Being the first woman ever to assume the position of Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Central University of Technology must be a role that comes with many challenges. But it is one that Prof. Pamela Dube is determined to succeed in doing.
Dube hails from Kwa-Makhutha, a small community in KwaZulu Natal south of Durban, where she finished primary school. She continued to Inanda Seminary, one of the prestigious missionary boarding schools that have been educating black women since 1869.
This is where students are encouraged to live up to the school’s motto of “Shine where you are.” It is these formative years that helped shape her into the leader that she has now become.
Taking the CUT ropes
Before joining CUT, Professor Dube held the executive leadership role of Deputy Vice- Chancellor: Student Development and Support at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). She was responsible for a transformative student experience, well-being academic success.
Dube has also worked as Head of International Relations and Human Resources Development at the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation. She was also the Special Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), where she later headed the Human Resources Division as executive director.
She has had a versatile career stretching from lecturer and researcher at the University of Siegen in Germany, lecturer at the University of KwaZulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg, guest lecturer at Kathmandu University in Nepal, Dean of Student Affairs at the University of the Witwatersrand to Director and Acting Chief Director at the National Department of Education.
She brings an extraordinary tapestry of talents, knowledge, a wealth of experience and passion for working with students - who shall remain the number one priority at the Central University of Technology.
“An educational institution such as ours is destined to play a bigger role in the future we are building by creating new relations and attitudes to technology. We have a threefold responsibility to build an institution, human capacity, and technological means,” she explains.
She further explains that if the university holds to these commitments, a future CUT graduate would not only be a self-serving entrepreneur but a social entrepreneur who enables others.
“This will require our collective efforts to liberate ourselves from the stranglehold of race, ethnicity, gender discrimination and the many other forms of exclusion and segregation conservable and achievable,” she says.
Vision for the university
When sharing her vision for the university Dube makes mention of four educational principles for a university of technology, noting that these priorities serve as the fundamental foundations for discussion and debate among the council, senate, faculty, students, professional staff, and employees of CUT.
According to her, a university’s educational mission is to: To reassess the meaning of technology in the broader population and demystify its force, while bending its potential to the ideal of post-apartheid freedom. To offer the best teaching for students in the arts of design and invention.
To steer clear of the idea of technology as delivering a static world, one where civil war is the order of the day, and to lead students to the position of self-sufficiency.
Fostering good working relations Dube urges the university to adhere to the educational ideal of collegiality across all sectors and have a shared interest in the accomplishment of the educational goal, institution and society we are meant to serve.
“Collegiality can only flourish in a setting of higher education if we commit to regular study and problem-solving. We need to work in the most supportive setting possible because we are inventors,” she says.
She emphasizes that as part of the university’s educational project, their mission is to instill trust in their commitment to their role and responsibility in society and reshape the narrative of who they are, including quality academic programmes, leading niche areas and research and innovation endeavours.
“It is indeed to instill hope in our students, that CUT is set to walk the academic journey with them, to co-create platforms and opportunities to enable them to innovate, lead and improve the world around us,” Dube concludes.
She describes her appointment as an honour and duty to provide leadership at the institution, to build on past achievements and collectively chart a future that we can all be proud of.