Jun 11, 2020
The Siyaphumelela (“We Succeed”) Initiative focuses on broadening evidence-based postsecondary student success strategies in South Africa and is funded by the Kresge Foundation. The Siyaphumelela project is currently in its second phase which commenced in 2020 and will end in 2023 (Siyaphumelela 2.0). DUT was the only University of Technology that participated in the first phase from 2017 to 2019 (Siyaphumelela 1.0). The current phase of the Siyaphumelela project aims to enhance student success through expanded support to seven of South Africa’s 26 universities. The nationwide network consists of partner and member institutions. The network is coordinated by SAIDE (South African Institute for Distance Education), a South African non-profit organization committed to transforming education to increase equitable outcomes for all.
The main goals of Siyaphumelela are to
(i) develop institutional capacity to collect and integrate data across various divisions within Universities, such as Institutional Research, Information Technology, Academic Development, Planning and other Academic Divisions.
(ii) improve South African Universities Models for ensuring success by using data analytics to improve student outcomes.
(iii) create greater awareness and support for using data to improve student success and work towards building a culture of data-based decision-making through a large cadre of experienced data analytics professionals supporting student success.
The DUT Siyaphumelela 2.0 project will dismantle silos, and promote collaboration and integration across various institutional partners across the DUT community through its three focus areas. These are Sikusekele (“We got you”) which is the University’s response to enabling holistic student support and is driven by our Student Services division. The second focus area is Hambisa (“Moving forward”) which seeks to improve throughput-rates and staff and student experiences in six pilot programmes across all the faculties. Building an evidence-based culture by making data available, capacitating staff to use data, developing communities of practice and celebrating a data culture through the annual DUT Data Day which is themed to ENVISION2030 underpin our third focus area. The project is premised on the Knowing-Doing-Transforming framework developed during Siyaphumelela 1.0. The philosophy of Ubuntu is interwoven through and within the individual focus areas allowing for silos to be broken and collaboration across the University. This relational, rhizomatic approach has enabled the creation of a network of significant contributors toward achieving student success at DUT.
The emphasis on “we” being the DUT community (staff and students) representing a collective effort and shared responsibility, is in line with our ENVISION2030 strategy, and together we will succeed. The ethos and activities within the focus areas of Siyaphumelela 2.0 are underpinned by the key performance indicators and strategic objectives of ENVISION2030.
The Siyaphumelela 2.0 project falls under the ambit of Teaching and Learning, with Prof Nokuthula Sibiya, the DVC T&L as the project leader. The project is housed in the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). The project driver is currently Prof Livingstone Makondo, Acting Director for CELT. The Siyaphumelela Core Team is responsible for the strategic direction of the project and include the Project Driver Acting Director CELT (Prof Makondo); Director ITSS (Dr Mtshali – Acting); Sikusekele lead: Acting Dean of Students (Dr Haniff); Hambisa lead (Ms Chitanand), Institutional Culture Change lead and Institutional Researcher (Dr Parker) and Ms Singh, the Siyaphumelela Project Coordinator. The Core Team is chaired by DVC T&L (Prof Sibiya). A Student Success Task Team (SSTT) comprising key stakeholders from across the University provides direction on student success initiatives and creates and nurtures working partnerships between the project, constituent divisions, staff, and students. In so doing, it creates a facilitative environment for the development and implementation of an impactful, robust, coherent, transformative, and sustainable student success programme at DUT that aligns to the University strategy, ENVISION2030.
Siyaphumelela Project Coordinator: Ms Nivedhna Singh
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