College of Health Sciences Welcomes New Dean
'It is both exciting and humbling to be joining UKZN after being away for more than 16 years – it feels like I am returning home', says the new Dean of Teaching and Learning at the College of Health Sciences (CHS), Professor Sinegugu Duma.
‘However, I am very much aware of the changes that have taken place over the years and the huge responsibility that comes with this position.’
Duma, who started her academic career at UKZN, says the University has always been her institution of choice.
‘My return to this prestigious University is my way of giving back and saying thank you UKZN for making me who I am today. I cannot think of a better way to show my gratitude and appreciation than to come back and be part of this Institution.’
She plans to work hard in co-operation with all those involved at CHS and at the University as a whole, to develop an appropriate response to the call for a reformed curriculum in health sciences.
‘My goal is to use this position as a vehicle to educate health practitioners and researchers in the areas of global excellence and local relevance because as health practitioners the communities we serve deserve the best care available,’ she said.
Duma’s desire to become an academic started early in her career as a professional nurse. ‘I was fortunate to have had people who believed in me, encouraged me to study further and directed me to academia.
‘My parents and my siblings remain the greatest source of support, applauding every achievement and pulling me up when I am down. Professionally, the list is too long to mention, but the late Professor Leana Uys was my mentor for academic leadership. Professor Jackie Campbell of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing introduced me to research in the field of violence against women and remains my mentor as a researcher.’
Duma’s research interest is in the area of primary and secondary prevention of violence against women as a public health and a social problem, with a focus on university students to identify and address the risks and protective factors of violence against women.
‘As health professionals we always want to improve health outcomes for the communities we serve. When I started this research, I realised how little is done by the health sector and later the universities and the public to address violence against women as a public health and social problem. My passion grew from the need to see this country developing an appropriate response to violence against women.’
In 1998, after receiving her master’s degree from UKZN majoring in Progress Education for Health Professionals, she was appointed by the Institute of Nursing as a lecturer and co-ordinator of a decentralised Bridging Programme for Registered Nurses.
She joined the University of Cape Town at the end of 2000 and now returns to fulfil her academic vision to serve and lead in teaching and learning at UKZN.