Connect with us

UKZN Guide

UKZN Student Support Services Manager Wins Global Award



UKZN Student Support Services Manager Wins Global Award

UKZN Student Support Services Manager Wins Global Award. The University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) celebrates a remarkable achievement as Dr. Saloschini Pillay, the Student Support Services (SSS) manager at the university’s College of Health Sciences (CHS), has been honored with a prestigious international award. This recognition comes from Hyland UK and highlights Dr. Pillay’s exceptional contributions to student support and wellness through innovative digital solutions.

Read Also: UKZN Status Check Online 

Innovative Digital Solution for Student Wellness

Dr. Pillay’s accolade is attributed to her pioneering work in developing and implementing the Student Wellness and Academic Transformation (SWAT) assessment and intervention system at UKZN. This award recognizes the “best implementation of a digital solution for student support and wellness,” underscoring the profound impact of the SWAT system on student engagement and overall wellness.

The SWAT system emerged as a response to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. UKZN’s SSS, alongside Professor Sinegugu Duma, the CHS Dean of Teaching and Learning, spearheaded a cutting-edge digital strategy aimed at enhancing student engagement and promoting holistic wellness. This initiative involved collaboration with the university’s Information and Communication Division and the Academic Computing Division.

Comprehensive Wellness Model

The SWAT system, piloted in 2021 and fully implemented for the entire CHS first-year cohort by 2023, seamlessly integrates with the university’s Learning Management System. The system is grounded in a student-centred wellness model, evaluating wellness across seven key domains:

  1. Emotional
  2. Psychosocial
  3. Intellectual and Academic
  4. Occupational and Career
  5. Environmental
  6. Spiritual and Cultural
  7. Physical and Biological

Additionally, the system addresses the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on students’ well-being. This automated assessment tool swiftly identifies at-risk students and provides immediate referrals for appropriate interventions.

Dr. Pillay emphasized the system’s transformative potential, stating, “We anticipate that this technology-enhanced model will be invaluable in facilitating student engagement with Student Support Services and will significantly benefit our CHS students’ academic success.”

International Acclaim and Impact

The SWAT system has garnered widespread acclaim from the international academic community. Professor Victor Borden of Indiana University Bloomington praised Dr. Pillay’s work, noting, “I applaud the work you are doing and greatly appreciate your efforts to create a more accessible and effective hybrid system with automation serving more students effectively.”

The system’s features, including push notifications for students and counsellors, escalation and referral capabilities, and comprehensive reporting options, prioritize student needs and ensure timely, effective support for those at higher risk.

Dr. Pillay has shared her innovative model with higher education institutions globally, including in Germany and South Korea, with upcoming presentations scheduled in Malta and New Orleans. Her work has set a new benchmark for digital solutions in student support and wellness.

Extensive Qualifications and Leadership

Dr. Pillay’s extensive qualifications and professional affiliations reflect her unwavering dedication to student support. She holds an Honours degree in Social Work, a Master’s in Medical Science (Social Work), and a Doctorate in Public Administration and Development Management. She has completed the Senior Leadership Development Programme at the University of Stellenbosch and won a bursary for postgraduate studies at the International Business School, University of Lincoln, UK.

Her leadership roles are equally impressive. Dr. Pillay has served as the inaugural President of the Southern African Federation for Student Affairs and Services and the Southern African Association for Counselling and Development in Higher Education. She is a Global Divisional Board member of NASPA and a member of the International Association of Student Affairs and Services.

Dr. Pillay’s contributions to the field include a chapter in the “Handbook on Student Affairs and Services in Higher Education: Global Foundations, Issues and Best Practices.” In 2019, she was nominated to the Global Divisional Board of NASPA, representing Student Affairs in South Africa and Africa.


Dr. Saloschini Pillay’s recognition by Hyland UK not only highlights her personal achievements but also underscores the University of KwaZulu Natal’s commitment to enhancing student support and wellness through innovative digital solutions. Her work with the SWAT system stands as a testament to the transformative potential of technology in higher education, setting a new standard for institutions worldwide.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *