By Nontobeko Zondi 31 January 2021
Newly appointed Director: Student Life and Governance- Mr Vhugala Nthakheni
Mr. Vhugala Nthakheni hails from the Tshidzini Village in Limpopo. He is the newly appointed Director: Student Life and Governance at the Vaal University of Technology from 01 December 2020.
He obtained his qualifications: BCom (Law) and LLB from the University of Free State.
To ensure that students enjoy their varsity life during this COVID-19 era, he believes that the move to non-contact student development and student life offerings presents an opportunity for his department to explore the optimal use of technology in delivering programmes and support to students and student structures.
“The greatest challenge would be the balance between cost, the synthesizing of communication and accessibility. We are looking to create clear, concise, and interactive material that can be distributed at a relatively low cost on various platforms, including social media. We are fortunate that there are enough technological advances that could support our support offerings virtually,” said Mr. Nthakheni.
He further states that one of the greatest lessons he has learned in his previous experiences is that the best way to provide relevant services to students is to ask them what services they need and their views on the currently available services. To implement this, his department will conduct a pilot survey on student life to bring the balance between what the department has planned for their developmental needs and what their expectations are.
He said that in the short space of time that he has been at VUT, he has experienced VUT student leadership engaging, a leadership quality that we ought to embrace as an institution. “I have found that progress becomes an inevitability as long as lines of dialogue remain open,” he alluded.
He joins the institution with immense work experience to contribute to the student life of VUT. He is the former head of Special Projects for the Division of Student Affairs (DSA) at UFS; former head of first-year student Orientation for the UFS; former Coordinator for the (DSA) research desk at UFS; former Coordinator for the DSA policy review, development and archiving; former Head of Student Governance for the UFS; former Acting Director: Student Affairs for the Qwaqwa Campus of the UFS; Chaired Division of Student Affairs Risk Management Committee and former Senior Manager: Student Affairs on the South Campus of the UFS.
He has served as a National Executive member for the National Association for Student Development Practitioners (NASDEV) 2016-2018; Deputy General Secretary – NASDEV 2018 – 2020; Mentor: University of Florida graduate program in Student Affairs 2015; Mentor: Make a Difference Foundation 2015 – 2018; Institutional Adviser: ENACTUS 2016 – 2019 and Chapter adviser: Golden Key International Honour Society UFS 2016 – 2018.