Strategic Transformation of Educational Programmes and Structures
STEPS – the Strategic Transformation of Education Programmes and Structures –
is a massive and concerted undertaking mandated by Senate to give substance to
Vision 2020. Vision 2020 envisages CUT as a new-generation institution, contributing
to the development of the region and beyond, through adopting an output and impact focus
and building sustained partnerships with business, government and industry.
Taking its orientation from this vision, the STEPS process started with a large
conference in mid-2010, to explore the distinctive nature of a university of technology,
and to hear the expectations of employers of CUT graduates. The key insights from the
conference were taken into a workshop of some 100 CUT academics and management staff in
August 2010. The workshop delegates, though intra- and inter-faculty discussion, identified
key strengths and weaknesses in CUT qualifications and processes, and important areas for
further consideration. By end-year these priorities had been assigned to eighteen inter-faculty
task teams of CUT academics, mandated to research the topic assigned to them and to propose
recommendations to address the issues.
The STEPS Project is an astonishing undertaking spanning the entire university curricula.
“STEPS will stretch our thinking and expose us to new ideas”, said Prof. Thandwa Mthembu,
Vice-Chancellor and Principal and STEPS champion at the beginning of 2010 and the start of
Several of the task teams formulated subsequent to the workshop were briefed to look at
rationalisation and innovation within the four Faculties. Others were to explore the viability
of several new problem–oriented, career-focused, interdisciplinary curricula that had been
identified at the workshop. Yet others were briefed to explore and make recommendations on
university-wide matters such as the admission of underprepared students, innovative teaching
and learning, Work Integrated Learning (WIL), continuing education and inter-Faculty research.
In this way STEPS has involved the majority of academics at CUT in some way or another for past
eighteen months, shaping innovations to implement Vision 2020.
Documentation pertaining to the STEPS Project