Stellenbosch University is home to an academic community of some 28 000 students. The historical oak-lined university town amongst the Boland Mountains in the winelands of the Western Cape creates a unique campus atmosphere, which attracts local and foreign students alike. On the main campus, paved walkways wind between campus buildings - some dating from previous centuries; others just a few years old. Architecture from various eras attest to the sound academic foundation and establishment of an institution of excellence. This, together with the scenic beauty of the area; state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly facilities and technology, as well as visionary thinking about the creation of a sustainable 21st-century institution, makes for the unique character of Stellenbosch University.
Stellenbosch University has ten faculties: AgriSciences, Economic and Management Sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences, Engineering, Military Sciences, Arts and Social Sciences, Education, Law and Theology.
How Stellenbosch University links in to the programme:
Mentors form a fundamental cornerstone of the Media24 Rachel's Angels programme. Senior students from SU act as mentors for the learners for two years, enabling the learners to improve their academic abilities and enrich their life skills. SU also partner with Media24 Rachel's Angels in other ways such as the collaboration between the Department of Industrial Psychology; Department of Economic and Management Sciences, as well as the Education Faculty at Stellenbosch University (SU).
To ensure the continuous improvement of the mentorship model and the project, the Department of Industrial Psychology was approached to develop a mentor model that speaks to the projects' needs.
As community partner it is of utmost importance to continuously reflect on the programme activities and its objectives to be sure that the trust fulfil its mandate. Structures are improved and challenges addressed.
Through feedback and assessment, the project identified the need for a structured mentor selection and training process. A couple of years ago Rolene Liebenberg, Manager: Schools Partnership at the DCI and a trustee of the project, was mandated to look for a partner at the university to assist, and she found one in Department of Industrial Psychology.
The design and development of mentor training material has now been incorporated in the Industrial Psychology honours students' programme as part of their engaged learning process. They assist with recruitment and selection, matching mentors and mentees, and training.
Among other things Michelle Visser, lecturer in the department and her team did a job analysis to determine the profile of the ideal mentor, changed the application form and developed training material.
According to her, this helps the students to develop the skills they need to turn theory into practice.
"This initiative serves the needs of the department as well as the community. The students need the exposure," said Prof Johan Malan, chair of the Department of Industrial Psychology, who also attended the forum.
The Division for Community Interaction's (DCI) schools interaction forum is a co-ordination platform for everyone involved in school-based projects at Stellenbosch University.
This is only one example of how the University of Stellenbosch support the Media24 Rachel's Angels Trust. We want to thank the university and especially the Departments of Economics and Industrial Psychology for their on-going support and tremendous impact they made during the past two year cycle.