It was with a sense of achievement that Dr Sibusiso Chalufu (right) praised a milestone programme designed to herald in the professionalisation of Student Affairs, Student Development and Student Support and related functions who provide essential support critical to student success in the public university sector.

The SAASSAP (South African Association of Senior Student Affairs Professionals) President, who is also Executive Director: Student Life at North-West University, said there had been failed attempts at this before, and applauded the work done by HELM (Universities South Africa’s Higher Education Leadership Management programme designed for capacity development) to correct that.

The HELM Student Affairs and Student Success programme, SASS, began with a two-day session from 29 to 30 May. It had attracted 50 participants drawn from 24 of the 26 public universities across South Africa. The bespoke programme was designed as a direct response to a finding of a 2021 national needs assessment survey, that identified an urgent need for capacitation in Student Affairs, Student Development and Student Support practitioners.