Student Affairs
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Uniquely South African art to help Matie students in needhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7562Uniquely South African art to help Matie students in needDevelopment and Alumni Relations Division<p>​​The town of Stellenbosch will soon be the scene of a uniquely South African art response to the COVID-19 pandemic. And, as a result of this initiative, bursary students in the 'missing middle' category studying at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU), are set to benefit.<br></p><p>From Friday, 7 August, exciting artworks will be displayed at a number of sites around town. Aptly named - <em>Masked Masterpieces</em> - masks will be superimposed on famous South African artworks that will be displayed outdoors in supersized format, providing a powerful visual reflection of the challenges of our time.</p><p>The artists' stories will be displayed on plaques alongside the artworks, as will information about the artworks, where the original artworks can be viewed and how to make a study donation by way of a SnapScan code or bank transfer. These donations will be administered by SU and will assist in funding bursary students who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.</p><p>The art installations that will be on display until December, will be entirely funded by the private sector: the Beck Family Philanthropy, the Fuchs Foundation, Investec, the Norval Foundation, the Rupert Art Foundation and Strauss & Co.</p><p>“At the start of the lockdown in South Africa, our Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers, made it clear that the University has two overriding priorities: to ensure that students can successfully complete their academic year and to maintain the sustainability of our institution. This initiative, run by the Development and Alumni Relations Division (DAR), in collaboration with our partners in the private sector, is therefore in direct response to his statement," says Pieter Swart, Director: Major Gifts and Transformational Giving at DAR.</p><p>Maties who are set to benefit from this initiative will be selected from the 'missing middle' category of students. “We are introducing innovative ways to ensure that none of our students is left behind in the wake of COVID-19. With the economic effects of this pandemic, we expect that even more of our students will move into the 'missing middle' category — unable to access state funding and yet incapable of affording the costs of university studies because of the impact of COVID-19 on their household income," he adds.</p><p>According to Swart, <em>Masked Masterpieces</em> will not only help students in need but will also showcase and promote South African masterpieces, while educating the public on the fascinating artists who have created these works.</p><p>Sites where the public will be able to view the masked works include the gabled wall of the Distell building on the R44, the wall next to the GUS gallery in Dorp Street, the Dorp alley in Bird Street, the Stellenbosch taxi rank in Bird Street, and the gabled wall on the corner of Drostdy and Plein Streets.</p><p>“<em>Masked Masterpieces</em> demonstrates in practice the innovative mindset that underpins a truly novel initiative that simultaneously manages to educate, to promote the arts and to raise funding for deserving students who are challenged by the impact of COVID-19," explains Dr Riaan Els, CEO of the Fuchs Foundation.</p><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES</strong><br>Pieter Swart<br><ul><li><a href="mailto:pieterswart@sun.ac.za"><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1">pieterswart@sun.ac.za</span></a><br></li><li>082 612 7852</li></ul><p><br></p>
"To be a warrior is all about riding through the storms..."https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7512"To be a warrior is all about riding through the storms..."Transformation Office | Disability Unit | AfriNEAD<div><em>SU's Rector and Vice-chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers announced late last year that 2020 will be the university's Year for Persons with Disability. It will culminate in the sixth African Network for Evidence-to- Action in Disability (AfriNEAD) conference, a prestigious international network that will be hosted by SU from the 30 November to 3 December 2020. To honour this the Transformation Office and the Disability Unit, along with AfriNEAD, will publish monthly reflections or articles by persons with disabilities. Our fifth piece is written by </em><span lang="EN-GB"><em>Ulf-Dieter Koepp, a </em><span lang="EN-GB"><em>junior technical officer</em></span><em>​, in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences</em></span><em>.</em></div><div><br></div><div>​<br></div>​I am Ulf-Dieter Koepp from Windhoek. I was born deaf with a cleft palate. My deafness is a result of my mother having had German measles during her pregnancy. My mother taught me lipreading when I was a very little boy, and my schooling took place at Dominican Grimley School for the Deaf in Hout Bay from about 1982 to 1998.<br><br>I have now been working at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) for over three years as a junior technical officer. Before SU, I used to work on testing various applications by using Android Studio and MIT App Inventor (online). One of my many ideas was the one on Ava (<a href="https://www.ava.me/"><span lang="EN-GB">https://www.ava.me/</span></a>). I also assist the Humarga Helpdesk by monitoring personal computers and printers and stocking up paper reams. I have about five years of experience as a printer technician with various companies. <br><br>I was at a crossroads at the beginning of 2017, one year after the start of my employment at SU and my mother's sudden death in June 2016. I had been used to being deaf for 41 years, but this was not the case with the 'Big C'. At that crossroads, that 'C', nasopharyngeal carcinoma, held a gun to my head. <br><br>How did this cruel thief sneak into my body? Why had I not noticed this earlier? The fact was that I had booked air tickets to Namibia for a three-week vacation in November 2016, not knowing that I would be heading into another unknown direction. I had asked the ear, nose and throat surgeon whether I qualified for a cochlear implantation as a new candidate. Boom – the radiologist discovered a mass lesion deep in my left nasopharynx section after CT and MRI scans had been completed. It was presumed to be Stage 1 – so early! But within two weeks, it had grown to Stage 2. I had no symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, swollen neck, severe headaches or persistent sinus issues.  <br><br>How exactly did I manage to pull through? I used to think that SU was anything but a normal employer when it came to annual leave and sick leave, but I was shocked to see how it had structured sick leave in a way that went beyond my logic. I know that with any company, when illness struck an employee, the standard procedure was to grant that employee a limited grace period. However, when I looked at the way in which sick leave was structured, I thought, “Am I seeing something that is unique?" When an employee is extremely ill for a long time, SU has something called 'disability cover', which is extremely helpful in covering the loss of income. Indeed, SU is an upfront-unified-unbeatable, one-of-a-kind employer that is really committed to its students and staff, also a staff member with a disability!<br><br>Yes, I came out as a cancer warrior in complete remission in August 2017 and still am to date. To be a warrior is all about riding through the storms and finding the sunshine one day. Everything before my official diagnosis and during the treatments stripped me as if I were an onion being peeled away. Never had I thought that my theological studies at Cape Theological Seminary (Pentecostal-Charismatic Bible College, 1999 to 2002) would one day be put to the test when the 'Big C' interrupted my life like a Goliath.<br><br>Did I manage to obtain the implant? Unfortunately, not yet, but I am aware that Discovery Health does fund this type of operation from benefits. Both my oncologist and ear, nose and throat surgeon wonder whether I am still keen on cochlear implantation. The truth is that it does not always suit everyone.<br><br>My advice to other people with loss of hearing, based on my experiences at SU, is to be yourself and to keep your flame burning to inspire the person next to you. You are an asset. Go after small mercies that may transform your way of thinking and adapting.<br><br>
New book on Student Affairs features authors from SUhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7456New book on Student Affairs features authors from SUStudent Affairs<p>​A new book, <strong><em><a href="https://iasas.global/student-affairs-services-in-higher-education-global-foundations-issues-and-best-practices/">Student Affairs and Services in Higher Education: Global Foundations, Issues, and Best Practices, 3rd edition</a></em></strong>, which has recently been published, features a number of authors from Stellenbosch University (SU).<br><br>With 250 authors, advisors and editors from over 125 countries this book is a truly global collaborative effort to capture the diverse, significant and expansive theories, frameworks, practices, models and services provided by Student Affairs and Services in Higher Education across the globe. This comprehensive book is the reference book for scholars, researchers and practitioners across the globe on all matters related to Student Affairs in Higher Education. The informative chapters cover a vast breadth of issues including principles, values, theories and frameworks, professionalisation, research and scholarship, social justice, equality and gender issues, engagement, internationalisation, retention and graduate competencies, governance and student participation, leadership and migration, a discussion of over 42 functional areas and almost 100 country reports. The authors are of the highest caliber and greatest diversity and share their formidable knowledge and experience, all detailing the immense impact Student Affairs and Services have in Higher Education across the globe.<br> <br>This 629 paged book is edited by Roger B. Ludeman (editor in chief) and Birgit Schreiber, the former Senior Director for the Division Student Affairs at SU. They have brought together a formidable collection of authors presenting a diverse lens and textured understanding of this essential part of Higher Education. Each author has contributed his and her experience making this a rich, comprehensive and compelling resource for all Higher Education across the globe.<br><br>Contributing authors from SU include Prof Magda Fourie-Malherbe, Drs Munita Dunn-Coetzee and Taryn Bernard, and Ruth Andrews, Jaco Greeff Brink, JC Landman, Anele Mdepa, Tonia Overmeyer and Pieter Kloppers.<br><br>The book can be downloaded free of charge by clicking <a href="https://iasas.global/student-affairs-services-in-higher-education-global-foundations-issues-and-best-practices/" target="_blank"><strong>here</strong></a>. </p>
Online teaching should also consider students with disabilitieshttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7441Online teaching should also consider students with disabilitiesMarcia Lyner-Cleophas<p>Online teaching, learning and assessment practices used during the COVID-19 pandemic should also consider the plight of students with disabilities as well as those who have fewer resources, writes Dr Marcia Lyner-Cleophas from the Disability Unit in an article for <em>Daily Maverick</em> (18 June).<br></p><ul><li>Read the article below or click <a href="https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2020-06-18-online-learning-during-lockdown-helps-us-find-ways-to-teach-differently-abled-students/#gsc.tab=0"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>for the piece as published.<br></li></ul><p><strong>Marcia Lyner-Cleophas*</strong><br></p><p>As higher education practitioners, we find ourselves catapulted into this COVID-19 online space with our diverse range of students with varying abilities. Also part of this diversity and lying on the continuum of abilities, are students with disabilities. The reality of these students, and the support needed, has always run parallel to the support that all students need to study successfully. </p><p>Understandably, concerns are rife regarding how students and staff will cope in the online environment, given the South African reality where people have varying technological abilities and resources. Given the <a href="https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20200302091409436"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">global experience</strong></a>, we will also need to grapple with our own realities. For too long, we have been teaching and assessing with the average student in mind, without considering, among others, students with disabilities and students from less-resourced environments. The average student is the one viewed according to average abilities and functionalities, has average to good eyesight and hearing and a range of movement that is unaided, comes from a fairly well-resourced environment and processes information very quickly. </p><p>Students are usually assessed in specific ways during a specific period such as two or three hours answering memorised questions. Given the current online reality, we are now forced to consider and to work with students with varying abilities who do not fit into the average mould described above. More importantly, we must now think of all<strong> </strong>students and the type of teaching, learning and assessment that would work best for all students.</p><p>The use of assistive technology has always been part of the support needed for many students with disabilities, but its availability was mixed.  Assistive technologies were often needed because study material was not accessibly designed to accommodate all students. For example, if all reading material were in a format that would make it easy to enlarge fonts from the start or to make it readable for screen readers or be captioned, then there would be no need to format a text. Now we are forced to think deeper about our online material: Is the material uploaded and sent to the student in an accessible format? Is the student able to engage with the material given data and bandwidth realities? How will the student be able to respond in the online space? These questions are relevant to all students.<br></p><p>Our Constitution and the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997 note the importance of addressing inequalities and diversity in education and call for flexibility and redress in transforming our society. Discrimination against people based on class, race, gender and disability is outlawed. In 2018, the Department of Higher Education and Training released a strategic framework for disability in the tertiary sector to specifically address disability inclusion as part of diversity.<br></p><p>As a sector, we are constantly challenged by how best to be inclusive.  However, we easily fall into the default mode of teaching, learning and assessment practices for the average student. In a sense, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to relook our curriculum and its design and outcomes, and to focus on what needs to be learned and the various ways in which to do this. We are again reminded that our students have diverse home contexts with “no-to-low-to-high tech" availability to give their feedback and engage with reading material.<br></p><p>Large portions of our disabled student population are already reliant on assistive technologies to access teaching, learning and assessment material.  Going forward, it will be worthwhile to consider Universal Design (UD) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), as well as blended learning and MOOCS as ways to engage a diverse group of students.<br></p><p>Universal Design and Universal Design for Learning have been discussed, written about and researched extensively in the past 10 – 15 years by organisations such as the <a href="http://www.cast.org/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Centre for Applied Special Technologies</strong></a>  (CAST). In an <a href="https://ajod.org/index.php/ajod/article/view/519/1100">article</a> for the African Journal of Disability (2019), Elizabeth Dalton and her co-authors discuss how using the three principles in UDL can help promote equity and flexibility for diverse groups of students. The first is the multiple ways of representing information. This is presenting multi-media formats, such as digital means, pictures, music, captioning, audio and pre-recordings. Secondly, allowing for multiple ways in which students can engage with learning material to engage their interests, such as voice notes, SMS, WhatsApp, blogs,  group work, service learning and vlogs (from low to high tech). Thirdly, multiple means of action and expression, where students can demonstrate their knowledge in various ways, such as essays, verbal inputs, web design, and tasks submitted via email, SMS, WhatsApp, blogs, vlogs, and PowerPoint presentations. </p><p>Robert Black, Lois Weinberg and Martin Brodwin from California State University also <a href="https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1131&context=eei"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">espouse</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>the value of using UD principles, with specific reference to students with disabilities. Incorporating such principles in design in all course and assessment practices, would be valuable to all students, given their natural diversity.</p><p>In a 2019 <a href="https://ajod.org/index.php/ajod/article/view/558"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">article</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>on the role of the Higher Education Disability Services Association in South Africa (HEDSA), I also drew attention to electronic lists or contact lists of people as a specific interest group and emails as common ways to share information. The use of low technologies are possible as means to engage with UDL, given the prolific use of cell phones and smart phones as Willie Chinyamurindi from the University of Fort Hare recently pointed out in a <a href="https://theconversation.com/five-ways-academics-can-manage-covid-19-shutdowns-133947"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">piece</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>for The Conversation. Echoing similar sentiments, Michael Rowe from the University of the Western Cape <a href="https://www.mrowe.co.za/blog/2020/04/universal-principles-of-learning-task-design-crisis-edition/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">highlights</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>the value of cell phones and exploring simple and low-cost universal modes of information sharing.</p><p>Despite our students' technological and contextual challenges, there are pockets of experience to draw from, where low-cost and low-tech solutions have been used to engage students. Drawing on UD and UDL, it is possible to be flexible and explore various means that can add to this. Everybody is challenged and possibly rendered “disabled" in the online space, and drawing on existing expertise does not have to be daunting. <br></p><p>Being truly inclusive means that we acknowledge that we cannot treat all students in the same way when there is so much diversity.  Presenting material in various ways, such as a text of your talk and a recording of your presentation, already caters to many students as some might be stronger in reading and others better at listening. This benefits students with specific disabilities too, such as those with reading or writing disorders. Providing students with alternative ways to present their knowledge also allows for a student's particular strengths to emerge as one might prefer to send an audio/voice note of as a response, while another might send a text or Word document.<br></p><p>Incorporating the three core principles of UDL in our educational environments will open the space for an engaged student population, with flexible teaching, learning and assessment options. Low-tech resources such as voice notes, WhatsApp documents, video calls, and emails can then easily be incorporated. Basic messaging can be used for interaction and feedback. <br></p><p>Education policy-makers have acknowledged the need for flexible curricula given our diverse student populations and the need for equity redress. Improving technologies in education has also been encouraged. More needs to be done regarding assistive technologies and designing accessible courses from the start for our students who have varying abilities and resources.  <br></p><ul><li><strong>Photo</strong>: A large-print keyboard with tactile elements and special keys for the visually impaired. <strong>Credit</strong>: Econterms</li></ul><p><strong>*Dr Marcia Lyner-Cleophas, an educational psychologist, heads the</strong><strong> </strong><strong>Disability Unit in the Centre for Student Counselling and Development at Stellenbosch University.</strong></p><p>  </p><p>​ </p><p><br></p>
Students write about youth issueshttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7435Students write about youth issuesCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie <p>In celebration of Youth Day (16 June) and Youth Month, students Connor Bam (Humanities) and Tian Alberts (Law) write for <em>Mail & Guardian </em>and <em>News24 </em>respectively about some of the challenges young people face today. Click on the links below to read the articles.<br></p><ul><li>​Connor Bam (<a href="https://mg.co.za/opinion/2020-06-17-youth-day-is-just-as-much-for-the-present-as-it-is-for-the-past/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">Mail & Guardian</strong></a>)</li><li>Tian Alberts (<a href="https://www.news24.com/news24/columnists/guestcolumn/opinion-on-youth-day-we-need-to-leave-anti-social-media-behind-20200615"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">News24</strong></a>)</li></ul><p><strong> </strong></p><p><br></p>
"My passion is teaching deaf children"https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7418"My passion is teaching deaf children"Transformation Office | Disability Unit | AfriNEAD<p><em>​​​​​SU's Rector and Vice-chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers announced late last year that 2020 will be the university's Year for Persons with Disability. It will culminate in the sixth African Network for Evidence-to-Action in Disability (AfriNEAD) conference, a prestigious international network that will be hosted by SU from the 30 November to 3 December 2020. To honour this the Transformation Office and the Disability Unit, along with AfriNEAD, will publish monthly reflections or articles by persons with disabilities. Our fourth piece is written by Ilze Aaron, a student at Stellenbosch University, who is studying towards a BEd in the Faculty of Education.  </em><br></p><p><em><br></em></p><p>I am Ilze Aaron, and I am 22 years old. I come from Paarl. When I was about 9 or 10 years old, my aunt noticed that my speech was different and at her suggestion, my mom took me to Tygerberg Hospital to have the necessary hearing tests done. It was confirmed that I had hearing loss. Two days after the news, my mom went back to the doctor and asked him what she could do to help me. He suggested that I wore hearing aids to improve what hearing I had left. </p><p>The moment that I put the hearing aids on, I was amazed that I could hear everything around me, the wind blowing and the birds singing. It was a big challenge and a huge adjustment for me, but without my mom, I would have lost all hearing and speech and I am forever grateful to her. She spent hours teaching me how to pronounce words until I got it right. She tried to make my life as 'normal' as possible.</p><p>I started my school years at Nederburg Primary School and then attended Labori High School in Paarl. I stayed until Grade 8 where my classes consisted of about 30 learners. The teacher made me sit in the front row in class so that I could try to lipread her, but I could never participate – I could not follow the class. </p><p>We then found out about De la Bat School for the Deaf, and in 2012 I moved schools. The new challenge was that I had no knowledge of sign language. I had to take extra classes after school to learn South African Sign Language (SASL) for three months so that I could communicate with my fellow learners. Fortunately, I got the hang of it fairly quickly. Towards the end of my schooling, I even started helping out as interpreter between our teacher and my fellow learners in class, because the teacher could not use SASL fluently enough for them to understand her.</p><p>After matric I worked as a teacher's assistant at Dominican Wittebome School for the Deaf where I learned a great deal about being a teacher for deaf children. One day out of the blue, I was contacted by De la Bat School to ask whether I would be interested in applying to study at Stellenbosch University. Initially I was unsure, but after giving it some thought, I realised that I had to grab this opportunity and I sent in my application. I did not tell anyone that I had applied, and for a few months I did not even check my emails thoroughly. Then I found an old unread email from Stellenbosch University congratulating me on being accepted to the BEd 2017 programme! I could not believe what I was reading! I could not wait to tell my family about this new reality waiting for me. </p><p>In preparation of becoming a Matie, I had to attend a meeting during which I had to indicate my specific communication needs in order to attend classes. This was a big new world for me, and the adjustment was going to be huge! At this meeting, I was blessed to meet my friend Imran Bodalaji, another deaf student who would also be studying BEd with me, and suddenly I did not feel alone anymore. At this meeting, I also experienced my first encounter with an SASL interpreter and was pleasantly surprised. </p><p>Our first day of class was difficult for Imran and me. We got lost all the time and had no clue where to be for classes. We were also unsure of how we would communicate with the other students in our classes. Our thanks go to the Disability Unit and the Language Centre for providing us with SASL interpreters who made it easy for us to bridge the communication divide. The interpreters were there from the start, making sure that we had access to lectures and learning material, and knowing that I was being included made me feel good. Moving from a deaf environment to a world where everyone could hear certainly was a big adjustment.</p><p>Some students took the initiative and used their phones or pen and paper to communicate with us while others came up to us after class, asking where they could learn SASL, and I was pleased to tell them that an SASL module was available in the Faculty of Education. They were always surprised to hear my voice when I spoke to them. Imran and I also worked as tutors for the SASL module for a while, and when a stranger greeted me in my own language outside of class, it made me feel so good. If people could not sign yet, they stopped us and asked us how to sign a greeting or something else. </p><p>My passion is teaching deaf children so that they can receive an education in their own language from another deaf person and being role model for them. I want to inspire them and make sure that they know they can fulfil their dreams, no matter who or what they are. I decided that I would rise above my circumstances and that no matter what, I would bring about change in my deaf community. I cannot wait to graduate just to prove that deaf people also have dreams and that we can achieve anything that we set our minds to.<br></p><p><br></p>
SRC launches their "Clean Campaing"https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7412SRC launches their "Clean Campaing"Students' Representative Council (SRC) / Studenteraad (SR)<p style="text-align:justify;">The first test week of the academic calendar, notorious for being a stressful period for all students, was met with new and challenging circumstances this year. In response to the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was therefore imperative that we, as student leaders, take proactive steps to ensure the wellbeing of our fellow Maties. This led to the formation of the Clean Campaign, a collaborative effort by the Students' Representative Council (SRC), Tygerberg Student Council, Military Academy Student Council and Grace-to-Grace student upliftment group.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The first phase of this Campaign was initiated prior to the implementation of the national lockdown. This was done through a social media campaign on various student platforms with the purpose of reducing panic among students by providing the necessary information to protect themselves and those around them. Clean Campaign posters were also distributed with emergency contact numbers, cleaning techniques and other information pertaining to student safety.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">With the support of the Rectorate of Stellenbosch University (SU) and the Division for Student Affairs, we are now in the final preparation stages of distributing 1 500 Clean Care packages across our campuses. These packages contain a Clean Campaign brochure, hand sanitiser and a face mask as a means of supporting students who have remained either in a residence or in private accommodation in and around campus during this time. To download the Clean Campaign brochure as a PDF, click <a href="/english/learning-teaching/student-affairs/Documents/CleanCampaign%20Information%20Brochure.pdf?d=w6d1e14647f4a4a7691499083c788b664">here</a>.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">While the demand for these products has far exceeded the current supply, the SU is in no shortage of talented and resourceful individuals. With the help of residence and private student organisation representatives, we therefore hope to connect with students who are willing to support and engage in this Campaign. The next phase of the Clean Campaign is to create a platform where students can voice their ideas and contribute towards creating a safer learning and social environment.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">We hope that, through this Campaign, we can encourage other institutions, businesses and people to realise that we are in this together and that only through working together can we protect each other. Please contact us at <a href="mailto:sr@sun.ac.za">sr@sun.ac.za</a> to become a part of our project.</p>
Social media: think twice before sharinghttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7368Social media: think twice before sharingNadine Christians<p>​Social media, amongst many other technological advances, is a 21<sup>st</sup> century phenomenon. It has become integral in communicating and connecting people in ways that was before unimaginable.  <br></p><p>However, the freedom of access that social media has brought to society has also highlighted the importance of using these platforms responsibly when disseminating information. </p><p>In recent months, the Equality Unit has seen an increase in information either posted or shared on social media platforms which directly talks to incidents of unfair discrimination and harassment. In addition, users have been sharing posts which directly discriminate staff and students when complaints have not yet been lodged or investigations into incidents have not been concluded. </p><p>“The incidents which come through the doors of the Equality Unit are extremely sensitive and serious, and it's important that we treat every incident with care and confidentiality. We understand how sensitive harassment, discrimination, sexual abuse, and gender-based violence is, and that these issues are very emotive and we know that people want to create awareness when they see or know of wrongdoing taking place," says Jaco Greeff Brink, Head of the Equality Unit. </p><p>Students and staff are guided by three policies: the Disciplinary Code for Students, the Policy on Unfair Discrimination and Harassment aimed at staff and students, and the Electronic Communications Policy also aimed at staff and students. </p><p>Sharing information on social media that has not been investigated and verified can have serious ramifications both in an SU and criminal context. </p><p>If it is found that anyone has posted or disseminated information that is false or unverified on social media, it can lead to serious consequences including criminal prosecution for <em>crimen injuria</em>, which consists of unlawfully and intentionally impairing the dignity or privacy of another person. Another consequence can be action for damages as a result of defamation of character, which means the unlawful and intentional publication of a matter that impairs someone's dignity and reputation. In addition the University may institute disciplinary action against a student in terms of the applicable provisions in the Student Disciplinary Code.</p><p>“We understand that people want to expose wrong-doers and make others aware of discrimination and harassment but we ask that the Stellenbosch University community think about why and what they post. We have to take care when making allegations online when the complaint has not been investigated and findings have not been made known to the relevant parties. The personal and professional reputations of the complainant and respondent can be tarnished if we are not careful and if information about an alleged complaint is distributed without the facts verified. </p><p>“We urge our SU community to think carefully before distributing information online," added Brink. </p><p>*If you have experienced unfair discrimination or harassment, contact the Equality Unit on <a href="mailto:unfair@sun.ac.za"><span lang="EN-US" style="text-decoration:underline;">unfair@sun.ac.za</span></a>. Follow the Equality Unit on social media at @EqualityUnitSU.<br></p>
SU student support during COVID-19 pandemichttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7354SU student support during COVID-19 pandemicCorporate Communication/ Student Affairs<p>​As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, higher education institutions have had to come up with innovative ways to ensure that students successfully complete their studies for 2020.<br></p><p>Within the constraints of the total lockdown announced by the South African government, Stellenbosch University (SU) has put the necessary measures in place and has launched various initiatives to help support students during the pandemic. All the relevant information in this regard has been made available on a <span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5"><strong><a href="/english/online-teaching-support-students"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">dedicated page</span>​</a></strong></span><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5"> </span>on the SU website.​<br></p><p>Our institution's integrated COVID-19 response, including the various forms of student support, is managed by the Institutional Committee for Business Continuity (ICBC). This document provides an overview of SU's institutional response during the COVID-19 pandemic.<br></p><p><strong>​Revised 2020 academic calendar</strong></p><p>We had to extend the recess period for our students because of the national lockdown. This meant, however, that we also had to adjust the 2020 academic year. To ensure teaching and learning programmes continue during the lockdown and students complete the academic year with as minimal disruptions as possible, the Executive Committee of Senate approved changes to the 2020 academic calendar. The Corporate Communication Division used all the appropriate channels to inform students of these changes. See the latest communication details <a href="https://stellenbosch.everlytic.net/public/messages/view-online/muKwCTkd84ckorcs/C6EjrNBYng5pPoRq"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">here</strong></a>.<br><br></p><p><strong>Online learning initiatives </strong></p><p>One of SU's strategic goals is to offer its students the best possible chance to complete their studies successfully. It is, therefore, important to optimise their in-class and out-of-class experience to enhance our student success rate. The suspension of contact teaching and learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown meant that we had to move to online platforms to ensure we complete the 2020 academic year and our students do not lose an academic semester or the entire year. </p><p>Online learning was officially rolled out on Monday 20 April, via our online learning and teaching platform, <strong>SUNLearn</strong>. A dedicated website was developed and populated with various information, guides and tools, to assist students with the transition from class-based learning to online learning. Click <a href="/english/learning-teaching/student-affairs/cscd/Pages/Guidance-for-Student-Online-Learning.aspx"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">here</strong></a> for more information.<br><br></p><p><strong>Laptops </strong></p><p>We procured 1 500 laptops for socio-economically disadvantaged students who have no connectivity to SU's online learning resources. An <a href="https://stellenbosch.everlytic.net/public/messages/view-online/oKvVhgaB5IlO8HsE/8WKOWToDbbNs0xAX"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">email message</strong></a><strong> </strong>with a final offer was sent to all students on Tuesday 21 April and a total of 1 094 students accepted the offer and their laptops have already been delivered to their respective residential addresses. Each student also received an email to confirm delivery arrangements, followed by an SMS message alerting them to the <a href="https://stellenbosch.everlytic.net/public/messages/view-online/V9PqhC8UM8sIHyQE/FDseiCTPNSHYcSeK"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">email communiqué</strong></a>. A further 51 requests are currently being processed. </p><p>From a fundraising perspective, we have focussed on digital access for our students to give them the tools to complete online learning and teaching. We appeal to all alumni, friends, donors and sponsors to lend a hand to address this challenge and stand with our students during this period and make a gift to support this urgent priority. Each laptop costs up to R8 000 per student. Click <a href="https://www.matiesalumni.com/covid-19/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">here</strong><strong> </strong></a>to make a contribution. <br><br></p><p><strong>Data and zero-rated data </strong></p><p>In addition to the loan laptop offer and negotiating zero-rating for access to SU's academic platforms (sun.ac.za websites), SU secured data bundle offers with various service providers. The exact method of providing data to students will be re-evaluated on a month-to-month basis. </p><p>Updated information about zero-rating of websites and tips for containing mobile data costs, are available on the <a href="/english/learning-teaching/student-affairs/cscd/Pages/Guidance-for-Student-Online-Learning.aspx"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">Guidance for online learning page</strong></a>. To assist our students we have compiled a set of zero-rating <a href="/english/learning-teaching/student-affairs/cscd/Documents/Guidance%20for%20Student%20Online%20Learning/Zero%20rating%20FAQ.pdf"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">FAQs</strong></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5"> </span>for easy reference.<br></p><p><strong>Student support: Academic </strong></p><p>We have ensured that students continue to have access to our wide-range of academic support services during the national lockdown. Students have access to virtual platforms to find tips<strong> </strong>for learning online; to <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7229"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">access the library</strong></a>; to find information about student connectivity, Computer User Areas and technical support; to contact the <a href="/english/learning-teaching/student-affairs/cscd"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">Centre for Student Counselling and Development</strong></a>(CSCD) for academic and emotional support and emergencies; and to find information on matters relating to <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7263"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">student administration-related</strong></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">. </span>See all the latest communication details<a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7283"> <span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5"><strong>here</strong></span></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5"><strong>.</strong></span><br></p><p><strong>Student support: Health and wellness </strong></p><p>The wellbeing of our students is important and we are continuing to offer dynamic and student-centred psychological developmental and support services during the national lockdown. The Centre for Student Counselling and Development (CSCD) is functioning virtually or telephonically – depending on the student's choice. Any student who would like to make an appointment can send an email to supportus@sun.ac.za. ER 24 continues to be available for students in crisis. CSCD is also offering an online support series (#supportUS) on Student Affairs' Facebook and Instagram platforms. In the period 1–28 April 2020, these posts reached 61 591 people on Facebook with 15 443 post engagements. 3 <br><strong><br></strong></p><p><strong>Student support: Extended Degree Programmes (EDPs)</strong><br></p><p>The Centre for Student Counselling and Development (CSCD) appointed an educational psychologist and a registered counsellor from 1 January 2020 to support students who are registered for Extended Degree Programmes (EDPs). These professionals provide free individual and group consultations aimed at academic skills development, psychotherapy and/or career counselling. Online support groups have been offered since the national lockdown started and are focussed on supporting the mentors of the EDP students. The following online work sessions will be presented during the second academic term, via online platforms: </p><ul><li>Faculty of Science: Anxiety and Stress Management; Study Methods; and Resilience. </li><li>Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences: Handling Failure; and How to manage your time and energy.​​<br><br></li></ul><p><strong>Student governance </strong></p><p>The Student Governance Office has established a coordinated and responsive online strategy, ensuring that student structures are supported and can continue working in their various portfolios. Student Governance has had consultation and detailed feedback with each structure executive regarding challenges and support required. This allows the Office to tailor offerings of development and support to directly target the context. Follow-up online workshops will be conducted to provide support to student leaders to continue with their portfolios. </p><p>Important meetings and consultations, such as the Student Representative Council (SRC) executive meeting with the Rectorate, continue in the virtual space, using the MS Teams platform to discuss and plan work for the rest of the year. We have also included the SRC on the Institutional Committee for Business Continuity (ICBC) and its work streams. According to SRC Chairperson, Lewis Mboko, the process has been valuable: </p><p><em>“The ICBC has been a very useful and progressive committee. I learnt many things on disaster management. Mostly I got the chance to fully represent students on a daily basis in our meetings. It made us to be on the same page and aware of every decision taken by the university as I would participate in the engagements and give the perspective from the side of students as well. I feel that, thus far, the ICBC has done great in coming up with solutions that are inclusive." </em></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>Supporting students remaining in SU residences </strong></p><p>Following the measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 15 March, the University requested students to vacate their residences and to return home for the recess period (see links below). A total of 720 students who were unable to do so, remained in residences. They were asked to adhere to strict hygiene protocols and other lock-down regulations. </p><p>Students receive various support through the Centre for Student Communities and the Centre for Student Counselling and Development, within the Division of Student Affairs. On the Stellenbosch campus, food support includes purchasing of and distribution of food products, including dry ingredients, to students via the residence heads and the distribution of food parcels. Catering services have also made available products in the residence kitchens for students to use. Further to this, students have also been provided with cooking equipment that has been set up at dedicated points in residences.</p><p>At the Tygerberg campus, students who have challenges with food security are supported through the TygerMaties Cluster Office. Support includes food vouchers to purchase basics and/or a grocery option through the University's suppliers. The Office of the Vice Dean for Social Impact and Clinical Training has also supported students through the existing pantry project and various other donations. In addition to SU's support, the University is grateful for the food parcel donations from various faith-based and community organisations. </p><p>With the implementation of the Level 4 lockdown, the provision of meals by food service providers resumed on the morning of Monday 11 May 2020. This allows students to book their meals on the FMS system. The food service providers operate from a limited number of kitchens on campus. According to Level 4 lockdown regulations, no queues or sit-downs in dining halls will be allowed, thus meals are delivered to students in their various residences and SU houses, including the Listen, Learn and Live Village. </p><p>WhatsApp groups have been formed to keep students in contact with the Centres for Student Communities and Student Counselling and Development respectively. </p><ul><li><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">bit.ly/3b7WvRj </strong></li><li><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">bit.ly/2XyFs71 </strong></li><li><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">bit.ly/34uLpDI </strong></li><li><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7268</strong></li></ul><p><strong>Master's and PhD candidates </strong></p><p>We have put in place an exceptional arrangement for Master's and PhD candidates who were on a trajectory to graduate in December 2020 or March 2021, but who have lost time due to the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown (for example, being unable to access primary or secondary sources). </p><p>A special thesis or dissertation submission deadline of 1 March 2021 has been approved. Candidates who choose to take up this option after consultation with their supervisor or promotor, will be required to re-register for the 2021 academic year, but will not be expected to pay tuition fees for the degree under examination in 2021. The tuition waiver would only be applicable to candidates who submit their thesis or dissertation by 1 March 2021 and for the relevant degree. Any outstanding fees from 2020 would remain payable. See all the latest communication details <a href="https://stellenbosch.everlytic.net/public/messages/view-online/muKwCTkd84ckorcs/1GfXxJVtKfWNtd2p">here</a>: <br></p><p><strong>International students </strong></p><p>Through the Stellenbosch University International (SUI) office, we are providing support to international students and students who are currently participating in study abroad programmes. Support for international students commenced prior to the national lockdown and included logistical support to assist students with returning to their respective countries. 5 </p><p> We are in contact with students who are based abroad and have implemented online check-in sessions as a support mechanism. We are also in contact with host institutions and have been providing students with relevant information on travel restrictions and assistance with returning to South Africa.</p><p>Since lockdown, we have been working closely with International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) and government representatives to support the students. </p><p>For more information click <a href="file:///C:/Users/ckeating.STB/Desktop/covid%20documets/www0.sun.ac.za/international/news/international-student-updates-on-COVID-19.html"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5"><strong>here</strong></span></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5"><strong>.</strong></span>  <br></p><p><strong>SU's first virtual conferral of qualifications </strong></p><p>The Registrar's and Corporate Communication divisions joined forces to arrange the University's first virtual conferral of qualifications in absentia for our March/April 2020 graduands by SU's new Chancellor, Justice Edwin Cameron on Friday 3 April. The short video can be viewed <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6fA_oGXgeQ"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">here</strong></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">.</span><br></p><p><strong>Fundraising to support SU students: #Move4Food </strong></p><p>We will be enhancing our support for our student-led #Move4Food campaign to curb student hunger. Not knowing where the next meal will come from is a reality for many South Africans, including our SU students. The bleak reality is that a lack of access to affordable and nutritious food on South African campuses is rife and Stellenbosch University is no exception. Alumni, friends, donor and sponsor support of the #Move4Food campaign not only touches our students' everyday lives, it is also a powerful and exemplary demonstration of their commitment to transforming the lives of young people. </p><p>Click <a href="https://www.matiesalumni.com/covid-19/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-5"> </strong>to make a contribution. ​<br><br></p>
Luigia Nicholas: Who am I?https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7311Luigia Nicholas: Who am I?Transformation Office | Disability Unit | AfriNEAD<div><em>​​​SU's Rector and Vice-chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers announced late last year that 2020 will be the university's Year for Persons with Disability. It will culminate in the sixth African Network for Evidence-to- Action in Disability (AfriNEAD) conference, a prestigious international network that will be hosted by SU from the 30 November to 3 December 2020. To honour this the Transformation Office and the Disability Unit, along with AfriNEAD, will publish monthly reflections or articles by persons with disabilities. Our third piece is written by </em><span lang="EN-GB"><em>Luigia Nicholas who is currently studying towards a </em><em>Postgraduate Diploma​​ in Tax Law; she is also the SRC's Special Needs Manager.</em></span><br></div><br><br><div><br></div>Growing up as the oldest of three children, I have always felt the pressure of being the most responsible child and trying to set a good example for my younger siblings. I have struggled all my life with poor eyesight. As a youngling, the teachers would tell my parents that I had lazy eyes or needed to use glasses, but these would never help. I had to struggle to get through my primary school career by asking the teachers and my classmates to assist me, among other thing by copying work out of their textbooks, as I could not see the board clearly. This left me feeling useless, as if there was something wrong with me. <br><br>I was diagnosed with my first eyesight condition, S Margaret's disease, only in Grade 8, at the age of 14. At the beginning of my high school career in 2014, I was diagnosed with a second eye condition, namely uveitis. Having discovering what was wrong with me, I could work around how to make my life easier and what to do to help my schooling. Because I went to a mainstream private school and not Pioneer School, I had to help the school to adjust to my needs.  I taught them how to assist me with my eyesight condition so that I could do the best in my schooling. During this time, I realised I had a talent for educating people on how to assist those that are different.<br><br>I had lived 12 years of schooling and 3 years of university without most people knowing that I had an eyesight condition and being a 'normal' student, but when I received Haiku (my guide dog) everything changed. People's attitudes towards me changed and everyday activities became harder to do. The first time I took Haiku shopping with me was a completely new situation. It felt as if the entire store was staring at me, which made me feel insecure and discouraged me from going to the store again. I was forced to make a decision – either feel sorry for myself and accept life as it is, or fight to make a difference. <br><br>After coming to university, I began interacting with other differently‑abled students. That gave me a sense of belonging and I soon realised that I was not the only person struggling with issues of acceptance into a society that did not adapt to my needs.  Interactions through society work and social, as well as university work have shown me that students need a space to feel heard. Being involved in a disability awareness in society has demonstrated that students need a space where they can vent and engage with others in their everyday life struggles. This needs to be a space where they can speak to someone who shares their experience and can give advice and guidance on how to deal with certain conflicts. <br><br>However, students do not want to be recognised only for their disabilities, but also for their other abilities. I decided to change my narrative of being recognised only by my disability by getting involved with societies that are not focused on disability awareness. I joined societies that reflect my other passions. I also have an interest in film, church societies, arts and crafts, and board games. <br><br>I have also worked to better my leadership skills through participation in short courses and leadership positions. This helped me grow as a person and become more comfortable with my other interests. I stepped outside my comfort zone and in doing so, indirectly started educating others and making them more aware of accessibility issues they might have and how they could create a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities. <br>​ <br><br><p><br></p>