one if they can’t find one,” Maluleke said.
Asked whether he was up for the challenges ahead, he said: “Well, I think if you asked vice-chancellors in 2015 whether they were ready for ‘fees must fall’, you would have received all manner of lies. Maybe they would have said ‘yes, we are ready’, but they didn’t know what was coming.”
He qualified the statement by saying that “one can never be ready for all the challenges”.
“Having been in this sector for as long as I’ve been, I know that none of the challenges in higher education are completely of use. In other words, the crises that come up in higher education usually have hidden in them new opportunities. My hope is that all challenges that I face would have opportunities. But, yes, in a manner of speaking I am ready,” Maluleke said.
He said he was looking forward to pushing his colleagues to produce better quality research “to increase the number of rated researchers at TUT”.
Four years ago, he was awarded a B1 rating as a researcher by the South African National Research Foundation.
Maluleke, who is an elected member of the Academy of Science for South Africa, said he wanted TUT researchers to be members of the academy “in bigger numbers than they are and to make sure that our ranking in international agencies goes higher”.
Part of his plan is to create space for young researchers to thrive.
He described as exciting a move from the University of Pretoria, which is the traditional whites-only university, to TUT – a mixed university, which is largely black.
“I am excited because TUT is a well-oiled machine,” he said.
With the motto “Knowledge that works”, TUT was ranked very highly in ICT education and in engineering, among other subjects.
“It is also one of the 11 top universities in the country and certainly the top university of technology in the country. It is not as if I am going there to reinvent any wheel; the wheel is already running very well and I look forward to working with an excellent team of executives from a multiplicity of disciplines,” Maluleke said.
Pointing to a difference between the two institutions, he said: “At UP, apart from it being 50/50 black and white, it comprises largely middle-class students, if one may use that term, the so-called missing middle. But at TUT you find students from a much lower rank of the society with parents who don’t have a degree, and so many of the students are likely to be the first in their family to have a tertiary education.
“And, also, (they have) parents who are struggling financially; very much NSFAS-dependent.”
He preferred not to talk much about the legacy he would like to leave behind, saying it was still premature. “When leaders are too obsessed with their legacies, they can become difficult leaders, and they can become too stiff and unable to listen to listen and to change.
“It is not my legacy that I am worried about. I am worried about the legacy of TUT going forward; 50 years from now, 20 years from now and 10 years from now. That is the legacy that I would like my colleagues to think about," he said.
Emphasising the role of TUT in society, Maluleke said: “TUT is a university of technology, so its mandate is to produce a workforce for this country who have necessary technological skills to help the country to work.
“My hope is that TUT can participate in shaping the future of work. So I was very excited to hear that TUT now has a centre for the future of work, which was established last year.
“I am looking forward to making sure that TUT becomes a leading (institution),” Maluleke said.