Science
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

​SU Students' News

 

 

Forward together against gender-based violencehttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7749Forward together against gender-based violenceProf Wim de Villiers​: Rector and Vice-Chancellor <p>Dear member of the Stellenbosch University (SU) community</p><p>I am pleased to announce that the joint working groups established last year to combat gender-based violence (GBV) at our institution have completed their work and published a final report. This lays the foundation for all stakeholders to go forward together against this scourge on our campuses and more broadly in society.</p><p>The report reiterates that SU has a zero-tolerance approach to gender-based violence and is committed to creating an environment and institutional culture free of gender violence and advancing equal rights and social justice for all. We condemn, and will not tolerate, GBV, which is why we are mustering all the resources at our disposal to fight it.</p><p>Let me briefly provide some background. Following nationwide protests against GBV and femicide in 2019, the Anti-GBV Movement SU handed over a memorandum to management, to which we responded. In subsequent meetings, six joint working groups were set up to act systemically to combat GBV and address the issues raised in the memorandum as well as the reply.</p><p>A member of the Rectorate served in each of the six working groups, which also comprised representatives from University structures most relevant to the topics under discussion, as well as from the student body. The working groups reported to the Rectorate, through the Senior Director: Student Affairs, Dr Choice Makhetha.</p><p>The work of the respective groups centred on (1) values and principles, (2) procedures and processes, (3) residences and structures, (4) mental health and alcohol and substance abuse, (5) training and awareness, and (6) safety and security. The groups were tasked to investigate the issues and requested to make specific and implementable recommendations linked to line functions.</p><p>The working groups set about gathering information by hosting meetings and discussion forums on our Stellenbosch and Tygerberg campuses, and distributing questionnaires. To broaden the process, all students and staff were invited to submit written inputs.</p><p>A draft report was submitted to the Rectorate, to which we provided feedback, followed by the final report, which has since been distilled into a draft action plan that aims to address GBV systemically across the University over the short to medium term.</p><p>The final report and draft action plan will be discussed with institutional bodies and other relevant role-players in the coming weeks with a view to finalise the specifics of implementation, including timeframes. Both documents will then be published on the SU website.</p><p>This work will happen through different responsibility centres at the University and will be integrated into the different operational facets of our institution. Regular progress reports will be submitted to the Rectorate.</p><p>However, I must stress that curbing GBV is the joint responsibility of the entire University community. As Dr Makhetha says in her introduction to the report, this is not a fight any group can fight on its own or separately from others. Implementation of the action plan will be monitored on an ongoing basis and progress and achievements reported regularly to the University community.</p><p>The broader context of our fight against GBV is provided by the Constitution of South Africa, the Higher Education Act, other applicable legislation and the current SU Statute (published in 2019). The South African judicial system has the responsibility to deal with criminal procedures in terms of applicable legislation.</p><p>SU has educational and safety measures to curb violence as much as possible. The University has the mandate to act in accordance with our Disciplinary Code for Students, Policy on Unfair Discrimination and Harassment, Use of Alcohol Policy, as well as our disciplinary codes and processes. All of these will be reviewed in relation to the recommendations and shortcomings pointed out in the report of the joint working groups, as well as the key tenets of the recently published Policy Framework to Address GBV in the Post-School Education and Training System.</p><p>All our actions are rooted in our institutional values of excellence, compassion, accountability, respect and equity. We are opposed to all forms of harm to the dignity and well-being of individual members of our university community.</p><p>While allowing for contextual differences, SU will strive to ensure parity on all our campuses with the implementation of various measures flowing from the action plan to eradicate all forms of GBV and inequity.</p><p>I would like to join Dr Makhetha in expressing my gratitude to all the staff members and students who have served on the working groups. We appreciate the work done by everyone involved not only to raise concerns and grievances, but also offer constructive suggestions.</p><p>We remain committed to collaborating with all our staff and students to intensify the institutional efforts against GBV, and to address unacceptable behaviours and practices.</p>Best regards,<br>Prof Wim de Villiers<br>Rector and Vice-Chancellor<br><br>
World-renowned experiential education researcher at SUEEChttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7744World-renowned experiential education researcher at SUEECStudent Affairs / Studentesake<p style="text-align:left;">​Prof Alice Kolb, a world-renowned research and development expert in the field of experiential education will be one of the extraordinary keynote speakers at the <a href="https://www.sueec.com/">Stellenbosch University Experiential Education Conference (SUEEC)</a> in November 2020.</p><p style="text-align:left;">Prof Kolb, President of Experience Based Learning Systems (EBLS), will be engaging with the SUEEC participants as one of the extraordinary keynote speakers on the <a href="https://sueec.com/conference-track-one"><em>Experiential Education and Student Transformation</em></a><strong> </strong>conference track. EBLS, a research and development organisation devoted to research and application of experiential learning in organisations worldwide, she facilitates research and practice initiatives of the international network. EBLS has developed numerous experiential exercises and self-assessment instruments including the latest Kolb Learning Style Inventory 4.0. She recently co-authored the book titled <em>Becoming an Experiential Educator: Principles and Practices of Experiential Learning</em>. Prof Kolb is passionate about creating spaces conducive to deep learning that offer challenge and support to students. She states that it is essential to create learning spaces that develops expertise and sustained lifelong learning and that experiential educators play a critical role in this.</p><p style="text-align:left;">Prof Alice Kolb received her BA in Japanese Studies from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, and MA and Doctorate in Human Resources Management from Hitotsubashi University. She received a MS in Human Resource Management from Cleveland State University and her Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Organizational Behaviour, where she was an Adjunct Professor in the Weatherhead School of Management.</p><p style="text-align:left;">“Professor Kolb believes that experiential education is a philosophy, more than the pragmatic framework and stretches beyond formal academic learning. It is much more than utilising diagnostic instruments, and larger than the institution itself. <strong><em>The Principles and Practices in Conversation</em></strong> SUEEC session is simply a must for all experiential educators as part of our ongoing learning" said Ruth Andrews, Chairperson of the SUEEC Steering Committee and Manager of the SU Co-curriculum Office at Centre for Student Leadership, Experiential Education and Citizenship.  </p><p style="text-align:left;">Participants at the SUEEC can look forward to a panel conversation themed <em>'Experiential Education and Transformative Learning: Principles and Practices in Conversation'</em>, led by Prof Kolb. The SUEEC is a virtual experience conference hosted by CSLEEC at the Division for Student Affairs on 10-11 November 2020. The focus of the <a href="https://sueec.com/conference-track-one"><em>Experiential Education and Student Transformation</em></a><strong> </strong>conference track is to highlight approaches and issues facing experiential educators utilizing experiential education theory and methodology as pedagogy towards social justice and student transformation. Other keynote speakers that will be at SUEEC include Profs <a href="https://sueec.com/speakers-george-kuh">George Kuh</a>, <a href="https://sueec.com/speakers-thuli-madonsela">Thuli Madonsela</a>, <a href="https://sueec.com/speakers-jonathan-jansen">Jonathan Jansen</a>, <a href="https://sueec.com/speakers-arnold-schoonwinkel">Arnold Schoonwinkel</a>, <a href="https://sueec.com/speakers-hester-klopper">Hester Klopper</a>, Dr <a href="https://sueec.com/speakers-choice-makhetha">Choice Makhetha</a> and Mr <a href="https://sueec.com/speakers-mustafa-erdogan">Mustafa Erdogan</a>.</p><ul style="text-align:left;"><li>Early bird registration for the SUEEC was open until 20 September 2020, and normal registration is open until 1 November 2020. Join us on 10-11 November 2020 for this virtual experience.<br></li></ul><blockquote style="text-align:left;"><p><strong>Visit </strong><a href="https://www.sueec.com/"><strong>www.sueec.com</strong></a><strong> and register today join the global conversation at SUEEC 2020</strong>.</p></blockquote>
Matie entrepreneurs off to Las Vegashttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7741Matie entrepreneurs off to Las VegasDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p>​​A journey that started in Stellenbosch University’s Metanoia residence in 2017 has culminated in an invitation to attend Agenda Las Vegas, a streetwear tradeshow in the USA in 2021.​<br></p><p>Stellenbosch University (SU) graduate Abdu-Shakoer Baderoen and his two best friends Chad Mockey (also an SU alumnus) and Ethan Beukes conceptualised and established the brand BRAhSSE while they were still students.</p><p>Baderoen graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing in 2018, while Mockey obtained his BA degree in Geography and Environmental Studies in 2019. Beukes studies at the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography.</p><p>According to Baderoen, they started BRAhSSE to make a meaningful contribution to post-apartheid South Africa by creating a clothing and accessories brand that celebrates unity in diversity.</p><p>"Brasse is the slang word we use for friends in the Cape coloured community," says Baderoen. To differentiate their brand from the original word, they inserted a lowercase h in the middle, which stands for heritage.</p><p>"Our brand represents a fresh, authentic and honest reflection of contemporary South African culture."</p><p>Street fashion offers the opportunity to use what you have to express yourself, he explains. Some of their designs are inspired by the colours of the Bo-Kaap and the 'Klopse' and popular items include bucket hats, T-shirts and hoodies. In 2018, BRAhSSE formed a collaboration with the soft drink brand Jive to use BRAhSSE clothing in Jive’s advertising and promotional material.</p><p>Every now and again they also create an item to encourage critical engagement about certain issues. Last year they released a T-shirt with the image of a gun shooting flowers, to initiate conversations about issues like gang violence. When COVID-19 hit, they started making masks too.</p><p>Baderoen comes from the Strand, where he matriculated from Gordon High School.</p><p>"I come from a disadvantaged background and stay with my single mother and my sister. When I came to Stellenbosch in 2014, I told myself to make the most of the opportunity that I got to study at Stellenbosch University and try my best to change my circumstances."</p><p>Baderoen was a resident and later house committee member of Metanoia, where he was exposed to a many people from different backgrounds, heritages and cultures.</p><p>"I made so many friends and learned a lot from them. This gave me the inspiration for the brand."</p><p>Baderoen and Mockey have not only built a business together – for the past few years they were also together on the rugby field as SU’s well-known mascot "Pokkel" and the Varsity Cup mascot "Prof".</p><p>"It’s been very special to contribute to the gees at Varsity Cup games, as well as people's happiness and enjoyment of the event. Pokkel and Prof were always up to something. We have some great memories," laughs Baderoen.</p><p>It’s been a tough journey for these young entrepreneurs. The business consumes all their free time but Baderoen can’t afford to leave his day job, as he has to support himself and his family. This has made it difficult for the young, small start-up to get funding from government sources.</p><p>"It’s been very hard to balance everything. Sometimes I want to give up," says Baderoen as his voice breaks. "But I think we also inspire other young people, and that makes me happy."</p><p>They are currently raising funds to attend the Agenda Las Vegas show in March next year.</p><p>"We want to go there and do business so that we can create employment and opportunities for other businesses here. We want to show the youth that anything is possible if you just go after your dreams and try your utmost best to make things happen. Hard work will forever be the key to success.</p><p>“We want to make BRAhSSE a proudly South African brand.”</p><p><strong>To support them, visit:</strong></p><p><a href="https://thundafund.com/project/brahssexagendalasvegas" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong>https://thundafund.com/project/brahssexagendalasvegas</strong></a><strong>​</strong><br></p><p><br></p>
Approved 2021 term and examination dateshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7716Approved 2021 term and examination datesRegistrar's Division<p>​The Institutional Committee for Business Continuity (ICBC) recently approved <a href="/english/dates"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1" style="">the term and examination dates for 2021</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1" style="">.</strong></p><p>These dates were determined by taking into account the various factors that have impacted the education sector over the past year and will affect the start of 2021. These include the revised publication date of the matric results on 23 February 2021, as well as a directive by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) that higher education institutions' academic year should commence between 15 March and 15 April 2021. As an institution, we also considered the impact of the finalisation of A4 assessments, the deans' concession exams as well as various logistical issues associated with the academic programme. In addition, we are mindful of the workload of our academic as well as professional administrative support staff, and the need for a proper period of rest before the commencement of classes. ​</p><p>The key implications for the 2021 calendar are as follows:<br></p><ul style="list-style-type:disc;"><li>Classes for all undergraduate students on Stellenbosch campus and for first-years on Tygerberg campus will commence on 15 March 2021. However, senior undergraduate classes offered by the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences on Tygerberg campus will commence in January/February, as per the relevant programme schedule.</li><li>Classes for structured postgraduate programmes will commence at the relevant departments' discretion.</li><li>All other postgraduate studies will commence at the discretion of students and their supervisors (as per usual practice).</li><li>Saturdays will remain examination days during 2021 (as is the case at present) so as to conclude examinations within the available number of days.</li><li>Exams for modules with high enrolment figures will be scheduled for the first two weeks of the examination period to provide lecturers with adequate marking time.</li><li>A4 examinations will be scheduled for late January, early February, to accommodate lecturers' annual leave.</li><li>A4 examinations for final-year modules will take place as early as possible to allow for potential additional admissions to honours programmes.</li><li>The March 2021 graduation will take place over four days, namely 29 March to 1 April.</li><li>The December 2021 graduation will be hosted from 13 to 18 December.</li></ul><p>The detailed 2021 SU almanac is being drafted in consultation with the various institutional stakeholders and will be published by mid-November 2020.<br><br></p>
Let us rebrand Stellenbosch University togetherhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7718Let us rebrand Stellenbosch University togetherCorporate Communication and Marketing Division<p>Stellenbosch University (SU) has embarked on the development of its new brand identity, and the SU community is urged to participate in the process.<br></p><p>With valuable input gained from the previous institutional consultation phase, as well as the constructive input and appeal by Senate for a wider participatory process, the SU community will have the opportunity to help rebrand the University by sharing their views during various engagement processes.</p><p>The engagement process, which commences on Monday 5 October, will be facilitated by the Corporate Communication and Marketing Division. The process will run over several weeks and will include structured information-sharing and engagement sessions, facilitated workshops with core institutional stakeholder groups, and an online survey. The input will form the development of a new visual identity for the University. </p><p>A final proposal will be tabled for approval by Council at its first meeting in 2021. The engagement and approval process will follow the institutional statutory route of recommendations, thus incorporating submissions to the Institutional Forum and Senate, as well as engagement with the SRC, en route to the Council meeting on 13 April 2021.   </p><p>A clear call has been made to ensure that the new visual identity reflects the future vision of SU becoming “Africa's leading research-intensive university, globally recognised as excellent, inclusive and innovative, where we advance knowledge in service of society". </p><p>A new institutional logo should reflect much more than only a refresh of the visual identity as per the initial directive, to demonstrate, unequivocally, the University's commitment to transformation -– thus moving from a brand refresh to a complete brand reform.   ​<br><br></p>
SU’s top students honoured at Rector’s Awardshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7717SU’s top students honoured at Rector’s AwardsCorporate Communication/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Rozanne Engel]<p>​<br></p><p>Stellenbosch University (SU)'s top students who excelled in areas such as academics, leadership and social impact were honoured with Rector's Awards for Excellent Achievement during an online event on Thursday evening (01 October 2020).</p><p>In his opening address, Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, said that student success has always been an important priority to him since he became Rector in 2015. </p><p>“Without students, there is no university, but neither would there be a university without staff. So, we need each other to make the most of the wonderful opportunities that higher education offers us – the chance to broaden our minds and enrich lives, not only our own, but to make a positive impact in society broadly speaking," said De Villiers.</p><p>Vice-Rector: Learning and Teaching, Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, congratulated all the recipients and said that SU was proud to provide development opportunities to students inside and outside the classroom. </p><p>“We feel truly honoured to spend time with such excellent young people. They have made a positive difference at Stellenbosch University, demonstrating excellence on diverse terrains of student life and they are likely to make significant contributions in our country and beyond," said Schoonwinkel.</p><p>Renaldo Schwarp, who received the Student Representative Council (SRC) Award for Exceptional Alumni from outgoing chair Lewis Mboko, was the guest speaker at the event.</p><p>Schwarp is a digital media specialist, radio host and award-winning television presenter and producer, who graduated with a BA degree (Drama and Theatre Studies) from SU in 2012 and thereafter, in 2013, completed his Post Graduate Certificate in Education.</p><p>With more than eight years' experience across multiple platforms within the South African media and broadcast landscape, he currently leads digital at Jacaranda FM, one of South Africa's leading commercial radio stations. He was listed as one of Mail and Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans for 2019 and received a Koker Youth Award at the 2019 Afrikaanse Taalraad (ATR) Koker Awards.</p><p>In his speech, Schwarp congratulated and encouraged students to be “authentic" and take control of their life stories, so they can get better at creating and sustaining resilience.</p><p>“Part of living a happy and wholehearted life has to do with letting yourself (your story) be seen fully. By accepting my story – all of it – and sharing it, I have realised who I am and what my purpose is as a young queer African. The moment I was honest about who I am, what I want to do and where I want to go, the stars aligned."</p><p>In 2019 Schwarp was recognised for his persistent and though-provoking work of reshaping LGBTI+ and coloured narratives across South Africa. In 2019, he executive produced and directed <em>SKEEF: Die Dokumentêr</em>, an independently produced and internationally recognised film on the lived experiences of LGBTI+ South Africans.</p><p>“One of the biggest lesson that I have learned over the years is that it is okay to say, 'yeah, I did a great job' or 'I think I would be great for that position', and 'yeah I deserve this award', because playing small should have no space in your story. As young people, African youth, the sooner we realise authenticity is the birthplace to connection, the better. Owning your power, your skills, and what you can offer the world is one of the greatest qualities you can give to others," said Schwarp.</p><p>The following students were the recipients of the <strong>SU Medal for Top Magister Student</strong>: Esethu Monakali (Arts and Social Sciences), Sarah Selkirk (Science), Alexandra Rust (AgriScience), Willem Wilken (Economic and Management Sciences), Juletha-Marie Dercksen (Law), Ashwin Thyssen (Theology), Marno du Plessis (Engineering), Dr Johan de Wet (Medicine and Health Sciences) and Mariana Clift (Education).</p><p>The other students that received awards for co-curricular achievements were:</p><p><strong>Rector's Award for Excellent Contribution to Culture: </strong>Amber Dawn Fox-Martin</p><p><strong>Rector's Award for Excellent Social Impact: </strong>Emer Butler, Afua Duah, Eugene Greyling, Mlungisi Khumalo and Luigia Nicholas</p><p><strong>Rector's Award for Excellent Service Provision: </strong>Anthony Andrews, Melt Hugo, Danyca Breedt and Taydren van Vuren</p><p><strong>Rector's Award for Excellent Leadership</strong>: Wamahlubi Ngoma, Ntsako Mtileni, Bradley Frolick, Zimbili Sibiya, Zintle Tunce, Akhona Xotyeni, Louiso du Pisanie, Ella Van Rensburg, Tebogo Mphahlele, Mokgeseng Ramaisa, Azhar Nadkar and Kristan Sharpley</p><p>The following students from these faculties also received excellence awards for their academic achievements:</p><p><strong>Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences: </strong></p><ul><li>Hanne Mertens</li><li>Jamie Stolk</li><li>Willem Odendaal</li><li>Benjamin Rayner</li><li>Karo Van Zyl</li><li>Cayley Tarr</li><li>Tyron Cameron</li><li>Meshaan Adelhelm</li><li>Bianca Theron</li><li>Kirsten Dennis</li><li>Daniel Claassen</li><li>Michael Steyn</li></ul><p><strong>Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:</strong></p><ul><li>Dylan Thwaits</li><li>Liesl Lamprecht</li><li>Cameron Williams</li><li>Marguerite Ewert</li><li>Kristen Harding</li><li>Keilidh Clapperton</li><li>David Wolfswinkel</li><li>Tessa Collington-O'Malley</li></ul><p><strong>Faculty of Engineering:</strong></p><ul><li>Marco Ribeiro</li><li>Hans Zietsman</li><li>Daniel Van Niekerk</li><li>Tessa Hall</li><li>Aidan Biet</li><li>Chrystal Udall</li></ul><p><strong>Faculty of Law:</strong></p><ul><li>Ferdinand Botha and Reshard Kolabhai.</li></ul><p><strong>Faculty of AgriSciences:</strong></p><ul><li>Heinrich Geldenhuys</li><li>Juan Sebastian Nieto Lawrence</li><li>Carla Dippenaar</li></ul><p><strong>Faculty of Science:</strong></p><ul><li>Dario Trinchero</li><li>Conrad Strydom</li><li>Jacobie Mouton</li><li>Bryce John Foster</li><li>Michael-Phillip Smith</li></ul><p><strong>Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences:</strong></p><ul><li>Inge Du Toit</li><li>Brandon Franckeiss</li><li>Saskia Louw</li><li>Isabelle Koeul</li><li>Misha Erasmus</li><li>Anja Kruger</li></ul><p><strong>Faculty of Education:</strong></p><ul><li>Mariana Clift</li></ul><p><strong>Faculty of Theology:</strong></p><ul><li>Karla Smit and Micaela Wahl<br><br></li></ul><p><br></p>
Prof Deresh Ramjugernath appointed as SU's new Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teachinghttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7713Prof Deresh Ramjugernath appointed as SU's new Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and TeachingCorporate Communication and Marketing Division<p>Prof Deresh Ramjugernath (48), Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), is the new Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching at Stellenbosch University (SU). The SU Council appointed Ramjugernath in the position at its meeting on 21 September 2020.<br></p><p>He will take up the position on 1 January 2021. </p><p>A highly accomplished higher education executive with substantial management experience, Ramjugernath is a pre-eminent scientist in the field of chemical engineering and specifically in chemical thermodynamics and separation technology. Notably, he served as the DST/NRF South African Research Chair (SARChI) for Fluorine Process Engineering and Separation Technology until 2018.</p><p>Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, says: “We are delighted with this appointment. Prof Ramjugernath is an excellent candidate and well qualified to take over the reins from Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, who will be retiring at the end of the year. Higher education faces immense challenges in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. But, at the same time, exciting opportunities have opened up, and we look forward to exploring the new landscape of learning and teaching with Prof Ramjugernath at the helm."</p><p>Ramjugernath studied at UKZN and obtained the degrees BSc Eng (Chemical) in 1993, MSc Eng (Chemical) that was upgraded to a PhD in 1995 and a PhD in Chemical Engineering in 2000.</p><p>He has successfully graduated over 130 Masters and PhDs students, and supervised over 20 Postdoctoral fellows. Ramjugernath has published in excess of 350 peer-reviewed journal papers and has presented in excess of 300 papers at international conferences. He serves on the board of international journals and profession bodies, e.g. the International Association of Chemical Thermodynamics and the <em>Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data</em>. </p><p>Former positions also include Pro Vice-Chancellor: Innovation, Commercialisation & Entrepreneurship, Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Head of the School of Chemical Engineering – all at UKZN.</p><p>He is a recipient of various national and international awards and a member of various industry and academic bodies, amongst others the Academy of Sciences of South Africa (ASSAf) and the African Academy of Sciences (AAS). </p><p>Ramjugernath is passionate about human capacity development and is a strong believer in a collaborative approach to research capacity development. He holds well-developed views around utilising distance learning to transform the Higher Education market as a whole.</p><p>Says Ramjugernath: “I am very excited to join the ranks of one of the leading higher education institutions on the African continent. It is well managed, effectively governed, comparatively well resourced, and most importantly, has the vision as a higher education institution to uplift the lives of our people, and have significant socio-economic impact.</p><p>“The Learning and Teaching executive portfolio at the institution is an integral and critical component of the university. It is essential that the portfolio is strategically led to effectively and efficiently deliver on its current mandate, but also to disrupt, enhance, and re-purpose itself as higher education evolves in a rapidly changing and challenging landscape, both nationally and globally."</p><p>“As a nation we face many challenges with regard to social and economic upliftment of our citizens, and in moving the country to prosperity for all," says Ramjugernath. “Universities need to play a more significant role in directly impacting society in terms of addressing these challenges – in contributing to social and economic development nationally, and by being leading global producers of knowledge. In order to achieve this, they have to be truly engaged and entrepreneurial, and there must be an unwavering focus on transformation with excellence."</p><p><strong>​Engaging with society</strong></p><p>“The values instilled in our students must assist them in effectively functioning and engaging with society at large and how they contribute to social cohesion and nation building", adds Ramjugernath. “This is an integral aspect of the learning and teaching portfolio that speaks not just to the formal academic curriculum, but to the associated informal curriculum, and the entire student campus experience. With the current COVID-19 crisis, it is even more pronounced that the experience of our students, either virtually or physically, on our campuses will determine our very relevance as higher education institutions.</p><p>“At the same time, in this age of rapid evolution in technology, with in some sectors technologies becoming obsolete within a period of 18 to 24 months, the higher education sector needs to follow suit in terms of evolving and utilizing the latest technology", comments Ramjugernath. “Our curricula and programmes need to be continually updated and revised so that content and the outcomes ensure that our graduates are fit-for-purpose. This includes developing multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary programmes that cater for the jobs of the future," adding that “an emphasis on developing emotional intelligence, entrepreneurial skill-sets, and design thinking should be an integral part of student development, as well as teaching staff development. Experiential learning is an important component that has to be integrated into the curriculum to ensure graduates are fit-for-purpose and can hit the ground running."</p><ul><li>Prof Ramjugernath will succeed Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, who has reached the prescribed retirement age. He has served as Vice-Rector: Learning and Teaching for eight years, preceded by 10 years as Dean of Engineering.<br><br></li></ul>
Communication from Council (meeting of 21 September 2020)http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7704Communication from Council (meeting of 21 September 2020)Corporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie​On Monday 21 September, the Stellenbosch University (SU) Council had its third meeting of 2020. Although the meeting took place on the first day of level 1 of the COVID-19 lockdown, which permits face-to-face gatherings, we decided to proceed online, as we did for the previous two meetings earlier this year.​<div><br><p>In addition to the customary quarterly management report (<a href="/english/management/wim-de-villiers/Documents/Management-Reports/MR%20CNCL%2020200921%201.pdf" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">click here</a>) to Council by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers, another two Rectorate members – the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Prof Stan du Plessis, and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy and Internationalisation (DVC: SI), Prof Hester Klopper – tabled their respective responsibility centres' annual reports.</p><p>The marked and ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on university activities was highlighted in all three management reports. However, as the Rector pointed out, SU continues to pursue the institutional priorities and objectives outlined in its Strategic Framework 2019–2024. </p><p>Council members commended the Rectorate for the way in which they had been managing the complex processes under the various lockdown levels to ensure that students can complete the academic year successfully. Various Council members indicated that they had received positive feedback from external stakeholders on how well SU was doing in staying the course amidst all the uncertainty. However, Council also noted the Rector's report regarding the heavy demands made on staff and students.</p><p>As SU is faced with yet another challenge – this time having to adapt to level 1 – I would like to thank the entire University community for your excellent work, dedication and innovation in the face of adversity. We wish you all the best for the final quarter of this extraordinary year.</p><p>Council had fruitful discussions on various matters, including social media, management diversity and transformation. It was noted that the composition of Council had changed significantly in terms of diversity, from 24% black, coloured, Indian and Asian representation in 2013 to 48% in 2020, and from 13,8% female representation to 32% over the same period. </p><p>Please read on for more details about our meeting.</p><p>Kind regards</p><p><strong>George Steyn</strong><br><strong> Chair: SU Council</strong></p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>Rectorate appointment and reappointments</strong></span> </h3><p>Having considered the shortlisted candidates, Council voted on its preferred candidate to succeed Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel as <strong>Vice-Rector: Learning and Teaching</strong> when he retires at the end of the year. An announcement will be made once the appointment process has been concluded.<br></p><p>Council accepted, with an overwhelming majority, the recommendation of its Human Resources Committee to follow the short procedure for the reappointment of both <strong>Prof Nico Koopman</strong>, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Social Impact, Transformation and Personnel, and <strong>Prof Hester Klopper</strong>, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy and Internationalisation, for a second term in office. The chair of Council will present the relevant documents to Senate and the Institutional Forum (IF) to vote on these two Rectorate members' reappointment, and the results will be presented to Council at its next meeting. Candidates who obtain a majority vote at Council at that stage will be reappointed. </p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>Pivoting online in the time of COVID-19</strong></span></h3><p>Council expressed its appreciation for SU's swift adjustment to emergency remote teaching, learning and assessment in response to COVID-19. In the period under review, <strong>exams</strong> were conducted entirely online for the first time in the University's history. Faculties and departments, lecturers and support divisions made an extraordinary effort in a very short space of time to ensure that the mid-year exams could proceed. The exams went off relatively smoothly, with only a few exceptions. Staff worked under extreme pressure, but extensive support was provided to lecturers, tutors and students. </p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>Multilingualism during emergency remote teaching</strong></span></h3><p>The Language Committee of Council reported on the online initiatives of the <strong>Language Centre</strong> specifically focused on the promotion of multilingualism during emergency remote teaching. Despite many challenges, there have been great successes, which have been well received by staff and students alike. These include the translation of podcasts, online consultations by the Writing Lab, and innovative new online courses and digital marketing amidst COVID-19. The Language Centre has received funding from the <strong>Oppenheimer Memorial Trust</strong> for language-related student support during emergency remote teaching. The Language Committee also reflected on SU's good performance in the e-learning space in terms of developing a completely new pedagogy for online and hybrid learning. </p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>Phased return of students and staff</strong></span></h3><p>Council noted that the University was working on pragmatic plans for the return of staff and students, which was being coordinated by the Institutional Committee for Business Continuity (ICBC). Under level 3, more than 5 000 students who needed to return for practical work and other academic reasons were brought back to SU campuses. Council noted that the University was keen to return to face-to-face tuition as soon as possible, but that there was no point or wisdom in rushing the process.</p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>Donations</strong></span></h3><p>Council expressed its gratitude to donors who had partnered with SU on various projects in recent months (also see the section on multilingualism above).</p><p>The launch of the <strong>Dell Young Leaders</strong> programme at SU was formally announced last week, enabling students from low-income circumstances to receive increased support towards graduation. The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) has pledged R191 million for this programme, which will seek to benefit 1 000 SU students over the next five years. The long-term commitment to SU is for at least ten years. In April, Council undertook to match the top-up scholarship component of the package, which amounts to R75 million.</p><p>The MSDF has also made a significant grant to SU for tailored academic and psychosocial student support, and an extensive programme of additional tutoring is currently being rolled out. In addition, the <strong>Harry Crossley Foundation</strong> has confirmed a special COVID-19 grant, which will enable the University to expand tutoring and mentoring to more students.</p><p>(Google) <strong>DeepMind</strong> have announced that their first postgraduate scholarships in Africa will be awarded to students at SU. Research on artificial intelligence and its real-world applications on our continent is much needed.</p><p>The response to the University's <strong>#MaskedMasterpieces</strong> public art project in Stellenbosch has been very positive. All funds raised will go towards student bursaries.</p><p>The <strong>MSDF</strong> has also made a major COVID-19 grant towards the digitalisation of the intensive care unit at Tygerberg Hospital.</p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>Enrolments for 2020</strong></span></h3><p>As pointed out by the Rector in his report <span style="text-decoration:underline;">(</span><a href="/english/management/wim-de-villiers/Documents/Management-Reports/2020921%20COUNCIL%20Wim%20de%20Villiers%20online.pdf" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">click here</a><span style="text-decoration:underline;"> </span>for a slide show overview), total enrolments at SU now stand at <strong>31 540</strong>, according to the official statistics released by the Division of Information Governance in June. Compared to last year, undergraduate enrolments have increased by 0,7%, and postgraduate enrolments by 0,4%.</p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>Applications for 2021</strong></span><br></h3><p>Since the opening of applications for undergraduate studies in March, the University has been closely monitoring trends to determine whether the coronavirus pandemic would have a negative impact on the numbers. Yet application statistics reveal quite the opposite: Total applications have <strong>increased</strong> by 11%, complete applications by 9%, and provisional offers to candidates by 7%.</p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>SU brand</strong></span></h3><p>Prof Hester Klopper reported on the SU brand renewal project, and the amended process to allow for <strong>more engagement</strong> with stakeholders. Institutional governance structures will be consulted and an electronic platform be put in place for staff, students and alumni to provide online input on different logo design options. Council will be taking the ultimate decision once a final proposal has been tabled at its first meeting of 2021 (on 13 April).</p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>SU in the rankings</strong></span></h3><p>Following a request by Council earlier this year, a report on SU's performance in the world university rankings served at this meeting. Prof Hester Klopper indicated that SU participated in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, ARWU (Shanghai) and Clarivate Analytics – by submitting the requested information – but not in the QS rankings. The report revealed a clear discrepancy between the national HEMIS data and ranking data submitted by South African universities. This may be due to the varied interpretation of the definitions used by the different rankings. Council noted with appreciation <strong>SU's ascent </strong>in the Times Higher Education rankings from the 351–400 band in 2018, to 301–350 in 2019, and to 251–300 in 2020, which position it has maintained for 2021.</p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>Honorary degrees</strong></span> </h3><p>The Council meeting started off with a moment of silence in honour of <strong>Ms Rachel Kachaje</strong>, who would have been awarded an honorary degree in December, but sadly passed away recently. Ms Kachaje tirelessly advocated for equal opportunities and rights for persons with disabilities in Malawi, the rest of Africa and the world. Her honorary degree will be awarded posthumously. Council also paid tribute to <strong>Dr David Piedt</strong>, a former SU Council member and recipient of an honorary degree in March 2012, who had passed away since the last Council meeting. </p><p>Council accepted Senate's recommendation to award six honorary degrees in 2021 and expressed overwhelming support for all six candidates. The recipients are Rwandan paediatrician <strong>Prof Agnes Binagwaho</strong>, Artscape CEO <strong>Ms Marlene le Roux</strong>, Group Chief Executive Officer of Women Investment Portfolio Holdings <strong>Ms Louisa Mojela</strong>, the mathematician <strong>Prof Daya Reddy </strong>and author <strong>Prof Marlene van Niekerk</strong>, and Chairperson of Umalusi <strong>Prof John David Volmink</strong>.</p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>Mid-year financial report</strong></span> </h3><p>Council accepted its Executive Committee's recommendation to <strong>approve</strong> the mid-year financial report (as at 30 June 2020), as required by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). Moreover, while not a DHET requirement, the Executive Committee also recommended the approval of the mid-year financial report for the accommodation budget. </p><p>The full financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the University remains to be seen, but will likely be significant in terms of direct and indirect costs, as well as loss of revenue. </p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>Responsibility centre (RC): Operations and Finance</strong></span></h3><p>COO Prof Stan du Plessis presented Council with a detailed report on activities in Operations and Finance over the past year. This RC is made up of the divisions of <strong>Finance</strong>, <strong>Facilities Management</strong>, <strong>Innovus </strong>and<strong> SUNCOM</strong>, <strong>Maties Sport</strong> and <strong>Information Technology</strong> (IT).</p><p>In 2020, <strong>business continuity</strong> emerged as an overriding objective. The RC head chairs SU's ICBC, an operational platform that facilitates the continuation of SU activities during the national state of disaster in response to COVID-19.<br></p><p>Click <a href="/english/management/wim-de-villiers/Documents/Management-Reports/COO/STANdP_COO%20Report%20to%20SU%20Council%202020_FINAL_PM_7%20SEP%202020.pdf" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">here</a><span style="text-decoration:underline;"> </span>for his full report, and <a href="/english/management/wim-de-villiers/Documents/Management-Reports/COO/Stan%20Council%20Report%20September%202020%202020-09-22%2012_20_09.pdf" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">here</a> for a slide show. Highlights follow below:<br></p><h4><span lang="EN-GB"><strong>Academic ICT support</strong></span></h4><p>SU's IT Division played a major part in helping the University's academic community transition from on-campus to mostly online functioning. With up to ten times more students now using SUNLearn at any given time, a more powerful server had to be installed on an emergency basis to cope with the increased workload.</p><h4><span lang="EN-GB"><strong>Sweating SU's assets</strong></span></h4><p>Innovus, the University's technology transfer company, has set up five new spin-out companies this year, and is working on another one, which would make 2020 a record year in this respect. Nonetheless, the financial and other effects of the pandemic on SU's group of companies are cause for concern.</p><h4><span lang="EN-GB"><b>Maties Sport</b></span></h4><p>Maties Rugby retained the Varsity Cup in 2020, continuing their winning streak from 2018 and 2019. Maties Netball reached the finals of the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament. Most importantly, SU's high-performance athletes achieved an 85% pass rate in 2019, thanks in no small measure to the PACER programme.</p><h4><span lang="EN-GB"><strong>World-class facilities</strong></span></h4><p>Facilities Management looks after more than 400 SU buildings. SU continues to be one of the largest property developers in the Western Cape, with projects of more than R2 billion under way.</p><h4><span lang="EN-GB"><strong>Interactive campus map</strong></span></h4><p>In April, the University introduced an interactive campus map (click <a href="https://campusmap.sun.ac.za/" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">he​re</a>), which will benefit not only students, but also the local community and prospective students. The map has a search tool that allows users to easily find facility types such as parking areas, libraries and faculty buildings on four of SU's campuses.</p><h4><span lang="EN-GB"><strong>Environmental sustainability</strong> </span></h4><p>SU's electricity usage is actively being reduced through infrastructural and other interventions. This resulted in a dramatic drop in carbon emissions of 5 828 tons between 2016 and 2019. The University also built its first large photovoltaic (PV) installation on the roof of the Neelsie student centre this year.</p><p>SU's water optimisation project was named a runner-up in this year's International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) awards in May. Phase 1 of the greywater system on Stellenbosch campus managed to reduce both municipal potable water consumption and irrigation water usage by 50%. In addition, more than 250 electronic water meters were installed, enabling the monitoring of hourly water consumption at 95% of University buildings.</p><h4><span lang="EN-GB"><strong>Campus security</strong></span></h4><p>Reported crime incidents on SU campuses have been on a downward trend since 2016. Contributing factors include the annual reassessment of high-risk areas, the expansion or redeployment of services to address these risks, as well as close collaboration with local authorities, law enforcement and student leaders. State-of-the-art security technology has further contributed to the decline in the crime rate.</p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>RC: Strategy and Internationalisation</strong></span></h3><p>Prof Hester Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy and Internationalisation, too provided Council with an extensive report her RC's activities the past year. This includes the divisions of <strong>Strategic Initiatives</strong>, <strong>Information Governance</strong>, <strong>Corporate Communication and Marketing</strong>, as well as <strong>SU International</strong>. Click <a href="/english/management/wim-de-villiers/Documents/Management-Reports/DVC%20SI/SI%20Annual%20Report_Sep%202020_Council_ENG.pdf" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">h​ere</a> for her full report, and <a href="/english/management/wim-de-villiers/Documents/Management-Reports/DVC%20SI/Annual%20Report%20Presentation_Sept2020_Council.pdf" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">here</a><span style="text-decoration:underline;"> </span>for a slide show.</p><p>This RC's work cuts across all six of the University's core strategic themes as set out in SU's Strategic Framework 2019–2024. RC highlights in each of these areas the past year are as follows:</p><h4><span lang="EN-GB"><strong>A thriving Stellenbosch University</strong></span></h4><p>T​he visual implementation and roll-out of SU's <em>Vision 2040 and Strategic Framework </em><em>2019–2024</em> continued this past year. The RC also hosted workshops about the University's values and started work on the development of a code of conduct for SU.</p><p>Strategic management indicators (SMIs) were finalised to guide the University in implementing its strategy towards achieving its vision. An SU scorecard was created as an innovative tool to track progress, using visualisation software to create effectiveness dashboards in particular areas.</p><h4><span lang="EN-GB"><strong>A transformative student experience</strong></span></h4><p>In order to advance internationalisation, SU provides opportunities for both incoming and outgoing student mobility. In 2019/20, income of R7,2 million was generated through incoming Study Abroad students (170) and short-programme participants (295 students). This, in turn, helped cover the R5,7 million's travel bursaries awarded to 304 SU students for semester exchanges and summer school or short-programme participation abroad.</p><h4><span lang="EN-GB"><strong>Purposeful partnerships and inclusive networks</strong></span></h4><p>SU's Africa Collaboration Grant has proven to be an invaluable mechanism to support research as well as teaching and learning activities between SU and other African universities. For 2019/20, a total of 68 grants valued at R2,2 million were awarded.</p><p>SU continues its engagement through multilateral collaborations and networks. These include the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global University Leadership Forum (Rector), the WEF Knowledge Partners Network (DVC: SI), Venice International University (with SU being the first African university to join this group of leading international universities), the International Sustainable Campus Network, the Academic Consortium for the 21<sup>st</sup> Century, the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate, and the South Africa-Sweden University Forum.</p><h4><span lang="EN-GB"><strong>Networked and collaborative teaching and learning</strong></span></h4><p>The annual summer and winter schools of SU's African Doctoral Academy have long been a way of boosting the PhD journeys of our continent's postgraduate students. The offering has now been expanded to include online courses, including a spring school.</p><p>Several successful joint schools were presented in partnership with universities elsewhere on the African continent, including in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Nigeria, over the past year. The joint schools programme includes the Emerging Scholars initiative in collaboration with the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS).</p><h4><span lang="EN-GB"><strong>Research for impact</strong></span></h4><p>The RC: SI helps support the research goals of the University by nurturing research partnerships and participating in research networks such as the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) and the Southern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence (SANWATCE). SU is also host to the secretariat of Periperi U (Partners Enhancing Resilience for People Exposed to Risks).</p><h4><span lang="EN-GB"><strong>Employer of choice</strong></span></h4><p>SU provides staff mobility programmes through bilateral exchange agreements, the BRICS Mobility Grant, Erasmus+ training and teaching networks, the International Collaboration Mobility Grant, and the University's staff development programme. </p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>Council members</strong></span></h3><p>Council welcomed a new member, <strong>Dr Lihle Qulu</strong>, a neuroscientist and senior lecturer in Human Physiology in SU's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Having been elected by permanent academic staff (non-Senate members) for the term 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2022, she will be filling the vacancy left by Prof Johan Fourie, who is now a member of Senate.</p><p>Council also congratulated <strong>Prof Amanda Gouws</strong>, who had been invited to act as an advisor for the World Bank's Country Gender Report; <strong>Prof André Keet</strong>, who had accepted a position as vice-rector at Nelson Mandela University; <strong>Dr Tsakani Ngomane</strong>, who will be joining the University of Pretoria as a senior lecturer; and <strong>Ms Christelle Feyt</strong>, who had been appointed as SU's senior director of Corporate Communication and Marketing.</p><p>Moreover, Council took leave of <strong>Mr Lewis Mboko</strong> and <strong>Ms Ingrid Heydenrych</strong>, both members of the outgoing Students' Representative Council (SRC), with appreciation for their services to Council over the past year. The new SRC members serving on Council will attend the meeting in November. </p><p>Council confirmed the appointment of <strong>Ms Nadine Moodie</strong> to its Investment Committee. Ms Moodie, who had been nominated by the Investment Committee, will be replacing Prof Johan Fourie, whose term expired in June.</p><p><strong>Prof Reggie Nel</strong>, dean of the Faculty of Theology and a Council member, was appointed to the Social and Business Ethics Committee (SBEC) as substitute for Prof Fourie. </p><h3><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>Next meeting</strong></span> </h3><p>The next meeting of the SU Council is scheduled for <strong>30 November 2020</strong>. <br></p></div>
Bridging the gap between academia and job opportunities with Stellenbosch University's New Techpreneurship Cenhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7700Bridging the gap between academia and job opportunities with Stellenbosch University's New Techpreneurship CenInnovus & LaunchLab<p>​</p><p>In February 2021 the Stellenbosch University LaunchLab in partnership with SU School for Data Science and Computational Thinking will be launching its newly established SU Techpreneurship Centre. The goal is to provide final year students and/or recent graduates with an opportunity to be part of a 6-week coding and entrepreneurship programme. They will then be placed with a startup and/or industry partner in the form of a fixed-term internship to work on real-world problems and/or projects.</p><p> Keenan Stewart, Senior Service Delivery Manager from SU LaunchLab, said the Techpreneurship Centre will leverage off Stellenbosch University expertise in Data Science, Machine Learning, Robotics & Business Incubation to promote entrepreneurial activities while providing students with a pragmatic learning environment, as well as job placement into companies upon graduation.</p><p> “The new SU School for Data Science and Computational Thinking would support and develop a coding programme, while the SU LaunchLab will focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and business fundamentals through its incubation program. The result will be an inspiring, pragmatic, entrepreneurial initiative for all SU students," said Stewart.</p><p> In terms of SU's Vision 2040 the initiative sees this collaboration contributing to creating a transformative student experience in that this learning journey will provide a seamless transition into the workforce through practical experience with SU LaunchLab startups and its partners.</p><p>Stewart said students and graduates will have the opportunity to learn coding skills for mobile application and web development, as well as entrepreneurship, innovation and soft skills needed in modern-day business. “We will curate a custom learning journey for developers to gain the most relevant skills required for a tech-enabled business."</p><p> In Sub-Saharan Africa as many as 230 million jobs will require digital skills by 2030 – illustrating how crucial future demand for work-ready graduates is.  SU Techpreneurship Centre will create a critical link between classroom studies and real-world experience by providing a tested path to startup companies eager for a junior developer pipeline.</p><p> <strong>Important dates</strong></p><p>●      Applications open: 01 Oct 2020</p><p>●      Applications close: 15 Nov 2020</p><p>●      Interviews:  19 Nov 2020</p><p>●      Selection:  23 Nov 2020</p><p>●      Program: 01 Feb 2021 - 12 Mar 2021</p><p>●      Internship: 01 Apr 2021 - 30 Sep 2021</p><p> If you are interested and would like to pre-sign up for the program, please complete form<a href="https://airtable.com/shrQ6KfgNBva5CVyW"> </a><a href="https://airtable.com/shrQ6KfgNBva5CVyW">HERE</a>.<br></p><p><br></p>
Learn basic sign language online for freehttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7693Learn basic sign language online for freeCorporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking<p>​</p><p>The Stellenbosch University (SU) Disability Unit has made it easier for staff and students to learn South African Sign Language (SASL) by making its SASL course available online for the next four weeks. </p><p></p><p>The online offering of this popular course will commence this week and will be offered free of charge. </p><p></p><p>“SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers declared 2020 as the Year for Persons with Disability at SU, but as we were planning our activities for the year, we were soon confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Dr Marcia Lyner-Cleophas, Head: Disability Unit at the Centre for Student Counselling and Development. </p><p></p><p>“Nevertheless, we planned to still engage in activities but to shift these into the virtual environment. As it is the Year of Disability at SU, we have opened up a four-week series of two SASL videos per week that anyone can access and learn basic signs in their free time,” explains Lyner-Cleophas. </p><p></p><p>Participants will receive eight videos at no cost. The SASL course will continue next year with six on-campus session at a minimum cost of R120. These videos will be compulsory should participants wish to continue with the SASL course in 2021. </p><p> Send an email to <a href="mailto:disability@sun.ac.za">disability@sun.ac.za</a> to register for this course. </p><p></p><p>· Deaf Awareness Month is observed in September in South Africa and is part of the International Deaf Awareness Month. Earlier this month, the Pan South African Sign Language Board (PANSALB) published the <a href="https://www.gov.za/speeches/pan-south-african-sign-language-board-launches-south-african-sign-language-charter%C2%A0%C2%A0-4-sep" target="_blank">South African Sign Language Charter</a>, given the lack of access that still largely exists for deaf people in South Africa. </p>