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Tonia Overmeyer appointed as Dean of Students at Stellenbosch University
Author: Corporate Marketing/Korporatiewe Bemarking
Published: 01/09/2016

Stellenbosch University (SU) today, 1 September 2016, welcomed a new appointment in the reconceptualised post of Dean of Students.

Ms Tonia Overmeyer, formerly acting Director of the Centre for Student Support Services at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and boasting many years of experience in the student development, governance and leadership domain in higher education, was appointed to the position recently.

SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers, said he is very excited to welcome Ms Overmeyer to the SU family. "I am confident that Stellenbosch University will benefit tremendously from her vast experience in student engagement, support and leadership development. Her appointment will contribute towards making the student voice heard."

"We are delighted in her appointment and look forward to her joining us in the Division of Student Affairs where she will lead the Centre for Student Leadership and Structures," Senior Director: Student Affairs, Dr Birgit Schreiber said. "The Student Affairs Division is made up of three Centres and Tonia will work with the other directors in the Division, Dr Munita Dunn-Coetzee of the Centre for Student Counselling and Development and Mr Pieter Kloppers of the Centre for Student Communities. I am sure that she will complement them very well."

Overmeyer said she is excited at the prospect of serving the SU community and working with colleagues in the Centre for Student Leadership and Structures to build on the success that they have already established. "I believe that with the right nurture, student leaders can become world changers by developing their confidence, competence and connectivity. I feel privileged to play a role in developing students into citizens whose hearts, minds and hands are galvanised to build an inclusive, innovative and future focused Stellenbosch University and beyond. Together we can build a space where students not only experience the best years of their lives, but also build a foundation for a lifetime of better citizenship, contribution and fulfilment."

Overmeyer completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT), obtaining an MBA in 1999. She spent her early career managing the Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development in Cape Town, before joining UWC as manager of the Department for Leadership and Social Responsibility. She later acted as Director of the Centre for Student Support Services.

"Tonia impressed SU's selection and interview panel – made up of staff and students – with her insight and knowledge of the higher education landscape, her engagement with the panel, keen sense of student activism and experience in the student representation and leadership domain," Schreiber added.

She also expressed her gratitude to all involved, including students and student leadership, in the shaping of the vision for the Centre of Student Leadership and Structures, the post, as well as the appointment process. This new Centre for Student Leadership and Structures will boost student governance, co-curricular and leadership programmes and strengthen Student Affairs at Stellenbosch University.


The Student Affairs Division at SU has 3 Centres, all under the leadership of Dr Birgit Schreiber, Senior Director: Student Affairs, which synergize to create a comprehensive and integrated student support and development framework. The three centres are:

Centre for Student Leadership and Structures

The Centre for Student Leadership and Structures is directed by Tonia Overmeyer. This Centre comprises the Frederik van Zyl Slabbert Student Leadership Institute headed by Dr Leslie van Rooi, formal student governance structures and primarily the Student Representative Council, as well as the coordination of the Co-Curriculum and the related second transcript and First Year Academy. The aim with establishing this Centre is to ensure that the University provides comprehensive and coherent leadership experiences for its students, focussing on positional leadership as well as meritorious leadership. These experiences contribute significantly to the development of Graduate Attributes and future employability of our students.

Centre for Student Communities

The second Centre is the Centre for Student Communities, which focusses on residences, communities, transformative conversations and integrating the living and learning spaces into optimal environments which accelerate student development. Mr Pieter Kloppers, the director of this Centre has championed a number of flagship programmes and developed innovative listening, living and learning models which are the benchmark for national and international university residences practices. This Centre focusses on engaging all students, residence and commuter students, in order to ensure a community that is collectively focussed on advancing the goals of our students and the SU.

Centre for Student Counselling and Development

The third Centre is the Centre for Student Counselling and Development and contains a range of professional and integrated services. The units in this Centre include the Unit for Psychotherapeutic and Support Services, the Equality Unit, Unit for Graduand Career Services, Unit for Academic Counselling and Development, and Disability Unit. Each one provides a range of services and is aligned to professional and higher education associations, much like the units in the other Centres. This Centre is led by Dr Munita Dunn-Coetzee who is deeply engaged in broadening the impact of the Equality Unit in order to accelerate transformation.