The Durban University of Technology (DUT) held a farewell dinner for its three academics at the Granny Mouse Country House in the Midlands Meander on Tuesday, 27 November 2018.
All three academics have more than 70 years of service between them at the DUT, and the three academics that are bidding farewell to the University are Professor Theo Andrew, the Executive Dean: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (EBE), Professor Rishi Balkaran, the Executive Dean: Faculty of Management Sciences and Saleem Kharwa, the Chief Risk Officer.
Having worked under 11 Vice-Chancellors and three Chancellors in his 33 years in academia, of which 27 was spent at DUT, Professor Andrew said his time at DUT was a colourful experience.
“There is no better job than being in academia. It is a career that I would not change for anything else,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prof Balkaran, who has been in academia for 21 years said he was grateful to have been part of the DUT staff. Prof Balkaran’s next career move will see him relocate to Cape Town as the DVC: Teaching and Learning at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
“My experience at DUT has been wonderful. I learnt so much, particularly in the last few years. I think the involvement of executive deans in executive management has been the one biggest steps where I learnt and saw the University in a holistic way,” said Prof Balkaran.
Mr Kharwa expressed his gratitude for the opportunities afforded to him by the University. “What I have learnt here has carried me throughout the world. I have enjoyed my work and I have had a wonderful sense of satisfaction. The satisfaction is derived from knowing that I have fulfilled my own dreams and hopefully, what was expected of me,” he said.
Prof Nomthandazo Gwele, DVC: Teaching and Learning and Dr Thiru Pillay, Acting Registrar, both highlighted the role the three academics had played in improving the quality of education and learning at the University.
“I have worked with all three of our colleagues, whom we are bidding farewell. All of them are appreciated and working with them was a breath of fresh air. You have given your all during the time that you have spent at DUT,” said Prof Gwele.
Also commenting on their input at DUT, Dr Pillay said the three academics made outstanding contributions in their designated positions at the University.
“In the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, attracting good students and retaining them requires strong characteristics which is largely due to the innovative leadership displayed by Prof Andrew. Meanwhile, Professor Balkaran has increased Postgraduate registration in his faculty. Mr Kharwa has refined much of our systems in respect of enterprise risk management as well as how he relates to our auditors,” said Dr Pillay.
The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of DUT, Prof Thandwa Mthembu thanked the three academics for their outstanding contribution and helping him to adjust to academic life at the University.
“I came here from the Free State and received a lot of support from these colleagues and many others who are in this room. I would really not have survived the two years at DUT without this unwavering support that I got from them,” said Prof Mthembu.
During the farewell dinner, strategist and best-selling business author, Chantell llbury was the guest speaker at the event, who delivered her talk on education progression over the last 30 years.
Professor Theo Andrew holds a PhD in the area of rural telecommunications planning from the University of Natal, and serves as a specialist reviewer for the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the EU funded projects. He was the leader of the NRF funded Research Unit in ICT and Development, and the manager of the Telkom-Ericsson Centre of Excellence in Rural Telecommunications at the Durban Institute of Technology. His research interests include, engineering and higher education, complexity in sociotechnical systems, and systems thinking.
Prof Rishi Balkaran holds a Master’s and Doctoral Degree (UKZN) in Public Management and his field of research was in the area of Hospitality and Tourism. His other qualifications include a BTech Degree and Diploma in Public Management (MLST), Diplomas in Education (MLST), Public Administration (UDW) and Hospitality Management (MLST). He is also involved in the supervision of Master’s and Doctoral students within the Faculty of Management Sciences.
Mr Saleem Kharwa is a professional accountant and joined the University in 1996 as a lecturer in the Department of Accounting. He served as HOD of Accounting from 2000 to 2007. In 2008 he was appointed Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics. In 2015 he acted as Executive Dean in the Faculty. In 2013 he was tasked to set-up the risk function at the University and since 2014 he has been serving as a Chief Risk Officer.
Pictured: DVC: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Prof Sibusiso Moyo, Executive Dean: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, Prof Theo Andrew, Chief Risk Officer, Saleem Kharwa, Acting Midlands Director, Dr Reginald Thabede, DVC: Teaching and Learning, Prof Nomthandazo Gwele, Executive Dean: Faculty of Management Sciences, Prof Rishi Balkaran and Executive Dean: Faculty of Health Sciences, Prof Nokuthula Sibiya, at the event.