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18 October 2021
DVC: Student Development and Support - Message to the Campus Community

Dear Campus Community and UWC Students,

It gives me great pleasure to reconnect with you and I hope that despite the challenging times we are going through, you are keeping your heads high and doing your best to cope with the demands and the unpredictability of our time. It is not an easy thing to do at all but it is something that we need to try because as human beings, we are meant to face different situations that require individual and collective strengths and energy. I really wish that the circumstances under which I write this message to you could have been different because what we have experienced and continue to experience inflicts so much pain, creates doubt, despair and hopelessness at times. When we lose our loved ones we look around to see what is coming next and whether we will have the strength and courage to be bold and craft the path forward, however difficult and uncertain it may be. 

Student Development and Support believes and cherishes meaningful engagements with students, and drawing from diverse experiences we become stronger and better and help one another through the journey. This has led us to a situation where we explore different ways of making virtual contact which is something that came faster than we may have thought. I wish to take this opportunity to pass my sincere condolences to all students and colleagues who have lost family members, relatives and friends. We can never imagine the depth of the pain you must be going through. During this difficult time, I wish to assure you that you are not alone and that you also have us as the university community behind you. Do please make the effort to explore and use the services available to you in supporting your wellbeing.
 
The last few months have had some effect on the implementation of some of the co-curricular programmes, and we are steadily attending to this challenge because UWC is so fortunate to have students who take initiatives and use their creativity to promote a vibrant social and intellectual educational space. I would like to appreciate the dedication and commitment of many SDS staff members and other sister departments who continue to do their best to ensure that some key programmes continue from strength to strength. This is critical because our experience and student feedback has shown how skills are transferred, and how talents are identified. It was a moment of absolute elation and pride when we recently welcomed the triumphant UWC Women’s Football Team at the Cape Town International Airport after they were crowned  the 2021 Varsity Women's Football Champions. Once again congratulations to our girls, you have done us so proud and you deserve the accolade!

I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the important updates on what are some of the key annual activities that are planned until the end of the year:

The election of the SRC members is a both legislative and statutory obligation. This is a very important process that must ensure democratic participation and effective representation of students.  It is that time of the year when ordinarily plans for inaugurating a new SRC would be ongoing. Because of the various lockdown uncertainties and arrangements that have continued to result in delays in the preparation for conducting the SRC Election process and the fact that not all students are on campus, it is important to consider key parts of the Election Regulations to support a credible and inclusive process. It is a requirement that consultations must happen with students about the process and possible changes to suit our present circumstances. You will recall that in 2020 we conducted online elections for the first time and the changes to the Election Regulations required University Council approval before the process started.

The consultations between my Office and the SRC have started and set to continue with the broader student leadership. We have a responsibility to consider the interests of all UWC students, regardless of where they are because all views are important and all student voices must be heard. Once this is done, we will publish the schedule of what is going to happen until the Inauguration of the new SRC.

The SRC is also  busy enquiring about the length of the current term of office as a result of the late start at the beginning of the year. This is what has also influenced the delay in convening the Annual General Meeting. This will have to happen because the Constitution needs to be respected. Once the clarification has been communicated, this will be linked with the process that is already under way.

If you require any further details, please contact Ms Mzikazi Noholoza at mnoholoza@uwc.ac.za

The higher education sector continues to witness an emergence of different perspectives about efficacy, role and the place of student governance and how to reimagine its contribution in light of the new realities. To strengthen student governance at UWC, a benchmarking exercise was undertaken towards the end of the 2019 academic year. The delegation consisted of student leadership from the SRC, Central House Committee (CHC), Sport Council, Postgraduate Council and staff members from Student Development and Support.

The purpose of the visits was to allow the team to learn and share good practices with other higher education institutions with a view to strengthening student governance and consider models to facilitate broader participation and involvement whilst ensuring that elected student leadership is accountable to its wider constituency. The other important consideration is to understand if institutional processes and mechanisms are enabling or hampering student developmental programmes that are aligned to the IOP imperatives and SDS priorities, in particular.

The observations and lessons learnt from the institutional visits were consolidated as part of the reflective report that was prepared and presented by the delegation.

The real work will happen in commissions where various topics will be discussed. In this regard, it is envisaged that the process will help to clarify the relationship between the SRC, Faculty Councils, Sport Council and the Central House Committee. There is a great deal of awareness that such an important process involving multi stakeholders can be complex with all the necessary steps that should be taken, and this requires a sense of maturity that complements quality and robust engagements in consultations, commissions and working groups as they work towards achieving the broader objectives.

I hope this will be an exciting opportunity for students to contribute towards shaping their future student governance framework and to bring a document that will take UWC to an enriched and robust student leadership level. This is to allow equal opportunity to everyone and to ensure that the process is objective, fair and transparent.

The external facilitator will oversee the process and guide the work of commissions and working groups, in line with the terms of reference. The process, action plan and timelines by which the whole process is expected to be run will be communicated in the next two weeks.

I urge and encourage all UWC students to get involved in this important review process by attending meetings and making submissions on the improvements and strengthening of student governance.

If you require any further details, please contact Ms Mzikazi Noholoza at mnoholoza@uwc.ac.za

There have been a number of consultations with faculties in relation to the establishment of Faculty Councils, which are structures or bodies consisting of elected leaders who represent student interests in each faculty. This is part of devolved leadership because of the recognition that there are faculty specific issues that may require instant attention which the representatives are able to facilitate.

The task teams are being set up to drive the process and Student Development and Support is providing support to realise this important objective. There is an understanding that efforts will at a later stage dovetail into the broader student governance review I referred to earlier. The revised SRC Constitution, after all UWC students have a framework document is expected to articulate this relationship clearly.
The idea is to standardise the guidelines that support the faculty process  and the training and induction programme whilst recognising specific faculty contexts . This is to ensure consistency of the approach and shared values that guide the conduct and behaviour of student leaders in office.

Further updates about this will be communicated after consultations with each faculty.

If you require any further details, Ms Mzikazi Noholoza and can be reached at mnoholoza@uwc.ac.za

Both the Centre for Student Support Services and Residential Services continue to work so hard in providing pyscho-social and online counselling support to students, and these services have often been profoundly needed during the lockdown. This is a reflection of the SDS’s commitment to ensure that students are supported wherever they are and there is a follow up when needed and required. We do acknowledge some of the challenges and limitations to reaching all students at the desired time and we continue to find creative ways to address this.

These efforts are aimed at restoring academic functioning of students and to increase their chances of success in the curricular and co-curricular commitments and obligations. 

Immediately after the approval of the Mental Health and Wellness Policy, SDS and HR collaborated together to host a Mental Health Awareness Week. The focus on both students and staff speaks volumes to the integrated nature of the challenge. This was a strong statement of commitment that students and staff members form an integral part of the eco-system. There are so far more than 3000 student counselling sessions, including online counselling sessions in 2021, which communicates a clear message that the right infrastructure is crucial for such support. We are grateful for the partnerships, such as with SADAG, SANCA among others, to amplify the institutional efforts.

Centre for Student Support Services (CSSS)

  • Gender Equity and Reconciliation Project
  • Gender Blender Views Engagement Dialogues

Sport Administration

  • Anti-GBV Campaign
  • Sexual harassment
  • Gender and Culture
  • Men as partners

Residential Services

  • Man Up (Fight against GBV)
  • Post Grad Hub (Alcohol, GBV and crime in SA during COVID-19)

Contact Details

  • UWC STUDENT CRISIS COUNSELING HELPLINE (MH) 24/7 TOLL FREE:
    0800-222-333
  • LIFELINE:
    0861-322-322 or 021- 461-1111
  • RESLIFE OFFICE:
    T here are Social Workers at Reslife who offer counseling support.
    Contact: reslifehelpline@uwc.ac.za
  • IN THE CASE OF RAPE/SEXUAL ASSAULT
    Phone 021 959-2100 (Campus Protection Services) or
  • RAPE CRISIS CENTRE (https://rapecrisis.org.za/)
    Cape Town:   
    021-447-9762 for help in English
    021-361-9085 for help in isiXhosa
    021-633-9229 for help in Afrikaans
    Athlone/Gatesville: 021-684-1180
    Observatory: 021-447-1467
    WhatsApp Counselling: 0832225164 or
    e-mail: communications@rapecrisis.org.za
  • THUTHUZELA CARE CENTRE (Managed by Rape Crisis)
    Thuthuzela Care Centre is a designated forensic and medical service available to rape survivors as an emergency service in the 72 hours immediately after a rape
  • SANCA
    South Africa National Council on Alcoholism for individual drug/alcohol abuse counselling. Phone any SANCA branch for an assessment: Bellville 021-945-2099, Athlone/Gugulethu 021-638-5116, Khayelitsha 021-364-5510 or Mitchells Plain 021-397-219
  • SADAG (South African Depression & Anxiety Group) for phone counselling 0800-567-567 (toll-free)
  • FAMSA for individual, couple & family counselling.  Phone closest branch: Observatory 021-447-7951, Gugulethu 021-637-6706, Khayelitsha 021-361-9098, Tygerberg 021-946-4744, Worcester 023-347-5231, Elsies River 021-933-0192 or Mitchell’s Plain 021-391-6015
  • CAPE MENTAL HEALTH SOCIETY for information about mental health issues as well as Community Based Support Groups for the mentally ill and their families. Phone 021-477-9040

UWC Vaccination Centre: Registration for 18-Year-Olds and Older

Dear Campus Community,

All staff and students over the age of 18, their children, partners/spouses and their parents/guardians – who are also over 18-years-old – can now receive their COVID-19 vaccination at the UWC Vaccination Centre on the Main Campus. UWC alumni may also receive their vaccination at the centre.

Kindly note the UWC Vaccination Centre is fully operational in the Main Hall from Tuesday to Friday from 09h00 to 16h00.

Vaccination is voluntary.

Issued by: The UWC COVID-19 Response Task Team

The 2021 edition of the UWC Career Update Handbook has been published and is available online at campus-life/resources/office-for-student-development and

https://bit.ly/3ALyHik plus circulated via UWC Career Xplora, Facebook and Twitter.

The Office for Student Development (OSD) is running a reader competition to encourage reading and review of the content.

Job Search Skills Preparation Workshops

We continue with our monthly Job Search Skills afternoon seminars and host the following workshops:

• Discover your CX portal
• CV and LoM writing
• LinkedIn
• Interview Preparation

For the annual collaborations with the Faculty of Education and Faculty of Dentistry CV Writing sessions were presented to the final year Foundation Phase, B Ed IV, PGCE and BChD V classes and the Interview Preparation session will follow.

WhatsApp Career Expo

OSD has entered into a partnership with The Knowledge Trust in order to promote the national “The Education Expo”.  It is a 3-month experience hosted by The Knowledge Trust. Young people are invited to partake in a gamified journey where they will get access to career guidance, bursaries, learnerships and jobs all via WhatsApp from 4th October 2021 – until 28 January 2022.

MONTH 1: Guidance
MONTH 2: Education
MONTH 3: Employment

Students can sign up at:
https://api.whatsapp.com/send/?phone=27613180379&text=expo&app_absent=0

RECENT HIGHLIGHTS
Graduate Competency Development Programme (GCDP)

The interns have been placed in various SDS Departments and they are hard at work supporting the implementation of key projects. It is such a joy to have young people brimming with confidence and sharing with such passion in the exchange of skills. This vindicates the decision taken by SDS to create this important project to expose the talents. Applications for the second intake of GCDP (12 interns) have closed, and over 241 applications have been received, and shortlisting has commenced.

 

We look forward to adding more and join a repertoire of exciting SDS programmes and projects.

LED Talks

The 3rd annual LED talks took place on the 30 September 2020. The keynote speaker, Dr Lwando Scott addressed a thought-provoking topic, “Heritages to come: Monuments to be marginalised”. There was a high level of qualitative engagement from students.

Making Your Mark

This programme has now ignited our next enabler for students, the Exam Buddy Programme. Our OAS Team has been remarkable in working with Faculties in good and growing partnering to provide the best for our students.

The Graduate Development Programme is now focusing on Exam Preparatory skills. The Team can be commended for very relevant and stimulating inputs and discussions in their classes.

The Media Society is entering an exciting phase and the plan for the construction of the Radio Station has been approved. Once the project is completed, it will mark a significant moment towards reinvigorating radio which played an important role in creating a platform for students and on agreement, open a communication channel to share information and open the space for debates and discussions on important institutional matters. I look forward to the new Station and seeing students in action.

 

Prof Pamela Dube
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Development and Support