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Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Thandwa Mthembu recently delivered a video message to unpack the concept of DUT’s DNA.

Prof Mthembu said the double-helix of the DUT’s DNA is held together by DUT’s shared values and principles.

He said at the heart of DUT’s DNA are two intertwined, each one paired, strands of: ‘people-centredness and engagement’ on one hand; and ‘innovation and entrepreneurship,’ on the other hand.

“Our DNA is not just words on a page, but portends a deep and a shared understanding and enactment of the values and principles of transparency, honesty, integrity, respect and accountability, and the trace of fairness, professionalism, commitment, compassion and excellence in our engagements with others, our decision-making, our systems, processes and policies,” said Prof Mthembu.

He added that the university’s DNA is a code that lies at the very heart of what defines DUT as a unique institution and as a unique collective of people that are part of it.

He further stated that it informs how the university will develop towards its most vital, actualised and impactful manifestation as a university; a university that is fully conscious of its stewardship in society; one whose resolve is to revolutionise its systems and processes and align them with this post-modern world of digitalisation and artificial intelligence. A university whose obligation is to do everything in a sustainable manner, environmental and otherwise; and a university whose commitment is to impact the lives and livelihoods of its people, both internal and external.

“We care about our staff, our students and our alumni. We care about all those who engage with our university. We care about the broader society we serve, in all its manifestations: government and its agencies that need our high level skills and creativity; business and industry that need our scientific/technical and social innovations; communities themselves and their organisational forms that need solutions to societal problems,” stated Prof Mthembu.

Furthermore, he said that DUT embraces its role within society and strive to engage productively with its people, both those within the university itself, and those outside of the university who may benefit from the societal and academic resource that an institution such as DUT represents.

In conclusion Prof Mthembu said: “We are, indeed, fundamentally creative. We approach all that we do with a spirit of innovation, with an entrepreneurial mindset, and with a burning desire to find new solutions, to innovate, to create opportunities out of societal problems, and to apply our collective knowledge and skills, creativity and innovations, in unique and exciting ways. All of the above is coded in our DNA; the source of our collective being; the source of all we will still become.”

He proudly indicated that DUT’s DNA is the DUT Way as they are DUT which is Different, Upended and Transformed.

Pictured: DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu.

Simangele Zuma

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