Apex and Special Projects

Accelerated Excellence Project (AEP)


The AEP was designed to support academically high performing second-year students in their studies and to arm them with enough skills to flourish in the workplace.
The AEP is structured to include monthly lunch time meetings and four residential modules that take place once a term. The modules include:
  • Presentation skills
  • Interview techniques and CV development
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Community development and leadership skills
All four of these modules are aligned to address and embed UWC’s charter of graduate attributes, which include demonstrating a scholarly attitude to knowledge and understanding within a rapidly changing environment, applying their knowledge to solve diverse problems and becoming agents for social good.

Read about the first cohort


Dr Anita MaƱrtin 

Operation Student Success

Project: Student Success and Retention (Vanessa) 
UWC Student Retention & Success Document
UWC Student & Retention Framework


Project: First Year Experience and Transition Programmes

First Year Experience (FYE)

The First Year Experience at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) is a new institutional initiative that started in 2017. FYE aims to provide student-centred initiatives to enhance first year student transition and a quality student experience, thereby enabling students to stay and succeed at UWC. It is anticipated to foster a successful undergraduate student experience through strategic programming that focuses on positive academic transitions and the development of learning communities. Through partnerships with faculties, departments, units, staff, and student leaders; we envisage our FYE to create the space for students to define how they will engage, learn, and thrive at UWC.

First Year Transition Programme (FYTP)

The First Year Transition Programme (FYTP) is part of the FYE that focuses on enhancing first year students’ sense of belonging and connectedness to UWC. The aim is to ensure UWC supports their new incoming students with a smooth transition to the university. First Year Transition Officers (FYTOs) have been appointed in all seven faculties. These FYTOs are trained to ensure correct information, advice and support is offered to all first year students. The FYTOs report to Deputy Deans Teaching & Learning and work closely with the first year lecturers, mentors  and students in their faculties. The programme is coordinated and funded from the DVC Academic’s office by Dr S Pather.

UWC First Year Experience Framework

First Year Experience Framework 

UWC First Year Student Guide

Click on the link to see the first year student guide developed for our new first-time entry students at UWC. We are very proud of this guide as it was a collaborative effect by staff members across departments and units at UWC that contributed to the guidebook. 

Who Are our UWC First Year Students

UWC First Years - learn more about them. Who they are, where they come from. What are their expectations and experiences?

Prof Lawack’s Welcome to First Year Students

Visit UWC FYE Website 

Contact Coordinator: 

Dr Sue Pather 

Project: Tutor Enhancement Programme (TEP) 

In mid 2016, UWC STARS (Student Tutoring for Academic Retention & Success) Tutor Enhancement Programme (TEP) was created to enhance tutoring processes and practices at the University of Western Cape. The aim of TEP is to provide an effective and sustainable tutor programme that contributes to an increased student engagement, sense of belonging as well as academic retention and success. TEP provides an “engaging” tutoring programme that delivers quality tutoring in a collaborative and caring environment. The programme currently runs in all seven faculties and in two associated departments namely The Writing Centre and CIECT. 
Part of the mission of UWC’s TEP  is to ensure that an inclusive environment is created to encourage learning opportunities and student success. Through this process, tutors and tutorials play an important role in creating learning communities that can support student success and strengthen UWC’s graduate attributes. 

UWC Tutor Practices Guidelines
Visit our TEP UWC STARS Website

Contact Coordinator: 

Dr Sue Pather 

Project: Accelerated Excellence Programme

The Accelerated Excellence Programme (AEP) was introduced to UWC as a component of student retention as well as in alignment to UWC’s reward and recognition strategy. The purpose of the programme is to provide high performing second year students with ‘ essential skills’ for the changing world of work.

The AEP was designed to support academically high performing second-year students in their studies and to provide them with competencies required in the changing world of work. The AEP is structured to include monthly lunch time meetings and four residential modules that take place once a term. The modules include presentation skills, interview techniques and CV development, entrepreneurship, community engagement and leadership skills. All four of these modules are aligned to address and embed UWC’s charter of graduate attributes, which include demonstrating a scholarly attitude to knowledge and understanding within the rapidly changing environment, applying their knowledge to solve diverse problems, and becoming agents for social change. 

The AEP is currently in the third year of existence. The major criterion is academic achievement in the first year of study. However, the equity of the group is considered as well. Therefore, the AEP’s participants are regarded as the high performing  first year students across faculties  which may not necessarily be the top achievers in the faculty. Each Dean reviews and approves the selection of the students of their respective faculties.  The students approved by Deans are invited to participate in the AEP.

AEP Graduation: Cohort 1 (2018)

AEP Graduation: Cohort 2 (2019)

AEP students also engage in group projects, such as Mandela Day activities and community engagement projects. An example is the collecting of plastic bottle tops for indigent communities to acquire wheelchairs. 

Project: Phumelela@UWC  

Phumelela@UWC has joined the Siyaphumelela (“We Succeed”) initiative, which is funded by the Kresge Foundation (USA). The Siyaphumelela initiative seeks to broaden evidence-based postsecondary student success strategies across South Africa. At UWC, the Phumelela@UWC project focus is on improving student retention and success. Data analytics will be used to inform practice and monitor student progression and success. UWC’s student retention and success framework will be used to guide a holistic approach to enhance the university’s undergraduate programmes. 

The following three areas will be our focus over the next three years:

Area 1: Strengthening the university’s business intelligence capacity

  1. Project 1: Use the grant to appoint an experienced data analyst, assist with data analytics, research and compiling reports. Initially appointed on a three-year contract basis, to augment the limited current capacity. Further action from BI unit:
    • regular training workshops for faculty staff in support of the implementation of new/revised data tools.
    • at least twice a year, the Unit will convene colloquia in order to share findings and experiences

Area 2: Using Learning Analytics to Enhance Student Support

  1. Project 2: Student support interventions to support student retention and success in a holistic approach, the following actions will be enhanced:
    • Data Analytics to inform practice – SASSE and LASSE -2021
    • Tutorial management system updated – track student attendance, progress, effectiveness and student engagement with learning processes.
    • First Year Transition Programme – first year mentors and first year online module to enhance student connectivity to the institution and support successful transition.
    • Second Year Transition: Make Your Mark (MYM) – offered by CSSS, to identify at-risk students and track and support students.
    • Mental Health and Wellbeing Promotion: CSSS online tool that is interactive, will direct students information needed, resources available on campus and support services.
    • Academic Advising (AA): decentralised model to strengthen AA in faculties. Presently AA done by faculty office with no structured support for students for academic advising; this is something which needs to be developed. 

Area 3: Curriculum and other support interventions

UWC policy document (presently in draft) titled: Principles for Curriculum Transformation and Renewal @UWC,  will inform the unfolding of the curriculum and support interventions in faculties. With the use of data analytics,  three faculties: Arts, Economic and Management Sciences, and Natural Sciences (identified high priority faculties) with the most ‘at risk’ modules and a pass rates below 55% will be used to pilot interventions.
  1. Project 3: Interventions for high priority (at-risk) modules identified in the faculties (data analytics used to identify these modules) lecturers to highlight obstacles/challenges.
    • Interventions need to be identified – process followed for support (grants available) to develop and pilot in innovative teaching and learning resources, such as videos, assessment tools, and online materials (including the use of augmented/virtual reality technologies, which are now available at UWC).
Project Lead: Dr Sue Pather: supather@uwc.ac.za
Co-Leads: Dr Vanessa Brown, Mrs Laetitita Permall & Mrs Elizaberth Booi

Project: Flexible Learning, Teaching and Provisioning 

Project: Curriculum Transformation and Renewal 

Project: TheZone@UWC 

Project: Programme for Academic and Professional Leaders (P4APL)

This leadership programme is to develop UWC’s leadership pipeline and to foster peer learning across faculties and administrative support sectors of the university.  

The 2018/2019 P4APL cohort had 24 staff members. The programme had been reviewed to include modules a module Internationalisation and entrepreneurship which took place in April and June respectively. The cohort completed and graduated in September 2019.

The 2019/2020 cohort commenced the programme in October 2019 by completing a battery of self–insight instruments. The initial session was used as both the introduction, cohort formation as well as completion of the self –insight assessments.  In early November, the candidates had an opportunity to meet in one on one consultation sessions about their with consultants who generated the reports. 

The cohort is currently meeting and completing modules in an online environment.

Project: Pillar Seven 


Continuing Education (CE) is changing at UWC to keep abreast with global and national developments. With the dawn of the 4th Industrial Revolution, higher education institutions are forced to reimagine their CE learning and teaching approaches to remain relevant and responsive to work and learning demands. For this reason, a more demand-driven approach is required for the provision of our CE courses and programmes. Furthermore, more pressure is placed on universities to develop new forms of sustainable income streams and Covid 19 has forced us to broaden our programme delivery modalities, to include face-to-face contact, blended learning and fully online approaches.

What do we mean by Continuing Education?

Continuing Education includes all short courses (ranging from a few hours to several weeks), short learning programmes (more than one “module” or phase, and with multiple summative assessment points), workshops that require a certificate, continuing professional development and similar offerings designed to attract recognition by professional and other regulatory bodies, master classes and other university certificate courses, and any other existing or future type of delivery or teaching and learning intervention that corresponds with this definition.

How are we changing?

Branding Strategy

Exciting new and dynamic branding strategies have been designed to promote the future CE Centre. We have worked closely with colleagues in the university and service providers to advance a more cutting-edge way to learn and teach. An innovative name for the CE Centre has been chosen that emphasises lifelong learning with distinction; a new colourful logo has been selected that represents the seven Faculties as well as the diversity of our communities.

This new brand and logo will be revealed in the next few months at UWC.

Marketing Strategy

With the assistance of service providers, we are planning a more aggressive marketing strategy to advertise the brand to the market. The marketing strategy will also focus on different mediums to include all age groups and market sectors. This will include enhancing our understanding of the national competitor and pricing landscape.

With the support of our ICT team, a new interactive website is in the process of development that will encourage a positive user-friendly interface experience for potential participants. People will be able to access and view our menu of courses, course dates, prices, modes of delivery, course outlines and admission requirements with greater ease.

Benefits to Faculties

The administrative burden will be reduced on Faculties. In order to manage risk and increase income opportunities, the new Centre will focus on the marketing; admin responsibilities which include, client enquiries, application, registration and certification processes, events management and logistical arrangements; finance and debt collection.  The Centre team will work closely with Faculties and the Registrar’s office.

Governance and quality assurance of CE Provision

Proper governance and quality management of all CE provision continue to be the responsibility of the Senate Academic Planning Sub-Committee for Continuing Education. This Committee is accountable to the Deputy Vice Chancellor: Academic ensuring that standard operating procedures are followed and the integrity of these processes across the course value chain. Faculties, on the other hand, continue to have internal oversight of the quality assurance processes such as course design and delivery, and the periodic review of all courses and programmes. 

The way forward…

To demonstrate our intention to deliver quality courses, we are aiming to kick off with three pilot courses towards the latter end of Q1 2021. We are currently working closely with the CIECT team to ensure a well-designed platform for the launch of these courses.

We look forward to you joining us on this new and exciting journey as we change the trajectory of Continuing Education at UWC.