Aim for Die Sterreweg, an interdisciplinary excellence program in South Africa

January 2018 to December 2020
South Africa
service design
learning by developing
interdisciplinary research
Stellenbosch University (South Africa)
Research fields
Arts and Architecture
Business and Economics
Medicine and Health Sciences
Social Sciences
'Die Sterreweg', a day care center for children with special needs in South Africa, is facing a challenge. It wants to develop into a center of excellence in South Africa, where children with special needs often do not get the care they deserve. But Die Sterreweg cannot do this on its own. Students from Artevelde University of Applied Sciences team up with students from Stellenbosch Universiteit, South Africa, to look for solutions that suit Die Sterreweg best.
The challenge for Die Sterreweg is no less: in three years' time it wants to scale up its operations to the rest of South Africa. There is much to do: a business plan, campaigns, stories, media attention, documenting and improving practices and so on. That is why we need a team of excellent students that supports and coaches Die Sterreweg from different angles. The project spans 3 years, according to the PDCA cycle of Deming ('Plan', 'Do', 'Check' & 'Act'). Every year another preselected team of students with an above average talent and high degree of motivation works on the project. In the first year (2018) a first team dedicates itself to research and drawing up a strategic plan (Plan), the second team (in 2019) ensures the follow-up and implementation of the plan ('Do'), the third team (2020) evaluates and adjusts ('Check' & 'Act'). This will guarantee us of a sustainable output.
The main approach of this excellence programme is that regional or international cooperation is sought and that the issues that are studied are authentic, complex (a broad social theme) and professionally oriented. The principle of learning by developing is applied. Through authentic interdisciplinary development and research projects the participants develop new competences and knowledge (products, services, processes, models, research results, etc.) with the intention of innovating and solving problems. A very high degree of self-management is expected. Essential here is the co-creation and collaboration between all stakeholders: students, lecturers, professional field and other experts. The excellence programme is the result of a synergy between the Artevelde strategic project 'Excellence program', the Artevelde educational innovation project 'Design learning' and the VLIR UOS Global Minds 'South Initiative Program'.