About SPU

Sol Plaatje University (SPU) opened in 2014, the first of two new universities to be established in post-apartheid South Africa. It is also the first university to be established in the Northern Cape Province.

Positioned as a niche university

Positioning itself as a niche university, SPU offers academic programmes of a high intellectual nature in fields that meet the needs of the South African thrust to develop a nation that is proud of its heritage and roots.

In developing the focus for its academic disciplines, SPU has looked to the unique needs, competence and characteristics of the Northern Cape region. This approach brought the current focus areas of teacher education, ICT and data science, heritage studies, paleo-sciences and creative writing in African languages to the fore.

Furthermore, in an era of concern about global warming and the more-serious threat to arid regions like the Northern Cape, SPU is developing future programmes in agricultural sciences with a focus on water-stressed conditions. The availability of physical resources together with the intellectual capacity to deliver such programmes will determine how quickly they can be implemented.

Solid relationships with stakeholders

SPU wants to be a serious contributor to the enduring human attempts at giving meaning to complexity, in the particular context of the region.  To do this, the University is forming solid and respectful partnerships with social and institutional structures in Kimberley and in the Northern Cape more generally.  It is in these partnerships that the idea of a university in the Northern Cape presents its most exciting prospect.

Developed as city university

SPU has been developed as a city university in the town of Kimberley. It occupies a combination of existing and purpose-built structures. The architecture of the new buildings has a unique personality and embraces a modern approach to light and space and is inclusive of artwork and design reflecting the heritage of the area.

An important characteristic of a great city is that it also has a good university. Here is the nexus that aligns the development strategies of the city and the University and that demands of SPU to develop and sustain high quality, exciting academic programmes that will be attractive to staff and students from the region and beyond to learn, work and live in Kimberley.

Pride in its namesake

SPU takes pride in the fact that it bears the name of Sol Plaatje, a visionary South African intellectual who embraced the values and ethos to which the University subscribes.

More about Sol Plaatje University

The vision of SPU is  university critically engaging in learning, research and development – while enhancing democratic practice and social justice in society.

The SPU mission is:

To become an institution of higher learning uniquely positioned to:

  • graduate citizens competent and capable of realising the aspirations of society
  • produce new knowledge impacting on key challenges of the region
  • engage critically with communities of discourse and communities of people in order to search out pathways to equitable development.

The following three goals underpin the continuing development of SPU:

Goal 1: Academic design, development and delivery freedom 

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To establish the foundations of an academic programme of teaching and learning excellence, research development and community engagement.

  • Ensure curriculum design and programme development that is aligned to the strategic plan
  • ensure student-focused teaching and learning
  • develop an academic quality assurance system
  • establish academic thrusts for focused teaching and research
  • promote critically engaged scholarship.

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 Goal 2: Cultivating the Sol Plaatje University experience freedom 

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To fashion a SPU experience notable for its caring approach to its community as well as its vibrancy, critical enquiry, open debate and scholarly excellence

Students, staff and stakeholders alike should experience SPU as:

  • Promoting a culturally diverse and inclusive student body and faculty
  • student support and wellbeing
  • healthy, safe, secure and vibrant university environment integrated into the city
  • Service-focused administration.

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Goal 3: University governance, management and operation freedom 

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To advance the governance, management and operating capabilities of SPU towards outstanding scholarship

  • Human capacity development
  • financial sustainability
  • infrastructure, facilities and Information, Communications Networking technologies
  • reputation management
  • effective support services

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SPU values

  1. Academic freedom 

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We value the right to participate in academic issues, affairs and communities without fear or favour; autonomously decide the content and methods of teaching; freely determine the topic, themes and methods of research; seek, receive, obtain, discuss and impart knowledge, information and ideas of all kinds and from all quarters; and co-operate freely with colleagues in all parts of the world.

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  1. Independent intellectual endeavor

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We value individual, group, and institutional academic enquiry which is innovative, ground-breaking and committed, whether or not such endeavour may be regarded by some as heretical or iconoclastic.

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  1. Depth and breadth of knowledge and critical thinking 

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We value the quality of academic process, especially when intense in focus, and/or ambitious in scope, and/or complex in analytical thrust.

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  1. Academic citizenship

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We value the progressive and constructive participation in the affairs and issues of society by the University, by academic and other staff, and by students. We value when knowledge residing in the University node is articulated and extended to assist in the resolution of social problems or used to facilitate the improvement of the life and circumstances of individuals, groups or communities. We also value the participation of academics, students and other staff in the civic life of the University itself, including within its governance structures and committees, its review and assurance processes, its improvement campaigns, its internal debates, and within its ongoing transformation towards achieving its strategic objectives.

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  1. National and international comparability of academic quality

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We we value our place among the community and fellowship of universities – nationally, regionally and globally. We take seriously such knowledge and performance bench-marks, peer review processes, scientific surveys, and comparative techniques prevalent and credible within such higher education community.

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  1. Community engagement and social responsiveness 

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Value the fact that our University would structure and facilitate community engagement and social responsiveness activities as a functional principle and strategic aspect of our institutional character. Our approach to knowledge.

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  1. Intellectual integrity 

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We value the pursuit of truth, knowledge and wisdom honestly and without the interference of conflicted interests or hidden agendas. All commercial interests, consultancy engagements and funding conditions should be transparently disclosed and properly regulated in terms of the policy of the University. Corruption and/or fraud of any kind, whether primarily academic or primarily financial in nature shall not be tolerated at SPU, now or into the future.

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