Mamelodi Campus Dean appointed Siyaphumelela Student Success coach

Posted on May 22, 2020

Professor Nthabiseng Ogude, Dean of UP’s Mamelodi Campus, has been chosen to be a coach to support the future of the Siyaphumelela Network activities.

The Siyaphumelela Network is a student success initiative supported by the South African Institute for Distance Education and funded by the Kresge Foundation. It has worked across universities to improve student success in South Africa. All South African higher education institutions are eligible to join the Siyaphumelela Network. Participant institutions will work with a Siyaphumelela coach and make use of a South African version of the Institutional Capacity Assessment Tool to explore their strengths and weakness in order to prioritise student success initiatives.

According to Prof Ogude, the main role of the coach is to develop the institution’s capacity to report on a number of pre-determined student-success metrics, and identify possible interventions to improve student success. “I am humbled by this nomination as it attests to my track record and contribution to student success initiatives in South African Universities”, she said.

Prof Ogude said her interest in success in South African universities was sparked 31 years ago when she was a PhD candidate in chemistry at the University of the Witwatersrand and a junior lecturer who taught what was then called “slow stream Bachelor of Science students”. This programme enabled students to qualify for mainstream programmes.

For a decade after her PhD studies she worked with the students and witnessed many “flourish and become good experimental chemists and physicists”. Throughout her tenure as an academic, her passion has centred on student access and success in undergraduate programmes. This was especially so during her previous tenure as Vice-Principal for Teaching and Learning at UP. “The coaching responsibility aligns well with my day-to-day work at Mamelodi Campus, which is centred on redress and student success. Though coaching will be demanding, I believe that I will move seamlessly between my national and institutional responsibilities.” In 2019, a cohort of South African coaches was identified to strengthen local student success coaching capacity. Prof Ogude represented Mamelodi Campus at the Achieving the Dream Coaches Retreat in October 2019, as well as the 16th Annual Dream Conference in Maryland, USA, in February 2020.

The goals of the Siyaphumelela Network programme are to:

  1. Improve capacity to collect student data and integrate it with institutional research, information and communication technology, academic development, planning, student support and academic divisions.
  2. Create South African models of universities using successful data analytics to improve student outcomes.
  3. Create a greater awareness and support for data use to improve student success in South Africa.
  4. Create and highlight a shared vocabulary and consensus on especially effective practices to improve student success, and
  5. Enlarge the cadre of experienced data analytics professionals supporting student success.


- Author Jimmy Masombuka

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