Prof Staak is currently the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He is responsible for all academic programmes, academic planning, the teaching and learning support unit, community engagement and the short course unit.
He previously held the position of Dean of Engineering at the Peninsula Technikon. He qualified in engineering at the University of Cape Town and completed further studies in engineering, economics and technology policy at local as well as overseas universities, most notably Oxford University which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which he attended as a Fulbright Scholar.
He has a long-standing involvement with higher education in South Africa, having been part of the senior management of both the university and the technikon for many years.
Besides serving as a director on a number of boards, he has also chaired the boards of the Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC), the Cape Library Consortium (CALICO), and the CTM (the Committee of DVCs of former technikons). He currently chairs the board of TABEISA (Technical and Business Initiative in South Africa) and is chair of the Programme and Qualifications Committee of the South African Technology Network. He has also chaired an HEQC Institutional Audit Committee at a university of technology. He is a member of the Executive Board of the French South African Technology Institute (F’SATI) and had co-chaired this board on occasion.
He has served on various task teams including the DoE Task Team on State Funding for Experiential Learning, the DoE Task Team on the Teaching Development Grant and the CTP Task Team to develop a position paper on the Role and Function of UoTs. Most recently he served on the HESA Task Team on the Post School System, and was previously a member of the Research Strategy Group of HESA (Higher Education South Africa) and the Doctoral Task Team of the CHE. He currently serves as a member of the Teaching and Learning Strategy Group of HESA and is part of the CHE task team undertaking a 20 year Review of South African Higher Education. He is also serves on the DHET reference group for HEQSF aligned qualifications.
He is currently on the Board of Trustees of the National Tertiary Retirement Fund where he served as a member of the Investment Committee for the past nine years.