Student Financial Aid Expert Awarded Gold Long Service Award
The Financial Aid Practitioners of South Africa (FAPSA) presented Senior Financial Aid Advisor in the College of Humanities, Ms Constance Dube with the prestigious Gold Award for 25 years of excellence in student funding.
Dube, who has been at UKZN since 1994, says she learned a great deal from her mentors which helped ensure the success of the Student Financial Aid department.
She considers her FAPSA Award as a source of inspiration that will help her to continue making a difference and bring positive change to many lives.
‘Working with staff and students from across the spectrum motivates me and keeps me humble,’ said Dube. ‘Over the years, I have learned to work with people at all levels. Thousands of students have passed through my office doors and are successful adults today – they thank me for all the help I have given them,’ said Dube.
Some of the highlights of her career at UKZN took place during the time of the University merger and in the aftermath when she was given the opportunity to manage teams and to be the Payment Officer for the Medical School, Edgewood, Howard College and Westville campuses. She believes her previous mentors rewarded her with the opportunity to function at a senior managerial level.
In December 2011, Student Funding Advisors were devolved into the Colleges where Dube was then employed as the Senior Advisor for the College of Humanities. ‘For Student Funding Advisors this was a big change as we did not know what the future held for us and there were challenges in the early stages. Being the Senior Advisor in the College of Humanities, it is not an easy task as our College has the most Schools and students.’
Since the merger, the staff complement in the Division has grown due to the number of students increasing annually. ‘This would not have been achieved if College Senior Management had not taken time during peak periods to visit Student Funding where they noticed that there was dire need to increase personnel. The Director of Professional Services and the College Manager visit the office during times of change and development,’ said Dube.
Dube believes they are fortunate at the College because senior management are not only concerned about academic matters and graduate output but also work hard for the betterment of the entire operation. ‘During peak periods senior management visits all operations and checks with Administrators to establish whether we are coping. They also help solve problems and assist in removing barriers that hinder the registration process,’ she added.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize has also visited the Student Funding Team. ‘The visit was an honour and it boosted the morale of staff,’ said Dube.
Dube manages teams on three campuses, providing support in terms of Student Funding Operations, ensuring resources are available, ie staffing and office equipment.
‘My 25 years at the University and in Student Funding have been fulfilling and have enabled me to grow on a personal and professional level,’ she added.
Dube thanked her colleagues who have played a major role in helping her achieve all that she has for the College.
Words and photograph: Melissa Mungroo