Former Southern Business School (SBS) CEO Chris Vorster has moved to the helm of STADIO Higher Education and is firmly steering the ship to success with the introduction of two doctorate qualifications for 2021.
The two doctorates that will be offered next year, for the first time, are in Policing and Management. Chief academic officer at STADIO, Dr Divya Singh, notes that a doctorate is the apex qualification for any profession. “We want the whole vertical spectrum for all our programmes. However, our approach will be to first bed down these two doctorates and make sure we have the quality and perfect processes in place before we start looking at expanding in the other disciplines,” she says.
STADIO has five faculties: education, law, arts and design, science and technology as well as commerce, administration and management. Singh says both doctorates fall under commerce, administration, and management.
The institution offers hybrid learning, which is a way of combining traditional classroom experiences, experiential learning objectives, and digital course delivery that emphasises using the best option for each learning objective. Singh attributes this learning model as one of the reasons for the 11% increase in student numbers for the second semester this year, against the backdrop of Covid 19.
Over the past two decades the School of Policing and Law Enforcement, under the umbrella of its previous institutional title of Southern Business School, has developed thousands of law enforcement officers and enabled their promotion in the workplace.
Southern Business School has been running a Bachelors’ degree and Honours degree in police practice since 1997 and the Masters programme was recently accredited. “The offering is now complete with the introduction of the doctorate. The idea is that your police leadership should be equipped with both the discipline, skills knowledge and the underpinning academic bases,” Singh explains. Although the doctorate is a two-year programme, STADIO anticipates that students will complete it in three to four years given that they will be holding down full-time jobs while studying.
Singh says STADIO has chosen to adopt a slightly different, more practical approach compared to the traditional theoretical approach that you would find when studying a PHD, for example. “Our thinking is to incorporate themed or focused research. So, instead of five people researching five different things, the five students would collectively grapple with a specific problem.
“For example, if you looking at policing in Khayelitsha, one would look at the issue of detection, one would look at community policing in the area, and another one would look at statistics and the economic impact.
“Once their research is complete, we will be able to pull together a complete, holistic report. The research will then be handed over to the police and can be used to advance policing in that particular space,” she says.
She points out that this approach will solve problems in a practical space, making a significant contribution to the working environment and this is the deciding factor likely to distinguish the STADIO offering from that of the public universities. The same approach will be adopted with the Doctorate in Management.
For the six months to June 2020, STADIO Holdings reported a 15% jump in revenue to R468.2 million with a corresponding 10% rise in student numbers to 31 053.
The group commenced construction on its first multi-faculty campus, STADIO Centurion, in November 2019. The facility was intended to open in 2021 but management has elected to conserve cash until the full effects of Covid-19 are known. In line with this thinking, the facility construction and opening date has been pushed out to 2022.