UKZN Strategic Plan (2017–2021)

The UKZN Strategic Plan (2017-2021) comprises several interlinked and complementary aspects that make up the entire strategy wheel of the University. In the centre is the purpose of the University, which is the reason the Institution exists. The purpose of the current strategic plan is “Inspiring Greatness” in all partners, stakeholders, and clients with whom UKZN engages. Complementary to this are aspects that relate to how the University aspires to go about its business – the climate and culture and people issues, which are all underpinned by a set of agreed values that all people at UKZN are committed to live and work by. The climate and culture issues are supported by a set of four Strategic Goals that form the heart of the strategic intent of UKZN. These Goals will only be achievable if the University succeeds in fulfilling all four Enablers which are a pre-requisite for success in terms of achieving the strategic goals. The culmination of all these efforts will allow the effective pursuit of the Vision – to be the Premier University of African Scholarship.

UKZN will know it has been successful in its bold aspirations if – by 2021 – the University is:

  • The South African university of choice for the most talented students and scholars
  • Consistently ranked among the top 400 universities globally
  • Renowned for delivering learning and teaching programmes that transform talented students into thoughtful and accomplished graduates
  • Recognised for research impact, innovation, and entrepreneurship
  • Known for its service excellence
  • Acknowledged as a leader in embedding sustainability and good governance in all aspects of the University’s operations, teaching and learning, research, and engagement
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A. Institutional Climate and Culture as a Catalyst

At the heart of this strategy is its focus on people issues at the University. The UKZN values (REACHT) form the foundation of its people strategy, complemented by a focus on entrenching a deep service culture in UKZN – i.e. where the University’s partners, clients, and stakeholders come first. In line with the transformation charter, the University will accord focussed attention to driving transformation across the entire

Institution, with collective responsibility by all. The continued pursuit of excellence in all aspects of its operations, including the University’s core missions (teaching and learning, research, and community engagement) will be emphasised during all performance assessments. UKZN will strive to become known across the world as an African university with a strong innovation and entrepreneurial culture.

StrateGIc obJectIVe Key reSuLtINdIcatorS (KrI) aNd
KeyPerForMaNceINdIcatorS (KPI)
2021
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Goal 1: excellence in teaching and Learning
KRI
Graduate satisfaction score Graduate satisfaction score 80%
KPIS
To achieve a diverse socio-economic student body Percentage of admitted 1st year students from quintile 1-3 schools 42%
To enhance the quality of teaching staff Increase proportion of teaching staff with a PhD qualification 60%
To enhance student success with quality teaching and learning Student graduation rates 26%

B. Goals for Benchmarking Achievement

The quadruple helix of excellence in teaching and learning, research, engagement and internationalisation, is the organising principle of the University’s strategy. In implementing this strategy, UKZN will make bold changes that will enhance its reputation and performance. The achievement of these goals by UKZN will only be possible if the Institution strives for excellence in all its endeavours, and seeks every opportunity to increase quality through innovation.

Goal 1: To achieve Excellence in Teaching and Learning

UKZN aims to promote excellence in teaching and learning through innovative curriculum design and development, pedagogical strategies, and assessment practices in accordance with the highest quality management principles.

It will also ensure a diverse student body that is representative in terms of race, gender, and social class, and which has the intellectual interest and ability to succeed. It is imperative that UKZN continues to provide access to all deserving students, in order for them to benefit from UKZN offerings.

This goal aims to attract highly talented students and to develop them to their full potential to become globally aware professionals, leaders and citizens. The goal will:

  • Promote student access, diversity, and success
  • Offer progressive and responsive curricula
  • Offer an outstanding academic experience
  • Pursue excellence and creativity in teaching and learning
StrateGIc obJectIVe Key reSuLtINdIcatorS (KrI) aNd
KeyPerForMaNceINdIcatorS (KPI)
2021
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Goal 2: excellent and high-impact research, innovation and entrepreneurship
KRI
to increase the overall citation index citation Index (Leiden) 6.8%
KPIS
To increase the proportion of postgraduate students Proportion of postgraduate students 30%
To increase the number of NRF-rated researchers Number of NRF rated researchers 400
Promote an innovation culture Number of IP disclosures, licences and spin-offs 15/1/2

Goal 2: To achieve Excellence and High Impact in Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

UKZN aspires to be a globally ranked research-intensive university responding to major social, economic, and environment challenges. To achieve this, the goal is to build a research ethos which acknowledges the responsibility of academic staff to nurture their postgraduate students, and to build UKZN as a pre-eminent producer of new knowledge that is both local and global in context, and which defines

UKZN as the Premier University of African Scholarship.
This goal aims to deliver a globally ranked research-intensive university which responds to major societal, economic, and environmental challenges. The goal will:

  • Provide a hub for African scholarship
  • Generate leading-edge research and innovation partnerships
  • Develop research and entrepreneurial capacity
  • Transform societies
StrateGIc obJectIVe Key reSuLtINdIcatorS (KrI) aNd
KeyPerForMaNceINdIcatorS (KPI)
2021
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Goal 2: excellent and high-impact research, innovation and entrepreneurship
KRI
to increase the overall citation index citation Index (Leiden) 6.8%
KPIS
To increase the proportion of postgraduate students Proportion of postgraduate students 30%
To increase the number of NRF-rated researchers Number of NRF rated researchers 400
Promote an innovation culture Number of IP disclosures, licences and spin-offs 15/1/2

Goal 3: To Promote High-Impact Societal and Stakeholder Community Engagement

UKZN intends to foster meaningful interactions with local, national, and international communities for mutual benefit. Its engagement agenda should enrich the Institution’s teaching, learning and research activities, and deepen its contribution to wider society. To this end, UKZN aims to contribute – through knowledge – to the prosperity and sustainability of KwaZulu-Natal and to nation building, by connecting with and committing itself to the stakeholder communities UKZN serves, in a manner that adds value

and earns their respect, admiration, and trust. This goal will strive to achieve meaningful interactions with stakeholder communities and society for mutual benefit. The goal will:

  • Develop engaged alumni
  • Drive key stakeholder community-enhancement projects
  • Strengthen University translational research
  • Develop key public and private sector partnerships
  • Pursue engagement as a reputation driver
StrateGIc obJectIVe Key reSuLtINdIcatorS (KrI) aNd
KeyPerForMaNceINdIcatorS (KPI)
2021
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Goal 3: High-impact societal and stakeholder community engagement
KRI
reputation score QS academic reputation score 30
KPIS
Meeting the perceived needs of stakeholder communities External grant value attracted for societal-impact work R900 million
To increase the UKZN social media profile Social media score

Goal 4: Targeted Internationalisation

UKZN seeks to achieve an international outlook that is integral to its aspiration to be a Premier University of African Scholarship. It aims to promote Africa-led globalisation through African scholarship by positioning the University through its teaching, learning, scholarship, research, innovation and entrepreneurship and bringing knowledge production systems relating to its local context into the global arena.

This goal is to achieve an international outlook that is integral to the University’s aspiration to be a world-class African university. The goal will:

  • Strengthen the University’s international profile
  • Target strategic partnerships
  • Improve UKZN’s global ranking into the top 400
StrateGIc obJectIVe Key reSuLtINdIcatorS (KrI) aNd
KeyPerForMaNceINdIcatorS (KPI)
2021
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Goal 4: Targeted Internationalisation
KRI
International co-authorship Proportion of research outputs co-authored with international authors 49%
KPIS
To increase the number of international postdoctoral research fellows Number of international postdoctoral research fellows 280
International grants Rand value of international grants secured per annum R400 million

C. Enablers as Strategic Success Factors

The institutional goals for teaching, research, community engagement and internationalisation impose a significant challenge around infrastructure as the University will have to develop appropriate teaching and research facilities in order to achieve these goals.

Through the vehicle of the Campus Master Plan, the University will have to explore options for the development and the creation of innovative and informal learning spaces and a campus environment that supports a rich and rewarding student experience. This will require the institution to seek out and expand opportunities for quality student accommodation. Equally important, UKZN will have to develop viable strategies to ensure a sustainable future by paying particular attention to the many different dimensions of sustainability.

UKZN’s people are the key enablers of the success of this Strategic Plan. The set goals need to be tangible for everyone in the organisation to enable total engagement. The University will need to reinforce the values it has chosen and progressively introduce new ways of doing things.

The following Enablers were identified as the key strategic success factors for the realisation of the goals that underpin the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan.

Enabler 1: To Enhance the UKZN Brand

UKZN aims to develop a brand that enhances the experience that its students, staff, and all stakeholders have with the Institution, its offerings, and services. The University aims to articulate clearly its unique value propositions that differentiate UKZN from other Higher Education Institutions.

This enabler will promote UKZN as a great African university. The enabler will:

  • Pursue strength in teaching and learning
  • Drive transformation
  • Promote African scholarship
  • Pursue research competitiveness, innovation, and entrepreneurship
  • Develop key societal, stakeholder and community projects
  • Contribute to socio-economic development
  • Strengthen institutional culture
StrateGIc obJectIVe Key reSuLtINdIcatorS (KrI) aNd
KeyPerForMaNceINdIcatorS (KPI)
2021
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enabler 1: enhanced uKZN brand
KRI
to strengthen the presence of the uKZN brand Net promoter score 65%
KPIS
To enhance the media reputation of the University Media impact index 65%

Enabler 2: Empowering People

Staff and students are the University’s core human capital asset. UKZN’s aim is to position itself as an employer of choice for staff and to be a university of choice for students, where talent is nurtured and developed. UKZN will create a welcoming, safe, and stimulating environment which is conducive to study and scholarship for all students and staff.

This enabler will place people at the centre of what the Institution does. The enabler will:

  • Provide a transformative student experience;
  • Offer a quality, integrated, and holistic academic experience
  • Enhance student employability
  • Pursue high staff morale through servant leadership, talent management, development and wellness
  • Cultivate a positive knowledge community
  • Strive to live the UKZN values
  • Deliver on the transformation imperative
  • Reward innovative practices
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KeyPerForMaNceINdIcatorS (KPI)
2021
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enabler 2: empowering people
KRI
university of choice for students Student conversion rate 88%
KPIS
To be a university of choice for staff Staff turnover 6.5%
To enhance the employability of UKZN graduates Percentage of UKZN graduates that obtain employment before/by graduation 55%
Transformation Imperative delivered Number of South African, African female academics Prof: 8 Assoc.
Prof: 20
Sen. Lect: 40