VUT MAKES A MARK AT 8TH ANNUAL FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE CONFERENCE
By: Qhawekazi Memani – 05 June 2023
Recently, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) took part at the 8th Annual South African National Resource Centre (SANRC) First Year Experience Conference held in East London. Eastern Cape.
The university was represented by the Centre for Academic Development (CAD) First Year Experience (FYE) team (Dr. Corneli Van Der Walt and Dr. Jeremiah Madzimure), Academic Advising team (Mr Kwanele Shoba, Ms Sanele Nxumalo, Ms Lerato Motloung and Ms Remaketse Makateng), as well as the Learning Development Coordinator (Mr Mothusi Samosamo).
Themed “Understanding and Embracing the Higher Education ‘Journey’: Speed Bumps, U-Turns, Pot-Holes and all”, the focus of the conference was on the student experiences and student transition phase in their first year of study, factors that impact the student journey and different approaches/interventions which could be adopted to support and smoothen their higher education journey.
Team VUT’s immense contribution to the conference included presentation of three papers namely:
- ‘Students’ Transition Experiences: Positioning FYE Interventions in a Student Transition Model’.
The presentation highlighted Tinto’s model of Student Transition with its different stages that students go through and by understanding the stages, universities need to be at the point of providing interventions needed at that stage. The paper was presented by Mr Mothusi Samosamo and Dr Jeremiah Madzimure.
- ‘Student Volunteering: A Functional Approach towards Understanding Student Motivations for Volunteering in a Peer Mentor Programme’
The paper was presented by Dr Corneli van der Walt and Mr Mothusi Samosamo. The presentation was aimed at deepening an understanding of student volunteer motives, and how to encourage sustained volunteering effort. The presentation followed the functional approach in psychology to uncover the motives, needs, and goals of volunteer mentors.
- The academic advisors presented on ‘The Implementation of Academic Advising Practice at the Vaal University of Technology’.
The presentation focused on the journey of how academic advising was implemented, what approaches were tackled, and what interventions are in place to assist students with their academic performances. Furthermore, the importance of not only providing students with academic support but also providing them with the smooth transition with the premises of the institutions was highlighted. The paper was presented by Mr Kwanele Shoba, Ms Sanele Nxumalo, Ms Lerato Motloung and Ms Remaketse Makateng.
According to Mr Mothusi, “the conference was very informative and reciprocating in a way that relevant strategies and approaches to enhance first year student success in higher education institutions were intriguing and of course, the majority of the institutions had commonalities to further discuss about.”