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Akademia’s hands reinforced with new head of Student Affairs

Published on: 6 September 2023

Akademia is proud to announce the appointment of Heleen Coetzee, an experienced clinical psychologist and marketing specialist, who has outstanding knowledge of student life, as head of Student Affairs as from 1 September 2023. With this appointment, the institution is focused on establishing strategies, structures, systems and processes to further extend its student life and to attain even greater heights in this regard.

Before moving to Pretoria, Coetzee, who is an expert in the field of development psychology, was employed as a senior lecturer in Psychology at the School for Psycho-social Wellbeing at the North-West University (NWU) in Potchefstroom. Here she lectured to undergraduate and graduate classes, did research on child and adolescent pathology and also functioned a coordinator of magister degree studies in Clinical Psychology. Coetzee also has her own practice, which she runs on a part-time basis.

Before setting herself up in the field of psychology, Coetzee fulfilled the role as deputy director of NWU’s Marketing and Communication Department and she was inter alia responsible for student recruitment, market research and client services.

Her appointment as head of Student Affairs is a “full-circle moment” for Coetzee and she explained that she is privileged that her career and life experience up to now, had taken her along a road where she could become acquainted with, and manage the student cycle from beginning to end. As a student, she participated in student activities herself, and served in various student structures. The latter included being head student of her residence as well as chairperson of the student council. She was also the boarding master of a ladies’ residence for nine years.

According Coetzee, she is highly excited about her new role, and she finds great significance in Akademia’s vision; that is, to provide an academic haven where thinking as well as the heart are developed. It is indeed within the framework of this unique view of student development that Coetzee and her team will view, respect and develop the students at Akademia in totality, so that they can enter the wider South African society as proud ambassadors.

“To be granted the opportunity to be a true pioneer, and to help see to it that students will be moulded in their entirety, firmly grounded in values, in Afrikaans, is more that just an exhilarating career opportunity. It is a calling, a huge privilege and a great responsibility,” Coetzee said.

Coetzee commented that working with students means that you place yourself at the forefront of the ranks who are moulding the future. She is further of the opinion that observing how young people discover, cultivate and realise their full potential, will add significance to her purpose in life and will serve as an energy booster to her.

As to the question of what her dreams are for Akademia’s students, Coetzee replied without further ado: “… that Akademia will be a place where the hearts and thinking of students will be interwoven and developed holistically, and that students would be sought after in the workplace, not only because of their quality training, but more so because of their grounding in being driven by values. I also wish wonderful memories of their student life to each and every student; memories that will remain with them forever as loyal alumni and will, in other words, become part of their humanity.”

Marthinus Visser, Akademia’s managing director, declared that he is looking forward with great expectation to how Student Affairs can be further reinforced. “We wish Heleen all success and look forward to the experience of seeing Student Affairs reaching great heights in order to establish an unparalleled student life experience and in so doing to prepare our students to become well-moulded young adults,” Visser concluded.

Heleen Coetzee was recently appointed as head of Student Affairs at Akademia and she is ready to take this department to even greater heights.