Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science’s 2021 Welcoming Message

It is our pleasure and privilege to welcome all science students to the 2021 academic year in the Faculty of Science at Nelson Mandela University. We also extend a warm welcome to the first-time enrolment students. Thank you for choosing to study science in our Faculty.

You are all part of an historic event as this is the first time that we will be starting the academic year virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To the first-time enrolment students, I look forward to meeting you all in person on our campuses once it is safe to do so, but for now we are prioritising saving lives while delivering quality education to prepare our students for life and work.

You have chosen well in deciding to study with us at Mandela University. In the Faculty of Science we pride ourselves on our global outlook while working hard to change our local situation for the better. By joining the Faculty you will learn about the global world and use this knowledge to change your own circumstances and those of our communities.

Whatever you choose to study in the Faculty of Science, in one way or another you will be working on solving several if not all of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – from addressing poverty and making sure there is zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, to studying biodiversity and climate change.

The Faculty of Science is also keyed into the African Agenda 2063 as our intention is for our studies to help solve the problems on our continent. Africa’s youth population is rising very sharply, and you, the students of the future work force, especially here in Africa, are going to play an important role in the world to address the challenges of the future.

While we are facing significant job losses in South Africa and worldwide, we are also looking at significant employment increase in specific sectors. These jobs of the future are expected to be more machine powered and data driven than in the past. The future of work will demand that you have science and mathematical skills and other skills, such as communication, listening, interpretation, design thinking, originality and initiative, social influence and persuasion, resilience and leadership.

If we look at the top 10 skills listed for 2030 globally in the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, they include critical thinking, creativity, complex problem solving judgement and decision-making, emotional intelligence, people management, service orientation, negotiation and cognitive flexibility. You will learn these skills in the Faculty of Science so that you can embark on your future careers with confidence and pride. In our Faculty, we don’t prepare our students for ‘something’; we prepare you for ‘anything’ you might face in the future.

To all the returning students we want to commend you and salute you for coming through the difficult 2020 academic year. The Faculty of science in its Strategy mandates the Faculty management to look into the future of the 21st century, to look at modern ways of learning and teaching, as well as research and engagement. The Strategy seeks to modernise our learning and teaching spaces, our research training and innovation spaces ass well as sour engagement and partnership spaces.

The unexpected emergence of COVID-19 has awakened us to the need to act fast and swiftly in implementing our new Strategy. To all our students, the future belongs to those who survive and rise above the impacts of the pandemic. As much as it is challenging to learn online, it is also challenging to teach online. However, this is the future calling and students who have managed or mastered online learning will enjoy far better opportunities in the future than those who only studied through contact learning.

Computational skills are the basics of any future work and I encourage you to take this as an opportunity to learn computing skills at the same time as you learn how to navigate through the physical world.

When this pandemic is finally over, online learning will remain with us in the new blended learning and teaching approach of the Faculty of Science.

The Faculty is planning to digitalise learning and teaching spaces including our laboratories. This will make us a truly 21st century African Faculty of Science. We hope that you will be excited in this journey of the making of the future.

To the first-time enrolment students, we are aware of the anxieties that you might have because you are starting your post-matric studies virtually. I want to reassure you that our academics who will be lecturing you in various modules, are ready to assist you in navigating the challenges of learning online. Please do not hesitate to ask questions. The Faculty’s Academic Advisor, Ms Penny Lithauer, will guide you with any academic advise you need. Our administrative staff will gladly assist you with any logistics or any challenges regarding your admission, registration, and the rules and regulations of which you need to be aware.

Please contact our Faculty Admissions Office by writing to the following people:

Ms Noluvo Bobi, Manager: Faculty Administration, Noluvo.bobi@mandela.ac.za

Ms Yvonne Tembo, Faculty Administrator, Yvonne.tembo@mandela.ac.za

Ms Fiona Heilbron, Faculty Administrator, Fiona.heilbron@mandela.ac.za

Postgraduate students should contact:

Tessa Penrith Faculty Administrator: Postgraduate Studies tessa.penrith@mandela.ac.za

Financial Aid: financialaid@mandela.ac.za

Student Wellness: Mrs Marietjie Sharp, Secretary: Student Counselling, Career & Development Services, marietjie.sharp@mandela.ac.za

Accommodation: Ms Vuyo Nomgqokwana, Residence Admission & Placement Manager resadmissions@mandela.ac.za

Essentials for learning online successfully

The essential include:

  • An appropriate device for learning online and offline – please note that a decent laptop for a student in the Science Faculty is a must have.
  • Good connectivity for online learning – this is “the new fuel”
  • A conducive learning environment

If you don’t have any one of these please make sure that you contact your lecturer, your Head of Department or anybody in the Faculty of Science.

We emphasise that is a ‘must’ to succeed in learning online during the pandemic.

Keep up to date and connected

We encourage all our students to keep up to date and connected, and we welcome everyone to join us on: Facebook: Nelson Mandela University Faculty of Science

Twitter: @NMMUScience

Website: http://science.mandela.ac/za

You can also view this welcoming message online:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QCiGQsmhn0

I hope that this has given you some idea about why you should be excited about studying science in the Faculty of Science at Mandela university. We look forward to getting to know you and being part of your journey.

Professor Azwinndini Muronga

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science

Nelson Mandela University