News & Events

Top award for Unisa’s SRU

Unisa’s Student Retention Unit (SRU) has shown its vital role in student support at the university and has confirmed the importance and vitality of its initiatives by receiving an award for Top Institutional Participation in National First-Year Experience (FYE) Month 2019.

The criteria for this sought-after award were as follows:

  1. Awareness of support strategies
  2. Distribution of knowledge and skills empowerment
  3. Retention initiatives implemented during FYE month
  4. Presence among students

This award was given by the South African National Resource Centre for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition (SANRC). This year the 5th annual FYE conference was hosted in Durban, South Africa. The SRU received this top award together with only three other South African universities. This is a major achievement for a new unit comprising of a team of individuals who ensured that first-time entering students are aware of the expectations placed on them when entering an open, distance and e-learning (ODeL) institution. The student success practitioners and associates presented a total of eight papers at the conference which will be converted into publishable manuscripts, contributing toward the dissemination of research aimed at student success.

Unisa’s FYE initiative aims to provide extended support to students entering Unisa and ODeL for the first time by increasing communication between the institution and its students. The FYE programme is a university initiative geared towards integrating and streamlining the broad range of support services to ensure timely and relevant support are available to first-year students. The SRU is based at Unisa’s Muckleneuk campus and is currently funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training. Its goal is to design, develop, implement and disseminate research regarding a variety of issues experienced among first-time entering students.

To engage with the SRU about the FYE programme, feel free to email us at

* Written and compiled by Kyle Bester (Student Success Practitioner & Research Psychologist, Student Retention Unit)

Publish date: 2019/07/23