In any situation of change there will be resistance as well as opportunity for exploration and innovation. In the initial period there are usually two major hurdles faced by those engaged in the transformation process.
Firstly, there continues to exist in the consciousness of the practitioners, residual thinking of the old order. This may be caused by the fact that some members of the transforming community may not necessarily be convinced about the change to the new order. Changing also exerts extra demand on people and it sometimes is a painful process. A second challenge in the first phase of the transformation process is translating and implementing the new ideas propounded in the policies.
CPUT as a new entity was conceived through the national process of ‘Restructuring of the Higher Education Landscape’. The first phase of the transformation process involved the basic steps of setting up a unified structure governed by harmonised policies and systems.
The past four years of CPUT’s life has seen the writing of new policies that help translate the new order for all practitioners. A new Vision and Mission as well as a Strategic Plan have been crafted. New values – equity, excellence, ubuntu, democracy, integrity, innovation, respect accountability - have been adopted as the informing value system for the University.
The CPUT community has experienced elements of the first phase in its transformation journey. The time of embarking on a second phase has come.
The Charter comes four years since the inception of this new university of technology. The timing is opportune to take stock of the progress that has been made and the lessons learnt in transforming the institution from a technikon to a university of technology; from heritage institutions that mainly served certain racial groups, to a truly South African institution for South African citizens and other international students.
The second phase has to lay emphasis on “conscious transformation” (Anderson and Anderson, 2001, 4). This implies that there should be greater awareness about the “deeper and more subtle dynamics of transformation” (Ibid.). Depth can be attained by adopting a more rigorous pursuit of the transformation cycle that calls for reviews of strategies and the re-setting of new plans. Deeper engagement also calls for a broader and more explicit participation, especially by line managers in their various portfolios.
It is in this light that a Transformation Charter is adopted by the CPUT community, to act as a guiding document for existing and still to come members of the community in the continuing journey of transformation.