CUT Mission, Our Vision 2020 statement is: “By 2020, Central University of Technology, Free State shall be an engaged university that focuses on producing quality social and technological innovations for socio-economic development, primarily in the Central Region of South Africa”. In other words, by 2020, CUT will be a centre of knowledge, innovation and excellence producing a critical mass of innovators that directly contributes to prosperity-creation.
We will do this by graduating an industry-ready workforce and entrepreneurs. We will focus on local and regional innovation and commercialization of our innovation products. In this respect, we recognize that no successful geographical region has developed an innovation and technology-based industry without a first-rate university of technology. Vision 2020 is our roadmap to becoming such a university and play similar roles as leading technology institutes and universities that spearhead socio-economic transformation in different regions of the world.Why Vision 2020?
Without a clear vision, we may not know why we are doing what we do and what impact we will make. Successful entities are always clear about their vision. It allows them to pick and choose what their priorities are, and where their investments should be so that they make the best impact in their chosen priorities. CUT’s Vision 2020, therefore, presents our aspirations and determination as a university of technology.
Through it, we seek to consolidate our uniqueness and comparative advantage in order to contribute substantively to addressing the developmental needs of the Free State, the Central Region, South Africa as a whole and our continent.Core Values
- Customer Service
Practices and Outcomes – The Isle of Innovation
Through our Vision 2020, we are set to become an “isle of innovation”, where “isle” is the acronym for the following practices and outcomes:
- Innovation: The main focus of our academic, research and skills development programmes shall be social and technological innovation;
- Impact and outcomes: We will have definable factors to measure our success rather than systems and processes being seen as ends in themselves;
- Socio-economic development: CUT chooses an active approach and socio-economic development shall be the ultimate outcome of our endeavours;
- Location: The uniqueness and resources our location offers gives us a comparative advantage that we should exploit to the fullest; and
- Excellence: The most important drivers of a successful organization are quality and excellence.
What have we achieved and where are we?
Having adopted Vision 2020 in 2010, we have earmarked the year 2012 as our year of commencing robust implementation. Apart from monitoring and evaluating progress and implementation on a quarterly basis at our planning workshops, we will also annually assess progress. We have mapped our implementation of Vision 2020 from where we are now, in 2012, up to 2020. Our key milestones may be summed as follows:
- 2010: Adaptation and launch of Vision 2020
- 2010-2011: Preparations around the 4 Ps – People, Plans, Product, Pennies
- 2012: Year of robust implementation begins
- 2013: Near-term review of realized progress and achievements
- 2015: Mid-term review of Vision 2020. This coincides with the first 5-year period of our 10-year vision.
- 2017: Major review of achievements three years before 2020
- 2019: Reflect and consensus on successor plan
- 2020: Final review & unveiling of Vision 2030, 2040 or 2050?
How can I contribute?
- Be interested and be alert!
- Take ownership of and advance Vision 2020!
- Identify what it me1ans for you, your colleagues and your work area and how you will produce outputs with impact!
- Ask: “What can I do for CUT?” instead of “What can CUT do for me?”
- Be ‘crazy’ with innovation and providing solutions in your sphere of work!
- Be crazy enough to change CUT!
- Engage and deliberate, not just for the sake of it, but to produce outputs that have impact!
- Learn and share lessons!
- Create a personal work-oriented brand that represents excellence and radiates throughout the university.
- Be an active member of your community!
The realization of our vision will depend on the respective roles we collectively play as leaders, managers, staff and students. As we continue on this challenging but rewarding journey, let us always keep in mind that every journey begins with a small step in the right direction!
If we do all of the above with determination and resolve, we shall indeed be a “CUT above the rest”.
Vision 2020 and Beyond
What has been achieved in previous years
- From 2012 – 2015, we have focused on the Academic Project, in order to improve the relevance and impact and enhance the quality of our learning, teaching, research and innovation practices. View details in the State-of-the-University Addresses: 2012(PDF) | 2013 (PDF) | 2014 (PDF) | 2015 (PDF).
- We have embraced the 2016 theme of “The Year of Innovation and Entrepreneurship” (PDF) with many accolades and achievements – to such an extent that the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) recently indicated that the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) is
- The theme for 2017 was “The Year of the Human Project” (PDF), focusing on staff, students and other stakeholders, and enhancing the human reconciliation drive. A number of outcomes were achieved in 2017, as shared in my communiqué of 15 December 2017 (PDF).
- The theme for 2018 was “Reimagining CUT: Embracing Servant Leadership” (PDF). Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enrich the lives of individuals, build better organisations, and ultimately create a more just and caring world. It is a blend and balance between leader and servant. You do not lose leadership qualities when you become a servant leader; instead, you are leading with others in mind.
What to expect going forward
The following special project for the next five years was approved in September 2017: “Reimagining CUT as a transformative University and ‘model’ UoT in Africa, impacting on the socio-economic development of the Central region of South Africa and beyond”.
This project, founded on our transformation drive and new institutionalism (change), consists of the following ten focus areas:
- Reimagining CUT as a transformative University.
- Academic excellence promoting entrepreneurial education.
- Pockets of world-class research programmes.
- “Model”, vibrant innovation ecosystem in Africa.
- Engagement and partnerships nationally and internationally (incl. alumni).
- A sustainable and well-equipped University (smart green campuses and digital transformation).
- Institutional culture of caring and safety towards holistic development (Human Project Stage 2).
- Effective and efficient administration and governance.
- Financial sustainability (running the University as a business).
- Image of CUT as a University: branding, marketing and communication.
2019: Reimagining CUT: Living our values
Core organisational values are a set of beliefs that specify universal expectations and preferred modes of behaviour in an institution. They point the way to purposeful action and approved behaviour (Kane, 2002:1). Malphurs (2002) defines core values as simply “why we do what we do”. Values are there to be lived! The CUT values:
As a campus community, we expect all conduct to be rooted in integrity, mutual respect and civility. We value ethical behaviour in scholarly and other endeavours. Integrity in our context will include the creation of a diverse, collegial scholarly community in which individuals are valued and respected, academic freedom is exercised with intellectual rigour, and high ethical standards and an environment where critical inquiry is encouraged are upheld. As our conduct should be rooted in integrity, mutual respect and civility, one can argue that trust and stewardship are integrated in this value. At the same time, accreditation processes that establish integrity as central to educational and institutional quality will be embraced within the CUT. These will be benchmarked against trends in Higher Education in South Africa and Africa, as well as international. Therefore, we behave in an ethical and professional manner; we conduct our activities in an accountable and transparent manner; and we ensure the integrity of our information, systems and processes.
Important questions to be asked: Do I practice what I preach? Am I ethical and professional? Do I always uphold conduct that is informed by respect, honesty and dignity?
Diversity has several dimensions and these dimensions fall into two primary categories: Social diversity and intellectual diversity. Social diversity means that the composition of our students, as well as our staff, must reflect broad societal characteristics that encompass race, class, multilingualism, ethnicity, national origin, religion, freedom of conscience, gender, sexual orientation, age and ability. Included in this perspective is the fact that the CUT must have no discriminatory practices that will prevent it from bringing together, into one CUT, all the mentioned varieties and differences of society. If the CUT thus coexists as a microcosm of the larger society in which we live, we will be able to classify ourselves as a diverse institution. Intellectual diversity refers to the broad range of academic programmes, the variety of delivery modes we utilise, a diversity of theoretical approaches, and a broad definition of community service. Central to this value is openness and the continuance of the technology-driven tradition of the CUT. Furthermore, fairness, honesty and objectivity will prevail as the CUT assesses its own policies, practices and behaviours to ensure that it makes credible the actions taken to enhance quality improvement in higher education.
Therefore, we reflect and serve diverse regional, national and global communities; we promote an open society where critical scholarship and the expression of a multiplicity of opinions and experiences are actively encouraged; we foster an environment in which diversity is appreciated, respected and celebrated; and we are committed to accessibility, inclusivity and social justice. Embracing diversity in all its forms and complexity, appreciating the richness and dynamism it brings to the academic project and the broader university life. We should ensure that the institutional culture is welcoming, supportive and inclusive, not alienating. Finally, we need to be conscious of the social injustices and unfairness of the past, as we commit to restore the dignity of every human being at CUT and beyond.
Important questions to be asked: Do I have an understanding regarding the definition of diversity in my context? Have I created an environment to support diversity?
Key aspects related to customer service are selflessness, responsiveness and accountability. A work ethic that empowers colleagues to be professional in all dealings; to treat people with respect, to have a sense of urgency and agency, and to value their work and expertise required. Therefore, ready to learn new and innovate ways to improve the quality of work and building a culture of following through and remaining accountable to self and others. The CUT will nourish the commitment to provide excellent service by maintaining strong, supportive relationships that are flexible and responsive to the institutional and student needs and to the interests of the broader public/society at large. We will deliver what the customer needs in terms of value, quality and satisfaction. It further means we should deliver the best quality programmes and support to our students and colleagues in an endearing and an empowering manner. It also means we must help one another to grow intellectually and otherwise.
Important questions to be asked: Would I have been satisfied with the service I have rendered? Do I always place the people I serve first?
We are committed to innovative approaches for achieving our vision and will create a campus environment that encourages and rewards creativity and innovation. The aim is to empower students and staff to trust their creativity and skills to change the world; to motivate them to build the courage and excitement to stretch beyond their limits in technology, finding new ways of practice and design, thereby contributing to social and technological innovation; and to approach each day with a mindset ready to achieve greater heights, change and improve, and contribute to advancements in technology and life.
Important questions to be asked: Is this the best way/method/process/product? Have I thought about doing it differently? How creative am I? Do I always think of new ideas and approaches to doing things? Have I challenged the status quo?
The CUT aspires to an excellence that is approached through diligent effort, both individual and collective. Pursuing excellence means being satisfied with no less than the highest goals it is possible to envision. We value excellence and innovation inside the classroom and out. Thus, we strive to offer outstanding academic programmes; to foster intellectual inquiry, exploration, and discovery; to transcend traditional boundaries; to apply and perfect knowledge; to encourage creativity; to provide effective tools, technologies and facilities for learning; and to excel in research and scholarly activity, including the “scholarship of teaching and learning” – an area of research that explores how individuals teach and learn.
We recognise and accept the sacrifices, risks and responsibilities involved in pursuing excellence, and so we celebrate one another’s successes. We commit ourselves to this process in an ethical and moral manner. Therefore, we promote, recognise and reward excellence in our teaching, learning, research, engagement and support services; we promote, recognise and reward excellent service delivery to all our stakeholders; we provide a supportive and affirming environment that enables students and staff to reach their full potential; and we adopt innovative approaches to promote excellence in our institutional policies, structures, processes and systems.