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30 June 2023
UWC Receives International Praise for Student Retention Efforts
The University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) “tremendous job” in contributing to South Africa’s economy, academic and social strengthening has been lauded by an advisor to United States President Joe Biden.
Bill Moses

Bill Moses, the Managing Director of the Kresge Foundation’s Education Programme, visited the University recently to celebrate the three-year partnership between the two institutions.

“One of the reasons we supported the University of the Western Cape is because of its history,” Moses said. “Born as a HDI (Historically Disadvantaged Institution), UWC embraced change in South Africa in the 1970s/80s and then had a renaissance under Professor Brian O’Connell. Under Vice-Chancellor Professor Pretorius, it really has done a tremendous job contributing to South Africa’s economic, academic and social strengthening under often very difficult times.’’  

Last year, Moses was appointed to serve on Biden’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The programme supports postsecondary access and success for low income, first-generation and underrepresented students. An enthusiastic Moses believes such partnerships are crucial for HDIs.

In 2020 the Kresge Foundation awarded the University a grant as part of the Siyaphumelela (We Succeed) Network, a partnership that advocates for an evidence-based approach to enhancing student success.

The initiative, known as Phumelela@UWC, has committed to: 
  • improving student retention and success;
  • using data analytics to inform practice and monitor student progression and success; and,
  • a holistic approach, using UWC’s student retention and success framework as a guide for enhancing undergraduate student success.
  • Moses’s visit also opened discussions about possible partnerships with historically black colleges and universities in the United States for the University. They,  like UWC, are also research-led institutions.  
‘’I know there is a real eagerness from a few universities, about 10 HBCUs, to partner with. Howard University is one, Morgan State University is another. I am sure there would be scholars at those institutions who would be great to bring over,’’ explained Moses.

UWC has enjoyed and sustained a long-standing scholarly relationship with Howard University.

UWC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic, Professor Vivienne Lawack, spearheaded the project and believed it assisted the University with its student retention framework.

“The Siyaphumelela project enabled us to take our operation, especially our student retention and success framework, further. To institutionalise it and to ensure that everybody understands that student success is everybody's business. It helped us to collaborate across executive lines, all with the same goal in mind,’’ said Prof Lawack.

UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, also welcomed the visitors from the Kresge Foundation.  He called for continued relations and used the meeting to explore possible future initiatives with the foundation.
The University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) “tremendous job” in contributing to South Africa’s economy, academic and social strengthening has been lauded by Bill Moses, an advisor to United States President Joe Biden.