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.
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.”