USAf Programme Updates

21-11-18 USAf 0 comment

A. Higher Education Leadership Programme

The Board heard that HELM got off to a good start in 2018, thanks to funding secured from the Department of Higher Education and Training (close to R26million from the University Capacity Development Grant for 2018-2020) and the Kresge Foundation (initial amount about R600K for Vice-Chancellors’ workshops and related events in 2018 and 2019).

Dr Oliver Seale, the HELM Programme Director, took up his position in August. For 2018, HELM had scheduled eight training events, of which five were completed by mid-November.  These were:

  • Deans Workshop (9 and 10 July in Cape Town and 12 and 13 July, in Johannesburg, respectively
  • Foundations of leadership programme: Heads of Schools/Academic Departments (1-2 November)
  • Vice-Chancellors Workshop on Data Analytics (6 and 7 November 2018)
  • Foundation of leadership programme: Heads of Schools/Academic Departments (1-2 November)
  • Design Thinking Workshop: Institutional Planners and Strategic Planners (8 November)

Prof Tim Renick, Vice President for Enrolment Management and Student Success and Professor of Religious Studies at Georgia State University sharing, among other topics, using data analytics to improve student success, and practical strategies for leading successful university change. Prof Renick was facilitating Vice-Chancellors’ Data Analytics workshop in Irene, south of Pretoria from 6-7 November.

Prof Sukhwant Jhaj, Vice President for Academic Innovation, Planning and Partnership, Portland State University, facilitating the Design Thinking Workshop for Institutional and Strategic Planners in Irene, outside Pretoria, on 8 November.

The HELM Programme had also lined up three more sessions for what remained of 2018 and these are:

  • Entrepreneurial education seminar: DVCs/Deans in collaboration with EDHE (22-23 November)
  • Research integrity workshop: DVCs/Deans/Directors Research (28-29 November)
  • HELM research setting agenda colloquium: VCs/DVCs/Deans/Senior Researchers (6 December)

During October/November, the HELM Programme Director assessed submissions received from individual external contractors wishing to advise and assist the HELM team with the design and implementation of its programme activities in 2019 and 2020.

B. Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Programme

EDHE was established in 2016 as a response to increasing graduate and youth unemployment. The programme represents a partnership between USAf and DHET, with universities being recognised as centres of entrepreneurship development and therefore, best placed to drive this initiative. The programme was founded with three goals in mind:

  • Goal 1: Student Entrepreneurship. Mobilise the national student and graduate resource to create successful enterprises that will ultimately lead to wealth and job creation.
  • Goal 2: Entrepreneurship in Academia. Support academics in instilling an entrepreneurial mindset within all students through the offering of relevant knowledge, transfer of practical skills and the application of business principles to specific disciplines. This should take place both through the curriculum and through research.
  • Goal 3: Entrepreneurial Universities. Create a conducive environment for universities to adapt strategically and embark on projects whereby third-stream income can be generated through innovative business ideas

EDHE is headed up within USAf by Dr Norah Clarke, who did the spadework that culminated in the formalisation of EDHE within DHET. Dr Clarke took up her position in USAf as Programme Director from 1 July 2018. She is supported at Project Management level by Mr Rudi van der Merwe, who was appointed from 1 September 2018 and is responsible for work planning, monitoring and reporting, project risk management and the online presence of EDHE, amongst others. In August, EDHE acquired an Administrator, Ms Zamaswazi Shabangu, who provides general office support, manages service providers and finances, amongst other functions.

In addition to setting up the programme infrastructure and building up an entrepreneurship ecosystem in the university sector, the EDHE team initiated and completed a number of projects during 2018, including the national EDHE Lekgotla 2018 and the second annual national Student Entrepreneurship Week (#SEW2018) with a corresponding roadshow to ten universities.

  • The EDHE Lekgotla 2018

Hosted from 27 to 29 June by USAf and the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Higher Education Development in Cape Town, this event attracted 300 delegates from 25 public universities, along with a number of representatives of public and private sector entities. Stakeholders gathered to share learnings, latest developments, trends, best practices and available solutions in entrepreneurship at universities. Inputs were practice-based and collaborative in approach.

About 60 delegates from the EDHE Lekgotla got to see and hear how budding student entrepreneurs are being supported at a) the False Bay College Centre for Entrepreneurship (left), and also at b) a similar incubator programme of Stellenbosch University, among other centres in the Western Cape. By having their hand held as they start out, many students go on to stand on their own feet in business and succeed. With sufficient support at executive leadership level, these initiatives can be replicated with success across the university system.

Included in the 2018 Lekgotla was a one-day bus tour to a number of key points of interest and learning in the Western Cape university entrepreneurship ecosystem. The bus tour was highly commended for showcasing examples of initiatives and entities that could be replicated in other South African contexts. Also included was a one-day Student Entrepreneurs Indaba attended by up to 40 student entrepreneurs from various universities. This resulted in the decision to launch a dedicated Student Entrepreneurs Forum for registered students who also run their own businesses. This forum will function as a Community of Practice (CoP) and the intention is that it will be activated and operational at the beginning of 2019.

  • Student Entrepreneurship Week (#SEW2018)

The annual national Student Entrepreneurship Week (#SEW2018) is aimed at raising awareness among students of entrepreneurship as a career and a means to participate in the economy. #SEW2018 was organised with the help of the CoP for Student Entrepreneurship, through academics and support professionals at most universities. Events took place at universities mainly during August and September. The theme of #SEW2018 was Student Entrepreneurship – the Best of Both Worlds. The national launch of the series of events was hosted by Tshwane University of Technology and attracted significant media attention.

Each #SEW2018 event assumed a format designed by each participating university, based on their unique context and the needs of their students. The numbers of students reached through these initiatives ranged, based on institutions, campuses and duration of programmes, between 50 to 1500 students. The efforts of university champions for entrepreneurship are highly commendable, given the fact that these projects are generally not included in key performance areas of university staff.

  • #SEW2018 Roadshow

The Student Entrepreneurship Week (#SEW2018) was followed by the first one-day national #SEW2018 Roadshow from 21 September to 12 October 2018, at ten universities. This country-wide roadshow had the same objectives as the #SEW2018 project in general, but was primarily aimed at reaching students at more remote universities. The edutainment programme consisted of celebrity motivational speakers and entrepreneurship-focused activities. As with internal university #SEW2018 programmes, business (idea) pitching competitions proved to be a key activity, with a R 10 000 prize money per participating university.

#SEW2018 was a successful awareness creation roadshow, as indicated by sheer interest, the level of participation and quality of inputs across the system. From left: the R10K winner from Fort Hare University; student entrepreneurs at Walter Sisulu University and a performance of drama on entrepreneurship at Rhodes University.

For the successes realised to date within the system the EDHE team applauds Vice-Chancellors who lead by example and empower and encourage staff and students towards entrepreneurship development.

C. Matriculation Board

The USAf Board approved the Admissions Committee’s recommendation for a revised funding model for affiliated private higher education institutions.

The Board also endorsed the proposed fee structure in respect of exemption certificates for 2019.

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