Student Affairs
Welkom by Universiteit Stellenbosch



SU’s Faculty of Science awards four joint international degrees’s Faculty of Science awards four joint international degreesWiida Fourie-Basson (Media: Faculty of Science)<p>​​Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Science this week awarded four joint PhD degrees with universities in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy in the fields of chemistry, physics, microbiology, and zoology.<br></p><p>A joint degree means that the students were co-supervised by a researcher from both universities, spending time at each institution to work on their research. Based on an agreement between the two universities, the degree is then awarded by both institutions.</p><p>Dr Dina Miora was awarded a PhD in physics from SU and the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany; Dr Wessel Myburgh a PhD in microbiology from SU and the University of Padova, Italy; Dr Gestél Kuyler a PhD in polymer science and molecular pharmacology from SU and Coventry University in the United Kingdom; and Dr Laurie Araspin a PhD in Botany and Zoology from SU and the <em>Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle</em> (MNHN) in France.</p><p>Altogether 37 PhD, 75 MSc, and nine BScHonours degrees were awarded at the graduation ceremony on 26 March 2024 at the Coetzenburg Centre in Stellenbosch.<br></p><p>Myburgh says his research benefited immensely from the international exposure: “The expertise of the two groups complemented each other perfectly. In my case, Prof. Lorenzo Favaro's research group has experience in converting waste to energy using microbial technologies based on anaerobic digestion. They also have a wealth of knowledge in bioplastic production. Both these fields were lacking in our group. We, on the other hand, have a very strong background in recombinant yeast expression systems for fungal hydrolase production. I would not have been able to make so much progress in my PhD if it was done at either of the institutions alone."</p><p>Kuyler says her experience was both transformative and challenging: “Pursuing a dual-award PhD with the goal of bridging the disciplines of Polymer Science and Molecular Pharmacology was a daunting task, especially considering my limited prior knowledge in the latter. I am immensely thankful for this invaluable opportunity that has enabled me to expand my knowledge and develop into a versatile, multidisciplinary scientist."</p><p>Araspin's study leader, Prof. John Measey, says the joint degree came about as an extension of an ongoing collaboration between himself and Dr Anthony Harrell at the MNHN in France: “We were interested in finding out extreme differences between populations of frogs that live natively in South Africa and invasive populations in France. The biggest advantage was certainly for the student to have spent time in both countries, working on a topic important to both countries." Measey is a senior researcher at the Centre for Invasion Biology at SU.</p><p>Miora, who is also an alumnus of the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar, says the experience in Germany gave her the opportunity to work in an advanced and fully equipped laboratory: “It was rather quick to fix any work-related problems given the extensive human and materials resources at hand. At SU, each student project is quite different, even though we are all working in photonics. While it takes longer to solve an issue, because only my supervisor fully understands the problem, it also provides us with valuable skills to solve most problems by ourselves. In the end, being able to both work in a team and independently are valuable career skills," she says.</p><p>Despite having to cope with new languages and cultures, as well as the significant additional administrative burden of navigating the systems and requirements of another university, the students agree that it was a worthwhile and life-changing experience. </p><p>Prof. Louise Warnich, Dean of the Faculty of Science at SU, says international partnerships and joint degrees are very important for a research-intensive faculty: “It strengthens our ability to tackle important issues by joining forces with international specialists. It also offers an opportunity for our PhD students to become part of international networks early in their careers, and to gain access to specialist knowledge and facilities."</p><p>Both Kuyler and Myburgh's research also led to the registration of international patents and the establishment of spin-out companies <a href="">Nanosene</a> and <a href="">Urobo Biotech</a>. Miora is currently a postdoctoral fellow and image analyst at the Medical Research Council (MRC) <a href="">Laboratory of Molecular Biology</a> (LMB) in Cambridge, England.<br></p><p>On the photo above, from left to right, Dr Gestél Kuyler, Dr Wessel Myburgh, and Dr Dina Miora. <em>Pho</em><em>to: Stefan Els</em><br></p><p>​<br></p>
From Madagascar to the world with a PhD in physics Madagascar to the world with a PhD in physicsWiida Fourie-Basson (Media: Faculty of Science)<p>​​​Hailing from a rural village in Madagascar, Dr Dina Miora's academic journey has taken her to South Africa and Germany and today she is employed as a postdoctoral scientist and image analyst at the Medical Research Council (MRC) <a href="">Laboratory of Molecular Biology</a> (LMB) in Cambridge, England.</p><p>When she walks over the stage to be capped with a PhD in Physics from Stellenbosch University (SU) and the Friedrich-Schiller University Jena during SU's March graduation ceremony, she has literally and figuratively navigated a long journey marked by overcoming more than one cultural and language barrier, as well as the occasional bouts of home sickness. </p><p>But despite these challenges, during her postgraduate studies she also established a non-profit organisation called <a href="">Itatra</a> with the aim of providing “a better and equal education for all" in Madagascar. According to recent surveys, the number of high school learners majoring in physics, chemistry, and mathematics in Madagascar have dropped from 11% to only 5% between 2007 and 2017. Moreover, the field of optics, her speciality, is not offered at higher education institutions or only offered as a minor subject. 'Itatra' is the Malagasy word for expansion.</p><p>In 2022 she organised a two-week outreach initiative called “Vision" to three high schools in rural Madagascar with the goal of helping learners to see and understand the world through a lens. Supported by funding from <a href="">SPIE</a> (the international society for optics and photonics) learners also received diffraction glasses, as well as fun activities with modular optics <a href="">educational kits</a> from <a href="">OpenUC2</a>. In 2023 she again reached out to the same schools with a <a href="">photo contest</a> to celebrate the International Day of Light. </p><p><strong>From Madagascar to South Africa and the world</strong></p><p>Dina grew up in the rural village Fenoarivo-Be, about 180km from the capital Antananarivo, from where she went on to study mathematics at the University of Antananarivo.</p><p>A lecturer introduced her to the opportunities offered by the <a href="">African Institute for Mathematical Sciences</a> (AIMS) in Muizenberg, South Africa. AIMS is a pan-African network of Centres of Excellence for postgraduate training in the mathematical sciences. </p><p>Participating in AIMS' structured master's programme in 2016, she was introduced to laser physics when she chose to pursue a physics-related project to localise single fluorescent molecules moving in time in noisy images. remove noise from microscopic images. Under the guidance of her study leaders, emeritus professor Erich Rohwer and Dr Gurthwin Bosman at SU's <a href="">Department of Physics</a>, she then obtained an AIMS/DAAD bursary to pursue an MSc in laser physics. Her project focused on the development of microscopical techniques to determine the 3D position and orientation of single molecules.  </p><p>During this time, she met Prof. Rainer Heintzman, head of the <a href="">Department of Microscopy</a> at the Leibnitz Institute of Photonic Technology in Germany, during a workshop of the <a href="">African Laser Centre</a>. According to Dr Bosman, he was so impressed with her work that they started talking about a possible cotutelle for her PhD – this is when a student is jointly enrolled at two universities and spends time at each university. </p><p>At the time, Dina says, the exposure was intense: “Prof. Heintzman was so knowledgeable, and I felt as if I knew nothing. At the same time the meeting made me gain a totally new perspective of the importance of my research."</p><p>For her PhD research, Dina developed new techniques to optimise the modelling of optical systems in order to improve the quality of microscopic images. To achieve that, one requires simulation techniques that are sensitive to images that may be distorted.</p><p>Dr Bosman explains: “An image is like a painting, and if one can determine well enough the width and thickness of the paint brush, then you can mathematically eliminate the impact of finite width and thickness and thereby retrieve a high quality and more accurate painting."</p><p>For her work at the MRC's Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge, she is involved with both research and hands-on projects: “We are currently working with a research group at the University of Cambridge that has developed a software code for tracking single molecules. My task now is to test the efficiency and accuracy of their software," she explains.</p><p>As image analyst, she also handles requests from biologists about image processing and analysis: “They take images of their samples with microscopes, and our task is to help them extract the information that they need from these images." </p><p>For overcoming the language barrier in her field of research, Dina says it helped to avoid Google translate as much as possible: “With research and studies, the language is quite standardised. I found it more effective in the long run to look for the definition of a difficult word in the same language, rather than falling back on Google translate." </p><p>Verbal communication in social situations was, however, a different matter: “I had to learn to be more observant and to understand the context and the culture. It really helped being in a community of people with similar interests and values because it provided a safe zone to practice the new language and immerse yourself in another culture."</p><p>She plans to continue her <a href="">outreach activities</a> to promote physics, chemistry, and optics at high schools in Madagascar: “I believe that education plays an important role in the development of my country. I will continue my outreach activities wherever in the world I find myself. If I happen to stay outside of Africa, I will like it if I can come back from time to time to give training on image processing and analysis," she concludes.</p><p><strong>On the photo above: </strong>Dr Dina Miora at the custom-built microscope set-up in the Department of Physics at Stellenbosch University. <em>Photo: Stefan Els</em></p><p><br></p>
​ Motsepe Foundation donates R800 000 to SRC-driven initiatives​ Motsepe Foundation donates R800 000 to SRC-driven initiatives Lynne Ripppenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">​The Students' Representative Council (SRC) of Stellenbosch University (SU) recently received a donation of R800 000 from the Motsepe Foundation to spend on SRC-driven initiatives that benefit students. The cheque handover took place at an event held in Sandton in Johannesburg.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The SU SRC was one of a number of student governance structures at 26 universities across South Africa to benefit from the overall donation of R30 million made by the Foundation.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">SRC President Phiwokuhle Qabaka, and Thulani Hlatshwayo, Coordinator: Student Governance at SU, received the cheque from Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, CEO and Co-Founder of the Motsepe Foundation, and Dr Rejoice Simelane, Executive Director at Ubuntu-Botho Investments and non-executive Director of African Rainbow Capital Proprietary Limited. Hlatshwayo works in the Unit for Student Governance in the Centre for Student Life and Learning, which forms part of the Division Student Affairs (DSAf).<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The donations form part of several financial commitments the Foundation has made to SRC-driven initiatives focused on student debt, student mental wellness, and gender equality efforts and women's wellbeing – all issues that align with the Foundation's work. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In an invite issued to the SU SRC by Melissa Anthony, Manager: Education and Projects at the Motsepe Foundation, the Foundation believes that SRCs play “an important role in ensuring a balance between students' academic performance and their social support".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Whilst the Motsepe Foundation has initiated several interventions to support the access, throughput and wellbeing of our bursary recipients, we believe that supporting student-led initiatives adds value to the various interventions deployed by diverse stakeholders," wrote Anthony.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>​Photo: SU's SRC President (third from the left), Phiwokuhle Qabaka, and Thulani Hlatswayo (far right), Coordinator: Student Governance in the Unit for Student Governance, received a cheque donation of R800 000 from Dr Rejoice Simelane (far left), Executive Director at Ubuntu-Botho Investments and non-executive Director of African Rainbow Capital Proprietary Limited, and Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, CEO and Co-Founder of the Motsepe Foundation.</em></p>
Multilingualism enriches students' educational experience – Prof Deresh Ramjugernath enriches students' educational experience – Prof Deresh RamjugernathDeresh Ramjugernath<p>​By championing multilingualism in both academic and social spaces, we not only enrich the educational experience for our students but also prepare them to thrive in an increasingly interconnected and diverse world. This is the view of Prof Deresh Ramjugernath (Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning) in an opinion piece for <em>The </em><em>Star </em>in celebration of International Mother Language Day on 21 February.</p><ul><li>Read the article below or click <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>for the piece as published.</li></ul><p><strong>Deresh Ramjugernath*</strong><br></p><p>In an increasingly interconnected world, where globalisation often threatens to overshadow individual cultures and languages, the celebration of <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">International Mother Language Day</strong></a> on 21 February serves as a powerful reminder of the intrinsic value of linguistic diversity. In addition, the ability to communicate and collaborate across cultures and languages has become a vital skill.</p><p>UNESCO, an organisation deeply invested in the preservation of cultural and linguistic diversity, champions the notion that societies thrive when they embrace and celebrate their linguistic heritage. It is through language that traditions are passed down from generation to generation, enriching our collective understanding of the world and fostering tolerance and respect for others. Yet, linguistic diversity is increasingly under threat as more and more languages face the risk of extinction.<br></p><p>According to recent stats shared by <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">UNESCO</strong></a>, globally, a staggering 40 percent of the global population lacks access to education in a language they speak or understand. This statistic is a stark reminder of the urgent need to prioritise multilingual education, particularly in early schooling, to ensure that all individuals have the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive in their own linguistic contexts. Mother tongue education not only supports learning and literacy, but also lays the foundation for the acquisition of additional languages, fostering a culture of lifelong learning and intergenerational knowledge transfer.</p><p>It is, therefore, fitting that the theme of this year's International Mother Language Day is, "Multilingual education is a pillar of intergenerational learning," because it speaks to the transformative power of language in shaping the educational landscape, especially the higher education sector.  This is particularly relevant in a country like South Africa where some students arrive at university without the language skills required to be successful at this level. <br></p><p>At Stellenbosch University, we are committed to providing our students with opportunities to engage with multilingualism both inside and outside the classroom. We recognise that multilingualism isn't just a concept; it's a vibrant tapestry woven into the fabric of our identity and a cornerstone of our commitment to fostering inclusive academic and social practices. That is why we take multilingual education seriously. Multilingualism, which is the coexistence of multiple languages, not only enriches our understanding of different cultures but also enhances cognitive abilities, problem-solving skills, and adaptability. <br></p><p>Over the past few weeks, our Language Centre has spearheaded initiatives aimed at deepening our engagement with multilingualism. Through pre-Welcoming workshops and collaborative efforts with student leaders, we have created spaces where language serves as a bridge rather than a barrier, fostering an environment where every voice is heard and valued.<br></p><p>Our commitment to multilingualism extends beyond social interactions; it permeates into the academic realm as well. Collaborative projects such as the development of a comprehensive slide pack on multilingualism and initiatives like the National Writing Centres Competition underscore our dedication to nurturing linguistic talent and promoting cross-cultural exchange.<br></p><p>Promoting multilingualism holds immense importance both socially and academically. Firstly, it fosters cultural understanding and respect by facilitating communication among diverse linguistic and cultural groups, nurturing a sense of global citizenship. Academically, it ensures inclusivity and equal access to education by accommodating students whose first language may differ from the dominant instructional language. <br></p><p>Moreover, multilingualism offers cognitive benefits like improved problem-solving, creativity, and multitasking skills, enhancing academic performance and mental agility. Professionally, proficiency in multiple languages opens up opportunities in the global job market, allowing individuals to communicate effectively across borders. Additionally, it plays a crucial role in preserving linguistic diversity, vital for maintaining cultural heritage and identity. <br></p><p>Multilingualism also strengthens communication skills, enabling effective interaction in various contexts, both socially and academically. Furthermore, it promotes tolerance, empathy, and global citizenship by exposing individuals to different languages and cultures, fostering a broader perspective on global issues. Overall, promoting multilingualism enriches lives, builds stronger communities, and contributes to a more interconnected and inclusive society.<br></p><p>As we celebrate our successes, it's important to acknowledge the work that lies ahead. We must continue to expand our efforts to provide resources and support for multilingual education, ensuring that linguistic diversity thrives at every level of our institution. By championing multilingualism in both academic and social spaces, we not only enrich the educational experience for our students but also prepare them to thrive in an increasingly interconnected and diverse world.<br></p><p>Ultimately, embracing multilingualism is about more than just speaking different languages; it's about fostering understanding, empathy, and connection across cultural divides. As we commemorate International Mother Language Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to celebrating the richness of linguistic diversity that defines us as a university community. Together, let us continue to build a future where every voice is heard, respected, and valued.<br></p><p><strong>*Professor Deresh Ramjugernath is Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at Stellenbosch University.​</strong></p><p>​<br></p>
Stellenbosch University’s Gradlinc show exceptional growth in first year University’s Gradlinc show exceptional growth in first yearPetro Mostert<p>​Stellenbosch University's startup company Gradlinc — an innovative graduate career development platform — signed up more than 4 200 students and 250 companies in just over one year.<br></p><p>This innovative platform that connects employers, graduates, and universities country-wide was launched at the beginning of SU's graduation week on 5 December 2022. Gradlinc is a must-needed solution to connect employers, graduates, and universities on a national cloud-based platform. The platform's unique matching algorithm ensures that employers' job requirements match very precisely with the graduates' skillset. Stellenbosch University's innovation division, Innovus, funded this initiative.</p><p>As a response to the critical need to bridge graduates with opportunities during their studies and as fresh graduates, the Gradlinc journey began with the recognition that many tertiary institutions faced similar graduate employment challenges, with only a handful having dedicated job portals for students. In a bold move, Gradlinc decided to build a national platform to remove barriers for all students.</p><p>The platform witnesses daily sign-ups from university students nationwide, representing 23 of the 26 public universities, with ongoing efforts to onboard students from private universities and institutions. Most sign-ups are undergraduate students, followed by Honours, Masters and Doctoral students. Altogether, 20 percent of students studied degrees in Arts and social sciences, followed by BSc Human Life Sciences, BSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, LLB, International Studies, Management Sciences, and Financial Accounting, with Engineering Science and Medical Sciences not far behind.</p><p>A recent testimonial read: “As an aspiring BSc Human Life Sciences graduate, job hunting was a frequent and often very stressful activity. Not only did Gradlinc help me with the job searching process, but it was also such a simple and user-friendly website. The platform allows companies to post jobs and internships available to recent graduates, which is extremely helpful. Gradlinc allowed for a quick and easy application process and provided the utmost assistance in finding the right job for me."</p><p>“The story of Gradlinc is one of developing African solutions for African problems, bringing the solution to those who can benefit. It's a testament to the collective effort required to address graduate employment in South Africa," said Lizane Füzy, General Manager of Gradlinc.</p><p><strong>Enhancing a graduate's employability</strong></p><p>Gradlinc's latest addition is the Gradlinc Employability Award, a program, designed to acknowledge and reward activities like volunteer work and workshop attendance, and allows students to earn points reflected as badges on their profiles, making it easier for employers to recognise employable talent. “With plans to extend this program to schools in 2024, Gradlinc is actively contributing to enhancing students' employability from an early stage and facilitating a strong foundation to build successful careers," said Füzy.</p><p>In January this year, Gradlinc initiated a modern online job shadowing experience through a weekly webinar series titled "<em>A day in the life</em>," where Industry professionals join live sessions and share their insights into various careers. The webinars, open to students and school pupils, feature live Q&A sessions and can be viewed afterward on Gradlinc's <a href="">YouTube</a> channel.</p><p>Füzy says a key differentiator for Gradlinc is their commitment to advocate for the youth and giving graduates a voice, as one student remarked: “usually the job criteria stipulates that an applicant needs experience". But what if you have just graduated? In cases like these, Gradlinc's algorithm assists graduate employers in attracting employable candidates, even without experience. Students don't lose access to the platform after graduation as they have lifelong access. This commitment ensures a sustained connection between academia and professional life. Gradlinc also offers diverse opportunities, including part-time roles, full-time positions, holiday work, and internships, creating a comprehensive platform for career development.</p><p>In a recent accolade, Gradlinc was one of the top ten finalists in the AfricaIgnite Pitch Competition. The competition, held in collaboration with the Start-up World Cup powered by Pegasus, was held at the Africa Tech Festival between 14 and 16 November 2023. “This recognition underscores Gradlinc's commitment to creating sustainable solutions for the youth and fostering a thriving entrepreneurial landscape in Africa," says Füzy</p><p> </p><p>Visit <a href="">Gradlinc</a> for more information and follow Gradlinc on social media:</p><p>Instagram: gradlinc_sa </p><p>Facebook: gradlincSA </p><p>LinkedIn: gradlinc</p><p>X: gradlinc_sa </p><p>YouTube: @gradlinc<br></p><p><br></p>
New Maties Coffee Hub: a fusion of tradition, innovation, and local entrepreneurship Maties Coffee Hub: a fusion of tradition, innovation, and local entrepreneurshipPetro Mostert<p>​In a move that celebrates both tradition and innovation, Stellenbosch University's (SU) iconic Maties Shop will expand its offerings to include a unique coffee experience by opening the first Maties Coffee Hub on 1 March 2024, located inside the Matie Shop in the Neelsie. This exciting venture will enrich the vibrant campus culture and exemplifies the University's commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and community engagement.<br></p><p>At the heart of this endeavour is a partnership with Mhlengi Ngcobo, a former Matie and esteemed local entrepreneur behind CoffeeMM in the Co-create Hub opposite the Adam Small Theatre complex of SU. Ngcobo's deep roots within the University community and his passion for coffee and business acumen make him the perfect collaborator for this venture.</p><p>CoffeeMM was founded in 2017 as a local coffee company that provides high-quality, ethically sourced coffee beans and products to the Stellenbosch community and surrounds.</p><p>The partnership between CoffeeMM and Maties Coffee Hub emerged from a collaboration, transitioning from a supplier to a strategic partnership motivated by their shared values of sustainability and empowerment. By aligning with an institution deeply rooted in the Stellenbosch community, Ngcobo saw an opportunity to amplify the impact of his entrepreneurial endeavours while contributing to SU's holistic development and entrepreneurial spirit mission.</p><p>“By partnering with local businesses, we are enhancing the campus experience and catalysing economic development within the local region. This collaboration exemplifies our commitment to driving positive change and creating meaningful opportunities for our students and campus community", says Hein Swanepoel, Senior Director, Suncom (a division of Innovus). Beyond serving as a campus hotspot, the Maties Coffee Hub aims to foster meaningful connections and relationships within the Stellenbosch community, bridging the gap between students, faculty, and local businesses.</p><p>In essence, this collaboration exemplifies the positive effects of commercialisation within a university setting. It underscores Stellenbosch University's role as an enabler of entrepreneurial opportunities, showcasing the potential for synergy between academia and commerce in driving economic growth and social impact.</p><p>As the Maties Coffee Hub integrates into campus life, it sends a powerful message to the SU community and the broader public. It embodies a commitment to excellence, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and community empowerment—a testament to the University's enduring legacy and dedication to shaping a brighter future for future generations.</p><p><strong>More about Innovus</strong></p><p>Innovus is a division of Stellenbosch University responsible for technology transfer, entrepreneurial support and development, and innovation. The Technology Transfer Office manages the University's innovation and intellectual property portfolio through seeking relevant intellectual protection for the university's intellectual property portfolio, such as patenting, trademark, design, and other forms of protection. The team is also responsible for the management of the portfolio and the commercialisation of innovation through licensing and the formation of spin-out companies.<br></p><p>For regular updates and opening specials, follow us on Facebook and Instagram  </p><p>For more information, please contact:</p><p>Gary Muizenheimer:</p><p><br></p><p>​<br></p>
International Olympic Committee awards Olympic Studies Research Centre to Stellenbosch University Olympic Committee awards Olympic Studies Research Centre to Stellenbosch University Kimara Singh<p></p><p>2023 has continued to be a busy and impactful year for Maties Sport. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently approved and awarded Maties Sport the right to host an Olympic Studies Research Centre (OSRC). OSRCs are the brainchild of the IOC and form an integral part of the academic and research integrity of the Olympic Movement.</p><p>The newly formed Centre – the South African Centre for Olympic Studies and Social Impact (SACOSSI) – is only the second of its kind in the country and Africa, and one of 68 around the world. As the name of the Centre indicates, all output shall be aligned to meaningful impact.</p><p>SACOSSI will be led by one of SU's <a href="">Centre for Sport Leadership's</a> (CSL) Research Fellows, who also established the first Olympic Studies Centre in Africa in 2014 at the University of Johannesburg – Professor Cora Burnett – as Director (from 1 January 2024) and the CSL's Head – Dr Nana Adom-Aboagye, will be its Deputy Director.</p><p>SACOSSI will aim to act as a leading research and academic entity in Africa and engage in multi-stakeholder collaboration for conducting impactful and engaged education, training, and research to inform policy development, strategic decision-making and knowledge production related to Olympic Studies and Sport for Development and Peace at all levels.</p><p>This mission will be supported by the 21 (3 local and 18 international) internationally recognized and highly productive Research Fellows that the CSL has been able to appoint during the year.</p><p>“The depth of scholarship among the Research Fellows translates to about 1,600 publications between them, which brings them to be colloquially named 'The Dream Team'," says Nana Adom-Aboagye. “The CSL and SACOSSI have indeed been able to attract a 'dream team' of scholars whose areas of expertise range from sport history, gender and sport, sport governance to cognition and e-sport, but to name a few areas of specialisation."</p><p>The 21 Research Fellows represent 11 countries, spread across five (5) continents and will be affiliated with both the CSL and SACOSSI. The Fellows represent the following institutions:</p><p>·       Stellenbosch University (Prof Albert Grundlingh, Prof Cora Burnett & Dr Michele van Rooyen)</p><p>·       University of Technology Sydney, Australia (Prof Nico Schulenkorf)</p><p>·       Victoria University, Australia (Prof Ramon Spaaij)</p><p>·       Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, Brazil (Prof Billy Graeff)</p><p>·       University of Calgary, Canada (Dr Araba Chintoh)</p><p>·       Palacky University, Czechia (Prof Simona Safarikova)</p><p>·       Brunel University London, England (Professor Vassil Girginov)</p><p>·       Durham University, England (Prof Iain Lindsey)</p><p>·       Loughborough University, England (Prof Richard Giulianotti)</p><p>·       Loughborough University London, England (Dr Holly Collison)</p><p>·       Université de Toulon, France (Professor Arnaud Richard)</p><p>·       University of Limerick, Ireland (Prof Adam Toth, Dr Ian Sherwin & Prof Mark Campbell)</p><p>·       Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand (Prof Lesley Ferkins)</p><p>·       University of Otago, New Zealand (Prof Sally Shaw)</p><p>·       University of Waikato, New Zealand (Prof Holly Thorpe)</p><p>·       The University of Edinburgh, Scotland (Dr Christine Nash)</p><p>·       Adelphi University, USA (Prof Meredith Whitley)</p><p>“We are proud to be associated with such high-caliber individuals and welcome them to SACOSSI!" says Burnett<br><br></p><p>​<br></p>
Long journey from BSc ECP student to PhD in Chemistry journey from BSc ECP student to PhD in Chemistry Wiida Basson (Media: Faculty of Science)<p></p><p style="text-align:justify;">It must have been his late mother's incredibly tasty cheese sauce that made him fall in love with chemistry. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I always wanted to know how she made it, with which ingredients, and in what order! I think that is where my interest in chemistry first started," recalls Emile Maggott. This former learner from <a href="">Bishop Lavis High School</a> in Cape Town will be walking over the stage at Stellenbosch University's December graduation ceremony to be capped with a PhD in Chemistry.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">His journey, however, has been rougher than most.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Growing up in a neighbourhood that is mostly known to the outside world for unemployment, poverty, and gangsterism, he had to make a deliberate choice to maintain a positive mind set – a belief that one day he would be able to rise out of the historically-imposed circumstances.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My brother and I got this mind set from my mother. She was a factory worker, and she was very strict. And even though my mother could not spoil me with money and other fancy things, I had a good upbringing. There was lots of love in our household and always a plate of food waiting in the oven when I returned from the lab, sometimes close to midnight," he recounts.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Emile's journey started when he realised that his marks were not good enough to study medicine. “Even though I was strong in mathematics and physical sciences, I was lacking in other subjects. I thought of engineering, but then the Science Faculty's academic coordinator, Wilma Wagener, convinced me to enter a BSc <a href="/english/welcome/Pages/Extended-degree-programmes.aspx">Extended Curriculum Programme</a> (ECP) in the Faculty of Science," he explains.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In hindsight, that was one of the best decisions I could have made," he adds.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“There is a huge gap between matric and first year at university. At school we were spoon fed, but already in the first two weeks of class at university I realised that I would either have to swim or sink! I very quickly had to learn how to figure things out for myself. I believe that, even though it took me one year longer to complete the BSc-degree, the EDP provided me with a solid foundation to manage and succeed in my studies."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This propensity to “figure things out for himself" has continued into his approach to his doctoral research: “I am motivated by sitting down and really figuring things out. Some people simply jump to the next topic when they are struggling, which is probably easy to do. I would rather make mistakes and learn from it than give up."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, sometimes even someone with a positive mind set had to learn the hard way, especially from an old-school supervisor such as <a href="">Prof. Selwyn Mapolie</a> from the <a href="">Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science</a>. Emile recounts one incident from his MSc studies when Prof. Mapolie very sternly sent him back to the lab bench to go and figure things out, because that is what researchers do.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“During one of our progress meetings, I made the mistake of saying 'I don't know'. He replied and said that a researcher cannot not know what he is doing. 'You should be asking yourself why all the time and go and figure it out', he said!"</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A stained and very dirty blue lab coat bears testimony to this attitude. The dark blue stains, for example, come from the very first experiment which involved a Schiff-base reaction and resulted in the spattering of the reactants which was due to a concentration effect. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Life threw another curve ball at him when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Overnight, postgraduate students' access to laboratories was first restricted and later strictly regulated. He often worked through the night, sometimes even catching a quick nap in between, to perform all the experiments required for his research. There was no time to waste, as funding was only available for four years.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">But the biggest setback came late in 2022 on his birthday when his mother, the late Mrs Ursula Maggott, died of diabetes-related complications. He then had to learn how to deal with bouts of depression, sometimes by just going into the lab and doing one task for the day, other times by exercising and regularly walking his two German Shepard dogs.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Fortunately, though, he did learn the name of the secret ingredient that made his mother's cheese sauce stand out from all others, as well as how to prepare the best sweet and sour lentil curry in the Western Cape.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">As far as his research is concerned, he is in the process of finalising a second research article to be published from his doctoral dissertation and has applied for a Consolidoc position in the department to finalise another two research articles. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">In his research, Dr Maggott succeeded in identifying a range of recyclable catalysts (from a potential group of 35 candidates). These materials were used as catalyst precursors in oxidative transformations in which the reaction can be fine-tuned by converting biomass substrates (waste materials) into value-added products. The high value oxygenates is particularly useful in the pharmaceutical, perfume, flavourant, cosmetic and biofuel industry. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The research is novel, firstly, because it is the first time that these type of catalyst systems have been used in the proposed applications. Secondly, during the synthetic process we incorporate cheap and earth-abundant metals which ultimately contributes to a greener society. And thirdly, the overall process is fine-tuned, which means that we can selectively produce the desired compound (the more valuable product). This in essence makes the process greener and more sustainable since it reduces downstream separation processes," he explains.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Having presented papers at international conferences in Spain, Italy, and Germany, he is eager to spread his wings again: “There is still a lot of things to figure out!", he concludes.<br></p><p>​<br></p>
DSAf merges two centres to form new Centre for Student Life and Learning merges two centres to form new Centre for Student Life and LearningLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">​​​A transformative shift has taken place within the Division Student Affairs (DSAf) with the merger of two of its three centres, the Centre for Student Leadership, Experiential Education and Citizenship (CSLEEC) and the Centre for Student Communities (CSC), to form one centre that is now known as the Centre for Student Life and Learning (CSLL). The Centre name was unveiled yesterday (01 November 2023).<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Choice Makhetha, Senior Director of DSAf, said that concluding remarks contained in the Khampepe Commission Report and pertaining to the efficacy of key role players, underlined the need for staff from CSLEEC and the CSC to work closer together. The report cited the disconnect between the two centres as a wasted opportunity to further enhance the training and development of student leaders. The Commission was chaired by the former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Emeritus Justice Sisi Khampepe. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Student leaders and the broader student body will benefit more from a wealth of expertise and experience available among colleagues within the new Centre. These colleagues have an opportunity to provide an integrated, seamless, transformational experience for all, collaborating with like-minded colleagues across the university and working with students as co-creators," explained Makhetha, who led the merger process.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Leading this process was a rare privilege for me and a tough journey to navigate. What motivated me, was understanding the bigger picture and how it would help us to address the observations, analysis, findings and recommendations made by the Khampepe Commission Report," said Makhetha. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Following the departure of CSLEEC's Director, Makhetha initiated informal conversations amongst staff in both centres in March this year to deliberate the possible merger of CSLEEC and CSC. These discussions were supported by the Deputy Vice Chancellor: Learning and Teaching, Prof Deresh Ramjugernath.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Colleagues were encouraged to make more of an effort to interact with one another and work together more in order to better understand the work done by their peers across the two Centres," said Makhetha. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In March, CSC and CSLEEC held its first joint team meeting followed by smaller group sessions involving the two centres' administrative and management teams, colleagues responsible for leadership development and training, as well as individuals within units, including Residential Education Coordinators. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">On 2 June, staff from both centres attended a meeting to announce the decision to formally explore the possibility of merging CSLEEC and CSC. Makhetha explained that her gradual approach to deliberating a merger, stemmed from the recognition that while change holds promise, its successful implementation hinges on careful management, ensuring inclusivity, and addressing any apprehensions that may arise.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“That period of open and honest conversations was highly valuable because it brought our attention to all the issues we needed to take into account, whether we chose to merge or keep the centres separated."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Between 05 June and 14 July, various one-on-one meetings and submissions of concerns were received, that Makhetha responded to in writing, and on 27 June, a full Visioning Day was held to get a better picture of the scope of the work within the two centres and areas where that work aligned. Before the final proposal was submitted to Ramjugernath for the centres to merge, final submissions regarding concerns and uncertainty were also  addressed.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Some of the other key benefits of the merger, said Makhetha, include the change of name of the new Centre, which “truly encompasses the gist of the work done by the two centres and the units". <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“There will now be increased growth and personal development opportunities and pathways, as well as areas of specialisation in one centre, and equitable access to more functional spaces. Additionally, there would be more opportunities to unite students and provide a sense of belonging within this integrated space, and for increased effectiveness and efficiency with the limited resources available."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The merger, she said, “was an opportunity to reflect deeply on the work we do and the quality we needed to provide, consistently, and with greater efficiency".<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The new Centre is headed by Pieter Kloppers, who served as CSC's Director and now the Director of CSLL, with Gareth Cornelissen as Deputy Director: Operations, and Dr Heidi October, the former Acting Director of CSLEEC, who is now the Deputy Director: Leadership. There are five Units within the Centre: the Unit for Residence Student Communities, with Benita van Zyl as Manager; the Unit for Commuter Student Communities, with Jethro Georgiades as Manager; the Unit for Student Governance, with Anele Mdepa as Manager; the Unit for Experiential Learning, with Dr Ruth Andrews as Manager; and the Unit for Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion, with Yeki Mosomothane as Manager.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Colleagues from CSLEEC and CSC understood extremely well why we needed to change and the process we followed allowed staff ample opportunity to raise concerns, provide their input and to feel part of the change happening. Every staff member is on board and no one is negatively affected in this process!"<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Both Kloppers and Cornelissen said that they were excited about all the possibilities that the new CSLL will bring. Pointing to a painting in the waiting area near the reception of the new Centre, Kloppers explained that the different figures in the painting, linked to each other through their participation in different activities, structures and engagements, aptly capture the impact that a bigger and more diverse team such as that at the CSLL can do. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I think the name of our new Centre is very descriptive and am excited that we are now able to put all the different parts of a student's life and learning together in one environment. When you are working in silos, it can make it harder to support students holistically and when we pool our expertise, we can offer our students so much more," said Kloppers. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It is definitely also an exciting time for staff as we can further amplify what students gain from student life and through the co-curricular learning and training we provide to them. And when you work with students, who are at the start of their [adult] life journey and full of life and energy, you can't help but be inspired and energised through the various engagements you have with them."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">That energy, along with the expertise and knowledge that is now contained within the CSLL, he said, can “only lead to more innovation and possibilities as well as ideas". <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We also enrich our working environment and our student offering when we bring a group of diverse staff members and students together to think about how we further improve leadership training and development and remain relevant based on the skills needs of our students."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">For Cornelissen, the “merger of our two centres will offer students a better-quality leadership training experience, and now, when there are crises that we need to handle in the student environment, we can think about those challenges together and offer varied insights to reach better solutions by applying our collective knowledge and expertise to assist our students".<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cornelissen is responsible for Operations within the CSLL, and suspects that there has not only been duplication of training offered to students in the past due to the teams working in separate environments, but also with regards to expenditure on the same students. This means that one student could possibly have received training in similar skills from both CSLEEC and CSC.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It's not only about the Rand and cents value, but also the amount of labour hours staff on both sides put in with regards to training of students," he explained.<br><br>“The other thing that I am very excited about is the expansion and strengthening of the management team and the collective expertise we'll have in the CSLL now," he added.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mosomothane will continue to focus on leadership, diversity, and inclusion in his new role as manager of the Unit for Leadership, Diversity, and Inclusion. Through this unit, he and his team will collaborate with other CSLL units, with stakeholders on SU's other campuses and with faculties as their work impacts on all these environments.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“By working with other units in the CSLL, we will not only extend our reach, but also work with students interacting with the CSLL through the various units. It means we can work with students to design programmes that equip them with the right skills to serve as leaders and drive diversity and inclusion on campus."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Referring to the upcoming DSAf Strategic Planning meeting, Mosomothane said that further details regarding exact programme offerings will be explored at this meeting in early November, with more information to follow at a later stage.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We are being provided with an opportunity to work towards actively engaging our students and understanding what type of end product they want and involving them in the process of creating that product. I am a believer in co-creation, so everything we create will be with our students and with our staff's input," he added.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It is our intention as a unit that our work is cross-cutting and that we are embedded in the work of all units, but also intentional about implementing diversity and inclusion, and that we go back to basics to co-create with students again."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Andrews, who will manage experiential learning in CSLL, has been the driving force along with her team in expanding the reach of DSAf's flagship programme, Shared Humanity: Lessons in Critical Thinking. This programme, she says, will continue within the unit along with other activities. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The Shared Humanity offering extends across divisions and faculties and plays a pivotal role in providing every student at Stellenbosch University with the chance to acquire essential competencies in social justice and democracy, as emphasised in the Khampepe Report. Additionally, we remain committed to cultivating institutional collaborations and closely collaborating with the Division for Learning and Teaching Enhancement, as we strive to fulfill our mandate and ensure the quality assurance of non-credit bearing programmes within the university," Andrews explained.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">"In the past, collaboration among different centres and units has been limited, leading to a lack of awareness of the activities of colleagues. With this merger, we have a unique opportunity to foster greater collaboration, identify and eliminate redundancies, and effectively operate within the upcoming budget constraints. The integration will facilitate the exchange of crucial information among us, enhancing our services to students. It is poised to deepen our intellectual comprehension of our work and, ideally, foster a culture of research orientation, ensuring that all our endeavours are grounded in research-driven insights. This is really important to me."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Commenting on the role of the Unit for Student Governance, Mdepa said that the integration of all student structures within the unit will exponentially benefit the student community at large and ensure that all leaders within student governance structures get the same specialised training that will be offered through other units in the CSLL.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The university's strategic goal of creating a transformative student experience for all our students will also be enhanced within CSLL and this unit as we start speaking with one voice and operating as a collective with one mandate to support the institution in delivering on this specific goal."<br></p>
Message from the Rector - assessment wishes and important information about SU support services from the Rector - assessment wishes and important information about SU support servicesProf Wim de Villiers <p>​​​​​​​<br>Dear students<br></p><p> At the start of the November assessment period at Stellenbosch University (SU), I would like to wish you all the best with your exam preparation, final studies for the year, writing of papers and submission of year-end assignments and proposals. May you truly be awarded for all your hard work and commitment during a challenging year. Now is the time to focus and put in some extra energy for the final stretch, but it is also important to sleep enough and look after yourself.<br>  <br> Therefore, I would also like to use this opportunity to remind you of the important and valuable support services that SU offers to students during the assessment period. Please see below for information about security and shuttle services, psychological support, academic support, arrangements during loadshedding, venues with Wi-Fi and access to open dining halls and catering services for PSO and commuter students.<br>  <br> Please make use of these various support services and ask for help should you need it.<br>  <br> Best of luck! We are thinking of you and we wish you well.<br>  <br> <strong><em>Forward together.</em></strong><br>  <br> <strong>Prof Wim de Villiers</strong><br><strong> </strong><strong>Rector and Vice-chancellor</strong> </p><p><br><span style="color:#61223b;"><span style="color:#61223b;"><strong>SU SUPPORT SERVICES AND ASSISTANCE FOR STUDENTS</strong></span></span><br>  <br> <strong>Walk-with service – Stellenbosch campus</strong><br> We advise students to use the walk-with service that is available every evening from 18:00 onwards. Students can request to be accompanied by a security officer at night, when walking between buildings or parking areas on campus. This service is available throughout the year. Students can send a request via WhatsApp to 082 808 2333 or phone Campus Security at 021 808 4891.<br>  <br> <strong>Night shuttle service – Stellenbosch campus</strong><br> Students are encouraged to make use of the night shuttle service. This is a <strong>booked</strong> service for students studying late at night from the pick-up point at the Neelsie Student Centre to private housing in the broader town. The shuttle departs every hour on the hour from the Neelsie Student Centre, and transports students within a 7 km radius from the campus. Please make a booking via the MySun platform: MySun > Services > Reservations: Shuttle Services.<br>  <br> <a href=""><strong>More information</strong></a> about the shuttle service on the Stellenbosch campus.<br>  <br> <strong>Shuttle services – Tygerberg campus</strong><br> <a href=""><strong>More information</strong></a> about the shuttle service on the Tygerberg campus.<br>  <br> <strong>Campus Security</strong><br> Please report any security-related incident to Campus Security. They are available 24/7.</p><ul style="list-style-type:disc;"><li>0800 02 5827 (tollfree)</li><li>021 808 2333 (Stellenbosch campus)</li><li>021 938 9507 (Tygerberg campus) </li></ul><p><strong>Therapeutic and academic support services</strong><br> The Centre for Student Counselling and Development (CSCD) offers professional support and counselling to students who are experiencing personal, professional or academic challenges, emotional or mental trauma or mental health challenges.<br>  <br> The CSCD will continue to provide support and therapy to students during the assessment period. The services are free and confidential.<br>  <br> To reach out for therapeutic support during office hours (08:00–16:00), please contact the CSCD at <a href=""><strong></strong></a> or 021 808 4994 (Stellenbosch campus) or 021 927 7020 (Tygerberg campus).<br>  <br> In case of a crisis after hours, please phone the ER24 crisis line on 010 205 3032.<br>  ​<br> Students in need of academic counselling can contact the CSCD on 021 808 4707 or send an email to <a href=""><strong></strong></a><br>  <br> More information on services provided by CSCD: <a href="/cscd"><strong></strong></a><br>  <br> <strong>ER24 emergency number</strong><br> 010 205 3032<br>  <br> <strong>Loadshedding – venues with power and Wi-Fi</strong><br> Students are reminded of the availability of workspaces with continued power supply and Wi-Fi access. These are indicated on the interactive campus map, which can be accessed <a href=""><strong>here</strong></a>. Click on Layers and then on Campus Loadshedding. Please contact us at <a href=""><strong></strong></a> should you have any difficulty in locating these spaces.<br>  <br> <strong>Loadshedding during assessments</strong><br> During the year-end assessment period, SU will ensure that adequate contingency arrangements are in place in the event of loadshedding disruptions. Please see the <a href=""><strong>update from the Electricity Crisis Contingency Committee</strong></a> dated 17 October 2023 for more information.<br>  <br> Click <a href=""><strong>here</strong></a> for contingency arrangements with regards to loadshedding during exam.<br>  <br> <strong>Writing Lab</strong><br> The Writing Lab offers free writing consultations until early December. Students may book consultation sessions to discuss any writing issues, including assessment questions and responses to it; bursary applications; CVs; theses; proposals; etc. The Writing Lab will help students to identify whether they interpreted the assessment questions correctly and how they can improve their responses to make it clearer and more focussed.<br>  <br> Sessions last 50 minutes. Online sessions (via MS Teams) and in-person sessions (at 44 Banghoek Road, Stellenbosch) are available. Click <a href=""><strong>here</strong></a> for the Writing Lab's electronic booking system.<br>  <br> For more information or assistance, please email Anne-Mari Lackay at <a href=""><strong></strong></a> or Vinelene Hartley at <a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong>.</strong><br>  <br> <strong>Meal of the day – open dining halls – PSO students</strong><br> PSO and commuter students have access to catering services in residences. During their first-year registration, each PSO/commuter student is placed within a cluster. They have access to open dining halls within each cluster. Check here to see your cluster: MySun > Accommodation > Accommodation Status.<br>  <br> Before any meal can be booked, students need to make sure that they are registered to use COB and to book meals. PSO/commuter students need to activate their meal account. Please see <a href="/english/Documents/2023/Registration-PSO-student-cards-for-meals-open-dining-halls-at-SU.pdf"><strong>this document</strong></a> for information about activating these services, payments and where the open dining halls are.<br>  <br> To book meals on the Facilities Management System (FMS), students should register on the MySun portal. Click on <em>“</em>meal booking<em>".</em> After students have registered, they are welcome to book meals on the FMS at the allocated open dining halls. The FMS is available on MySun and <a href=""><strong>here</strong></a>.<br><br> Menus and costs are available on the FMS. If students have any enquiries regarding meals, they are welcome to email Lynique Bergstedt at <a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong>.</strong><br>  <br> <a href="/english/learning-teaching/student-affairs/csc/private-student-organisations-(psos)"><strong>More information</strong></a> about Private Student Organisations (PSOs).<br>  <br> <a href="/english/learning-teaching/student-affairs/csc/clusters"><strong>More information</strong></a> about clusters.<br>  <br> <strong>Opening hours of SU libraries</strong><br> Please click <a href=""><strong>here</strong></a> to access the various library opening hours.<br> <br></p>