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MEET PROF RUNETTE KRUGER, THE NEW EXECUTIVE DEAN OF THE FACULTY OF ARTS AND DESIGN

MEET PROF RUNETTE KRUGER, THE NEW EXECUTIVE DEAN OF THE FACULTY OF ARTS AND DESIGN

The Faculty of Arts and Design (FAOD) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) has warmly welcomed their new Executive Dean, Prof Runette Kruger, who joined the DUT family on Monday, 2 August 2021.

Prof Kruger who is born and bred in Johannesburg, recently moved to Durban after spending most years of her life studying and working in Tshwane.

Giving a brief background on her education, Prof Kruger said her first qualifications were in Ceramic Design and Fine Arts, whereas her terminal qualification is a PhD in Visual Studies. Her research focus is on philosophical and artistic Utopias that explore alternative ways of organising societies with greater gender and economic equality.

“I have been directly involved in teaching and learning for 25 years, as a part-time lecturer, full-time lecturer and Head of Department and I have been actively researching and publishing for 14 years. I started teaching because Art Theory was a subject that helped me understand the world and people, and I wanted to learn more through conveying various world views to students. I clearly remember what it was like to be a student and to see new vistas of understanding opening up through education. I wanted to be part of that process as an educator. This same impulse informs my research and writing,” said Prof Kruger.

Speaking about how she found out about this position, Prof Kruger said she was approached by DUT, the day before her birthday, while preparing for the 2020 exam period. She said she decided to apply for the position on her birthday and has never looked back since. Furthermore, Prof Kruger said when the position was offered to her, she was overjoyed and humbled, which is exactly how she still feels.

Prof Kruger highlighted that her duties include providing strategic leadership in difficult times, considering how the Faculty can best deliver on its mandate while also navigating the ravages of the pandemic and the ongoing impact it has on people’s lives, work and mental health.

“Importantly, my task is to foster and further enable a positive spirit of teamwork towards impactful teaching and learning, socially relevant research, and critical thinking which is important in the Arts, in Media and Journalism, and in Education. Without critical thinking society stagnates and education is hollowed out,” she said.

The few days in office have been filled with great positive energy from everyone she has met so far, online or in person. The colleagues she has met so far have been friendly and supportive.

Prof Kruger also raised concerns on the recent unrests, saying they have had a great impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. Emphasising that society will have to address these events honestly and bravely. She indicated that it was too soon to pinpoint any challenges, however she feels as she gets to know her colleagues better, she will develop a clearer understanding of challenges faced by the Faculty.

Her aspirations as a leader is to facilitate a feeling of accomplishment and engagement in a team, as she feels this directly influences levels of performance and happiness.

“I lead by serving and hope to build on the positive momentum that is already within the Faculty. I like to focus on strengths and achievements of colleagues, students, and graduates, as this highlights the bigger picture of what it is we are committed to as a team in the Faculty of Arts and Design,” concluded Prof Kruger.

Pictured: Prof Runette Kruger.

Simangele Zuma

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