Exciting Changes

Exciting Changes

The College is always looking at best practice and streamlining processes. In line with this the Academic department, which comprised the Applied Learning, Academic Policy and Sector Advancement as well as Academic Support and Quality Assurance units, has been working through a restructuring exercise which will see some exciting new changes in how things are done at the College. The roles of key personnel has changed accordingly.

Research and Development

The College is unique in its approach to training that is practical, focuses on competency and used applied learning. The College is very involved in research projects and in determining best practice in the industry, and ensuring that this is fed back into the curricula and programmes we offer.  As such, the Applied Learning Unit has become the Research and Development (R & D) department. The department will focus on research projects, which will feed applied learning into the College’s programmes, especially its Diploma programme, and from which feedback from students and organizations will be fed back to R & D. The R & D department will focus on research, which will also feed back to the curriculum development department, to ensure applied learning is entrenched in our programmes.

Professor Alan Gardiner, who will head up the R & D Department is well known in research and science circles and will lead the applied learning strategy by giving direction to teaching/working examples in order to become the best teaching (best practice) example of a conservation working model. Prof. Gardiner will work closely with other researchers and research students in various research projects, and all research the College is involved in, will be channelled through his able hands. He will be assisted by  Researcher: R & D, Peter Hamming.

Dr. Cleo Graf, Manager R &D, will be the conduit through which work flows, and will ensure sound communication between research and the development of curricula. She will also oversee the management of the department, which includes the budgets, office and financial administration, and the day-to-day operations of the department. Dr. Graf will lead the Innovation Hub working closely with the IT DevOps and Database Administrator, Karl Ferreira, and the Conservation Software Manager, Nandi Thobela to develop best use of technology on campus. This will include integrating and piloting technical tools, facilitating technical use in all departments, and overseeing the development of data management system/s and the external tech hub strategy.

Dr. Yolanda Pretorius Head: Curriculum Development and Training, which now sits within the R & D Department, will to ensure that applied learning from research and applied learning projects informs the curriculum development. She will also provide feedback to the R & D team from students and the practical application and transfer of theory and knowledge related to applied learning projects and research. In turn she will also implement applied learning gleaned from research into the curricula, and work closely with both the Head: R & D and the Manager: R & D as well as with the Registrar and the Head: Quality Management in developing curricula, tools and assessments.

Dr. Pretorius will provide academic support as well as providing a lecturing service for the programme and supporting other facilitators, and lecturers where needed.  In addition, she will be responsible for maintaining a lecturer/trainer database management system, ensuring that peer reviewed scientific articles are published and for developing research projects that can be used in training at the SAWC.

Quality Management

Quality management has always been important to the college, as this is what ensures our accreditation and well as the continued support of donors and stakeholders, and a return of students individually and from conservation organisations. Although the college has always had a quality assurance and management system in place for all its programmes, it intends to develop an overall college quality management system (QMS). This will cover all elements of compliance, and has clear processes and policies against which the college will continually check its own performance.

Anelle Rautenbach, who is well qualified and who previously headed up the Academic Support and Quality Assurance unit, will be taking on this challenge bringing her human resource development skills to the fore.  She will begin the process by first explaining to all levels of staff what a QMS is, how it works, and how it will benefit the college and them as employees. Anelle will work with people to streamline processes, define steps, and rework policies. Hand in hand with this goes internal checks and balances against processes and policies written and adopted. Anelle will be training staff to assist with these, and to understand what they need to check for and why. This will benefit the college tremendously in meeting customer and stakeholder requirements, instilling confidence in the organisation, and balancing this by also meeting the organisation’s requirements, including legal compliance, in the most efficient, cost- and resource-efficient manner. A sound QMS has the following benefits:

  • defining and improving processes
  • Reducing waste and minimising mistakes
  • Lowering costs
  • Facilitating and identifying training opportunities
  • Engaging staff
  • Setting organisation-wide direction and strategy

To name but a few ….


The College has recognised the need to streamline and formulate all student matters in one place. To this end Ashwell Glasson, who has a strong record within the Academic Policy and Sector Advancement unit, has become the College Registrar.  In this role he will manage all student matters such as student registration, policy review and development, developing and managing an overall student strategy and plan as well as issues like grievances, discipline, complaints. The Registrar will also provide support to the Business Unit managers to support academic programme initiatives and converting to online programmes.

The Registrar will also provide career guidance and provide a learning support system for all College students, online and on campus, providing a vital link between the college administration and its students.

In this role, Ashwell will also keep abreast of, manage and implement academic policies as well as the institutionally accredited short course accreditation process, developing a short course evaluations framework, and working according to Adult Learning Principles, and the SAQA structures.