Programme the Road to Success

The Road to Success Programme, launched by the Commerce, Law and Management (CLM) faculty, is focused on assisting students within the school with their academics and is looking to open the support programme to all undergraduate students at the university next year. 

A new programme that has been successfully helping undergraduate students with their academics in the School of Commerce, Law and Management (CLM) may be expanded to all first-years next year.

The Road to Success Programme (RSP) was started in CLM in January this year. The programme has been used as a support structure to assist the faculty’s undergraduate students with their academics.

As lecturer for the RSP and course coordinator, Danie De Klerk drew up a timetable which includes a series of tutorial and one-on-one sessions to assist students who are academically “at risk”. The programme also accommodates passing students who wish to attend the classes as an added benefit.

The programme has 25 tutors who have been trained by CLM and the Counselling and Careers Development Unit (CCDU) to assist students with concepts which they find challenging, whether it be personal or academic.

THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: Danie De Klerk, coordinator of the Road to Success Programme, and Masego Modise, a Law tutor on the programme discuss how work is assessed in the Law School. Photo: Riante Naidoo.

THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: Danie De Klerk, coordinator of the Road to Success Programme, and Masego Modise, a Law tutor on the programme discuss how work is assessed in the Law School. Photo: Riante Naidoo.

De Klerk said that “Tutors are trained to identify a problem that is greater than just academic.”

De Klerk said that all first years in CLM were enrolled in the programme at the beginning of the year were taught “generic type skills” such as time management, studying skills, note taking etc. In the second semester, students who were “at risk,” or those who wished to attend voluntarily continued with the programme.

De Klerk said that in 2013, the university applied for development grant money from the department of education. The grants were received last year and have been used to fund such programmes within each faculty at the university.

He said other faculties refer to their support programmes as the “At Risk Programme,” however their faculty chose to name it the “Road to Success Programme” instead, as the term “at risk” is very negative and they wanted to use a motivational approach.

“Our take is unique,” he said. “We are the only ones with tutors, running a programme, focussing on the road to success.” They have taken their approach a step further by focusing on related aspects of a student’s life that can impact them academically.

“If a student is hungry, it’s difficult for them to pay attention to what’s going on in class and whether he or she passes or fails doesn’t matter,” De Klerk said.

“Literature shows that very seldom is it the academic aspect of their studies that is the problem,” he added. He identified food shortage, accommodation conditions and funding problems as the aspects that have directly impacted a student’s studies most severely.

“We are trying to resolve this,” he said.

The RSP also work closely with the CCDU to refer students for counselling if they sense a personal issue is impacting the student’s studies.

De Klerk said they have learnt a great deal in the nine months that the programme has been running and “are quite happy with where the programme is at the moment”.
“The programme is evolving,” he added, and said that they are opening their doors to all 5 200 undergraduate students next year.

“It’s a big thing, but we want the programme to be more than just the baseline of time management studies etc,” he said. “We want to see them graduating, which is what the whole programme is about.”

EXCLUSIVE: Wits loses another Dean

By Thuletho Zwane and Dineo Bendile

Wits University has lost yet another senior member of staff after the Dean of Commerce, Law and Management, Professor Nqosa Mahao, gave Wits Vuvuzela exclusive notice of his resignation.

Mahao was appointed as Dean in February 2012, and will leave the university after just under two years in his position.

In an interview with Wits Vuvuzela Mahao said he was not being driven out of his position as Dean, but made the decision to resign in order to broaden his horizons.

“Yes I have resigned from the university. I am going to explore other interests. Period,” Mahao said.

GOING, GOING, GONE!: Professor Nqosa Mahao has announced his resignation as the dean of Commerce Law and Management.

GOING, GOING, GONE!: Professor Nqosa Mahao has announced his resignation as the Dean of Commerce Law and Management. Photo: Provided


However, Oliver Seale, the director of special projects at Wits, said there had been a general review of the Commerce, Law and Management faculty earlier in the year on the basis of particular challenges that were raised about the faculty’s leadership, management and administration.

“Out of that [review] process there were certain recommendations that were made with regard to leadership, the management of the faculty and administration. What that has resulted in is that negotiations have started with the Dean of the faculty in terms of his future at the university,” Seale said in an interview with Wits Vuvuzela last week. In an email from the vice-chancellor’s office minutes ago, Prof Adam Habib confirmed the resignation.

“I take this opportunity to thank Prof Mahao for his undeterred service to the university.”

Mahao’s resignation, follows the recent resignation of the director of the Wits Business School, Professor Wendy Ngoma, who announced her resignation in August. The business school forms part of the Commerce Law and Management portfolio that had been placed under Mahao’s responsibility.

In less than 200 days since Habib has been in office, there have been other senior members of staff who have left or been removed from their positions. The Director of Transformation, Nazeema Mohamed, has also recently resigned and the Dean of Student Affairs, Prem Coopoo, has been placed on special leave with no indication of when she will return. The Dean of Health Sciences Professor Ahmed Wadee left his post after being recalled by the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS).

Mahao said he will leave the university at the end November, after serving a two-month notice period.