The new Dean of Students, Dr Pamela Dube would like the student affairs office to become “the place to go” for all student and academic issues.
She spoke with Wits Vuvuzela to discuss her new position and her aspirations for the future of Wits Student Affairs.
Dube said her priorities were solely “focused on student issues” and her aspirations for student affairs “are in alignment with the Vice Chancellors visions for transformation of 2022. I hope by 2022 students will be the centre of all decisions made at the University.”
The student affairs sector of Wits was originally part of Senate, but was later moved to its own office and finally to the operations section of the university in Senate House.
Asked about this apparent downgrading, Dube was shocked. She said she would do everything in her power to change this. “I want to professionalise this department. I want us to go beyond babysitting students.”
Dube said her plan was to elevate the student affairs office and to make it a place where “all students from undergrad to beyond post-grad are able come to us with problems and moreover professional advice”.
She encouraged students to approach them and use the facilities on offer, such as Campus Health, CCDU and the like. “We want students to trust us. We want to be visible and market ourselves to all students as a full package.”
Dube is part of the university-wide initiative to move away from race and gender as central issues among students. She wants student affairs also to contribute and support the academic side of the university. She plans to encourage diversity and ethics in teaching and among students.
“I also want to help students from different backgrounds to relate to each other and work in partnership.”
Dube, who is originally from KwaMakutu Township in Kwazulu-Natal, said her parents taught her the “values of focusing on the bigger picture,” and it was these values she hoped to instil within all students during her time at Wits.
“Where there’s a will there’s a way. We are trying to prepare the students for the bigger world out there.”