A recent report to the NMMU Senate confirmed a record average growth per annum in student enrolments at NMMU George Campus for the period 2009 – 2011, while applications for admission to programmes have more than doubled over the same period.
The university, in line with its strategic plan - Vision 2020 – aims to sustainably and progressively grow student numbers at the George Campus in the next few years.
Student enrolments for the four BCom degree options offered at George Campus, has grown significantly from the 16 first year BCom (Accounting for Chartered Accountants) students who represented the first intake for NMMU George in 2006. The BEd (Further Education and Training) degree introduced to George Campus in 2009 has also grown significantly from an initial 45 students enrolled in 2009.The programme rendered its first group of qualified teachers at the end of 2012.
Together with the BTech degree enrolments, undergraduate degree enrolments at NMMU George have grown exponentially since 2008.
An above-average student success rate for George Campus is a clear sign that this dynamic, yet relatively small campus is on the right track.
The university has realigned its governance system and has strengthened the ties between its satellite campuses, including George Campus, and the various faculties located in Port Elizabeth. “This is to ensure that NMMU is optimally positioned throughout the region to realise our growth objectives as set out in our strategic plan - Vision 2020” says Prof Derrick Swartz, NMMU’s Vice-Chancellor.
The new governance arrangements have brought about a new dimension and significantly strengthens George Campus management, by, amongst others, adding three executive deans (of the faculties represented in George) and a number of operational specialists to serve on the Campus’ Management Committee, together with the Campus Principal and other locally-based academic and professional staff. Representation of George Campus champions on a variety of NMMU forums have also increased significantly due to the shared responsibilities.
In addition, the number of permanent academic staff at George Campus has increased by 30% since September 2009, building a sound academic core and contributing to greater diversity in terms of both gender and race.
A number of Professors are amongst the complement of permanent academics, and, as a result of the stronger links with and reporting lines to the academic faculties in Port Elizabeth, the George Campus is now in a better position than ever before to draw on the expertise of lecturers in Port Elizabeth.
The full integration of the School of Natural Resource Management (George) as one of four Schools in the Faculty of Science, will further enhance the academic capacity (lecturing and research) at George Campus. This will be achieved through the direct or technology-supported involvement of Port Elizabeth-based lecturers, notably in the fields of environmental science and biometry; as well as specialised inputs in the field of chemistry, physics and geography.
Permanent academics in George are also supported by a motivated group of highly qualified contract lecturers.
The university is increasingly optimising electronic media for teaching, learning and communication. Blended learning keeps NMMU at the forefront of teaching, due to its flexibility and responsiveness. This interactive tool is ideal for engaging students in the learning process, either individually or as a group. It frees both students and lecturers from geographical barriers and allows the lecturer to provide an instantaneous response to the student and vice-versa.
The university is continuously increasing its bandwidth and capacity for use of electronic media and makes use of video-conferencing to bridge the distance and share expertise and capacity between its various campuses. George Campus, like the main NMMU campuses in Port Elizabeth, has various wi-fi zones, enabling students and lecturers to work and communicate seamlessly between the classroom, place of relaxation and residences.
NMMU George is also growing its research capacity. The average annual growth rate for masters’ students from 2008 to date is very promising, with the accompanying research outputs associated with studies at this level.
Staff are committed to the principle of lifelong learning. This is evidenced by the number of academics staff at George Campus who, in the past year or so, completed either PhDs, or first or second Masters’ degrees. A number of other George Campus academics are currently busy with either masters or doctoral studies, ensuring that NMMU remains a cutting-edge university with scholarship, creativity and innovation as important driving forces.
NMMU George academics are set on making a contribution to the knowledge economy by publishing their work in peer reviewed journals, delivering papers and sharing their insights and research findings at various international forums. This knowledge exchange also benefits students, who are continuously exposed to the best the world and the various industries have to offer.
Several postgraduate students work closely with a team of researchers, including a post-doctoral research fellow, research associates and former Campus Principal, Prof Christo Fabricius within the Sustainability Research Unit (SRU) at George Campus. This group also co-operates and works with academics in national and international research institutions as well as authorities such as local and district municipalities, departments of Agriculture and Forestry, Water Affairs, provincial conservation authorities, SANParks, NGOs such as WESSA, the private sector and CSIR. The focus is on engaged, relevant research to address the sustainability challenges of the Garden Route.
NMMU places great emphasis on creating and sustaining an environment which is conducive to excellence in teaching and learning and which promotes the overall development and success of its students.
Work on the much-anticipated new student accommodation at the George Campus has been completed. The set of three buildings, serviced by a central study area, was officially opened by the university’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Derrick Swartz, along with the campus’ newly completed roads infrastructure on 11 April 2013.
Jointly this represents a new investment of more than R20 million in new infrastructure at George Campus. “The university has made a wonderful investment in building new residences and a beautiful road at the NMMU George Campus. This initiative is in support of our desire to attract top students from the Southern Cape schools especially, and further afield, to our exciting current and new programmes in the years to come”, said newly appointed Campus Principal, Prof Quinton Johnson.
Prof Swartz mentioned in his opening address that the new infrastructure supports the “living and learning culture; cosmopolitan and international character” which the university is pursuing.
The new student accommodation and roads form part of a R120 million investment in George Campus over the past nine years in support of the sustainable growth of the campus.
Earlier infrastructure investment in George Campus included the following:
The addition in 2009 of a state of the art 200 seat Lecture Theatre; six classrooms; five computer laboratories and a modern library, complete with a mini training computer laboratory and computer workstations for students.
The well planned new library has become one of the busiest places on campus with many students now including a visit to the library as part of their daily routine. Patron visits doubled between 2008 and 2011.
The Student Recreation Centre, which includes a cafeteria and an area for various convenience shops was completed in 2011. This venue with a beautiful deck area overlooking the Outeniqua Mountains has also become a popular “chill zone” for students.
Besides the extensive road works on campus, work to augment the external water supply to the university was also completed including a new internal reticulation system was also completed three years ago.
The existing sports pavilion was overhauled (interior and exterior) three years ago while on-going maintenance and refurbishments of residences is a priority. Funding is, furthermore, set aside on an ongoing basis for the upgrading of student housing units.
Student accommodation on-campus has received a significant boost with the recent addition of three new residences.
The university has also secured additional certified off-campus accommodation to meet the demand for student accommodation that conforms to NMMU’s requirements. A post-graduate village already accommodates masters’ students on-campus. They are also assisted with office space where they have access to fully-equipped work stations.
At NMMU George, like NMMU’s other campuses, students are well catered for holistically. This includes access to Primary Healthcare services at the on-campus clinic and a variety of value-adding services rendered at NMMU’s Student Counselling, Career & Development Centre. A full time Financial Aid Officer has been allocated to George Campus from the beginning on 2012 to assist students with Financial Aid applications and queries.
Students enjoy a vibrant campus life thanks to excellent student leadership. Making NMMU George a sought after destinations for young people who want to further their studies and “realise their dreams” for the future.
Tel: +27 (0) 41 504 1111
Fax: +27 (0) 41 504 2574 / 2731
PO Box 77000, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Port Elizabeth, 6031, South Africa
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