UKZN Logo, The University of KwaZulu-Natal was formed on 1 January 2004 as a result of the merger between the University of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal. The new university brings together the rich histories of both the former Universities.
The University of Durban-Westville was established in the 1960s as the University College for Indians on Salisbury Island in Durban Bay. Student numbers throughout the 1960s were low as a result of the Congress Alliances’ policy of shunning apartheid structures. This policy gave way in the 1980s to a strategy of “education under protest” which sought to transform apartheid institutions into sites of struggle. Student numbers grew rapidly and in 1971, the College was granted University status. The following year, the newly-named University of Durban-Westville moved into its modern campus in Westville and was a site of major anti-apartheid struggle. UDW became an autonomous institution in 1984, opening up to students of all races.
Founded in 1910 as the Natal University College in Pietermaritzburg, the University of Natal was granted independent University status in 1949 owing to its rapid growth in numbers, its wide range of courses and its achievements in and opportunities for research. By that time, the NUC was already a multi-campus institution, having been extended to Durban after World War 1. The distinctive Howard College building was opened in 1931, following a donation by Mr T B Davis, whose son Howard Davis was killed during the Battle of Somme in World War I. In 1946, the government approved a Faculty of Agriculture in Pietermaritzburg and, in 1947, a Medical School for African, Indian and Coloured students in Durban.
The two KwaZulu-Natal universities were among the first batch of South African institutions to merge in 2004 in accordance with the government’s higher educational restructuring plans that will eventually see the number of higher educational institutions in South Africa reduced from 36 to 21. Confirmed by a Cabinet decision in December 2002, the mergers are the culmination of a wide-ranging consultative process on the restructuring of the Higher Education Sector that began in the early 1990s.
To be the Premier University of African Scholarship.
A truly South African university that is academically excellent, innovative in research, critically engaged with society and demographically representative, redressing the disadvantages, inequities and imbalances of the past.
PRINCIPLES AND CORE VALUES
The University aspires to be a positively transformed institution based on a clear understanding of its goals for broad and comprehensive change underpinned by shared values. These values serve as a framework for all its endeavours.
As the University community we pledge ourselves to:
- Actively encourage and respect the right of all scholars, staff and students to engage in critical inquiry, independent research, intellectual discourse and public debate in a spirit of responsibility and accountability, in accordance with the principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy.
- Promote access to learning that will expand educational and employment opportunities for all.
- Embrace our responsibility as a public institution to support and contribute to national and regional development, and the welfare and upliftment of the wider community, through the generation and dissemination of knowledge and the production of socially-responsible graduates.
- Conduct ourselves according to the highest ethical standards, and provide education that promotes an awareness of sound ethical practice in a diverse society.
- Manage and run our institution in conscious awareness of the environment, and foster a culture of responsible, ethical and sustainable use of natural resources.
- Ensure effective governance through broad and inclusive participation, democratic representation, accountability, and transparency that serves as an example that contributes to building the democratic ethos of our country.
- Acknowledge the value of the individual by promoting the intellectual, social and personal well-being of staff and students through tolerance and respect for multilingualism, diverse cultures, religions and social values, and by fostering the realisation of each person’s full potential.
The goals of the University are:
- African-led Globalisation:
To promote African-led globalisation through African scholarship by positioning the University, through its teaching, learning, scholarship, research, and innovation, to enter the global knowledge system on it.
- Responsible Community Engagement:
To contribute through knowledge to the prosperity and sustainability of our province, and to nation-building, by connecting with and committing ourselves to the communities we serve in a manner that adds value and earns their respect, admiration and trust.
- Pre-eminence in Research:
To build a research ethos that acknowledges the responsibility of academic staff to nurture its postgraduate students, and to be a pre-eminent producer of new knowledge that is both local and global in context, and defines UKZN as the premier university of African scholarship.
- Excellence in Teaching and Learning: To promote excellence in teaching and learning through creative and innovative curriculum design and development, pedagogical strategies, and assessment
practices in accordance with the highest quality management principles.
- Institution of Choice for Learners:
To establish the University as an institution of choice that values students in all their diversity and has a student-centred ethos, providing students with curricula, teachers, infrastructure and support services designed around their needs and producing well-educated, competent, sought-after graduates.
- Institution of Choice for Staff:
To establish the University as an institution of choice that attracts and retains academic and support staff of the highest calibre by creating an intellectual environment that fosters and stimulates academic life, and a climate of organisational citizenship in which all staff recognise and understand their role in ensuring the success of the University.
- Efficient and Effective Management:
To establish and maintain efficient, effective management systems and processes that provide a caring and responsive service to meet internal and external needs in a pragmatic and flexible manner.