A holistic approach to student services at UWC residences

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Reflective Journey of Change: UWC Residences
Presenters: Ms. Faeza Khan & Ms. Candice Stroud
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not
on fighting the old but on building the new”
Socrates
Setting the UWC context
Dedicated to creating a sense of community in UWC
Residences.
• UWC started in 1960 as part of the Apartheid ‘s regime initiative to
produce ethnic higher education.
• It became known as the Western Cape’s University for “Coloured”
persons.
• The 1976’s Soweto uprising sparked the beginning of the Defiance
campaign at UWC.
• The university became the site of struggle : intellectually as well as in
the trenches.
• In 1980 the University was declared an Open University and admitted
“Black students”.
Setting the UWC context
Dedicated to creating a sense of community in UWC
Residences.
• The 1990's were characterised on the one hand by a sense of rich
achievement.
• UWC was able to play an important role in the emergence of the new
democratic order.
• It provided opportunities for many people to prepare for a wide
spectrum of higher-level careers, and played a leading part in policy
research and formulation.
• UWC takes pride in the fact that so many of its senior academics and
alumni found themselves in public office at all levels, a number in the
national cabinet.
UWC Residences: Early days
Dedicated to creating a sense of community in UWC
Residences.
• Residences were established in the 1970’s and its first residence was
named after a political activist Cecil Esau
• In keeping with the history of UWC surrounded by the political
events, all the residences were named after political activists
• In 1986 the cluster residences were built (total of 4 residences) as well
as the first, first year residence namely Cassinga Residence)
• UWC also sourced off campus accommodation for students
• In the nineties students were highly politicized, there were ethnicity
issues, mistrust between students, and students and staff.
• Student demonstrations were common occurrences on the
residences. Student would protest about dining halls, lack of hot
water, maintenance, cleaning.
UWC Residences: Early days (continued)
Dedicated to creating a sense of community in UWC
Residences.
• There was probably not a residence that did not have a student selling
merchandizes from his or her room.
• Alcohol was freely available and some students would also offer it for sale
on the residences.
• Drugs were also a common challenge on the residences.
• The focus of student development was largely on sports based programs and
clean up campaigns
• At the time each residence had their own system of dealing with disciplinary
issues and sanctions
• There were rules but these not strictly adhered to
• Residences were managed by residence co-ordinators and porters were
available to support students after hours
UWC Impetus for Change!
Dedicated to creating a sense of community in UWC
Residences.
• The dawning of the new democracy brought about a new energy and the
possibilities for the future of UWC.
• After a shaky start in the early days of democracy, the university withstood a
perilous financial crisis, retrenchment of workers and the transformation of
the higher education sector.
• In 2009, the university developed the first Institutional Operating Plan which
paved the way for transformation : the university moved from its reputation
of being a previously disadvantage university to a business model. The IOP
provided direction and focus to all the departments.
• It defined the pathway to achieve academic excellence and develop
graduates of quality. In addition to this it made provision for the
university’s infrastructure and human resource change.
• Residential Catering and Services(RCS) was required to align its operations
with the new IOP.
• Resident Management using Lewins Model of Change undertook a
transformation process.
UWC Impetus for change!
Dedicated to creating a sense of community in UWC
Residences.
UWC Students
• Total Resident students=
3600
• 11 Residences: 8 On
campus & 3 Off campus
• Majority of students
dependant on Financial
Aid
• Students come from
previously disadvantaged
communities
• Products of a poor
education system
• Students come from a
community with a
plethora of social ills
Developing a ResLife Model
Underpinning Theory: Ecological Model
Theory
UWC Living-Learning Communities
• Focus on the holistic development of students across
residences at UWC. It acknowledges that in order for
students to learn, their socio-emotional, personal and
economic needs must be met in order to create an
environment conducive to optimal learning.
• At UWC all efforts are made to ensure that residences are
transformed into vibrant, learning spaces and that the
approach to learning is novel and innovative. To this end,
ResLife works with the RS Placement unit to ensure that
floor plans in residences reflect the strategy of living and
learning communities – it is a phased approach that grows
each year. The process started in 2011.
Building UWC Residence Life
LivingLearning
programming
Student
Leadership
Cultural Life
Residence
Life
Community
Standards
Wellness &
Lifestyle
Programming
Psycho-social
support
Living-Learning
Support
• Tutorial Support
• Learning Circles
• Communities of Interest:
1. Law Jaw
2. Economics in Action
3. Big Bang Club
4. First years First
5. Great Big World
6. Earth Stewardship and
Environmental justice
club
7. African Pride
• Mentorship with
Development Officers
Wellness & Lifestyle
Programmes
• First Year Adjustment
Program
• Peer Education
Programme- RezLife
Ambassadors
• Life skills programmes
• Wellness Programmes
• Build partnerships and
networking with
internal and external
stakeholders
Cultural Life
• Harnessing new
talent
• Choir Master
• ResLife Café
• Book Club
• ResLife Café
• Recruit new
talent
• Choir master
• Book Club
Student Leadership
• House Committee
Elections
• Central House
Committee
Elections
• Leadership
Training
• Support House
Committee’s
regarding
programming
Psycho-Social Support
• Counselling
• Skills
Resources &
Exchange
Programme
(SREP)
• Funeral
Support
Community Standards
Discussions
• Based on the
principles of
restorative justice
• Maintains and
supports building a
culture of human
rights
• Issues sanctions to
students who break
the rules to restore
the balance of
peace in the
community
Challenges
Dedicated to creating a sense of community in UWC
Residences.
• Student Participation
• Insufficient resources
• Faculty Support
• Student apathy
Achievements
Dedicated to creating a sense of community in UWC
Residences.
•
•
•
•
•
•
Structure and inclusion of students
Student feedback mechanisms in place
Good M& E system
Sound Developmental programming
Changing face of student leadership
Establishment of living and learning
communities
Contact Details
Dedicated to creating a sense of community in UWC
Residences.
• Faeza Khan
• Living-Learning Coordinator
• Email: [email protected]
• Candice Stroud
• Special Project Coordinator
• Email: [email protected]
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