VUT APPOINTS NEW EXECUTIVE DEAN FOR THE FACULTY OF APPLIED AND COMPUTER SCIENCES
13 July 2023
The Vaal University of Technology (VUT) is pleased to announce the appointment of Prof Christa Grobler as the new Executive Dean for the Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences (FACS) effective from 01 July 2023.
Prof Christa Grobler has been a loyal employee of VUT since 1997. She was actively involved in the transition from a Technikon to a University of Technology and it was during this transition that she realised the importance of becoming an advanced scholar. She has been involved in Medical Technology since 1989 and occupied positions on all levels (both in the laboratory and at the university) which contributed to a vast variety of experiences.
She obtained her D Tech in Biomedical Technology at Durban University of Technology (DUT) in 2015 and was appointed as an Associate Professor from 01 December 2021. Her research focus is to evaluate the cardiovascular risk in black South Africans. She has been involved in several multidisciplinary research projects with the objective to identify nutritional and health risk factors in various vulnerable communities in the Vaal region, QwaQwa, Orange Farms, Alexandra, and Cofimvaba since 1999. She managed to develop a research niche area entitled: Evaluation of cardiovascular risk markers in the black SA population. This contributed to the much-needed capacity building within the field of Biomedical Technology and at VUT. Additionally, this area could address numerous health challenges such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by planning interventions based on scientific data and to understand the role of epigenetics in community-based medicine in South Africa. As South Africans we are a population with a distinct different genetic and socio-economic background. “Africanization” of scientific data should be a priority in strategic planning of preventative medicine that is applicable to our own people.
She received national recognition as a leader in Health Science by being appointed in 2020 by the Minister of Health to serve on the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) in the Medical Technology Board as vice chair until 2025. She currently serves on the board in the Education and Registration and the Professional Practice Committees. Additionally, she was appointed by Member of Executive Council (MEC): Health to serve as a member of the Provincial Health Research Committee of Health in Gauteng. Council of Higher Education (CHE) appointed her to serve as a member of an Institutional Audit Panel. Professor Grobler also serves on the Society of Medical Laboratory Technologist of South Africa (SMLTSA), Scientific Advisory Committee (Immunology) as from January 2022.
As an educator, building capacity and knowledge transfer is her passion and considers inter- trans- and multidisciplinary research collaboration as a high priority. To date, she has successfully supervised eight (8) M Tech students and is currently supervising two (2) PhD and four (4) Masters students. She continues to involve her graduated students to assist with co-supervision and co-authorship for the purpose of knowledge transfer and capacity building. She is author/co-author of eleven (11) full-length peer reviewed papers and co-authored two (2) book chapters. She has presented at various national (n=4) and international conferences (n=10). She was invited to present a public lecture at Texas Tech University, Texas USA in 2017. Recently she was invited as a guest of honor to participate at the International Faculty Development Program (IFDP) 2023 at Chandigarh University, India.
Apart from community based research, she was also involved with multiple community projects, which included: a partnership with the Sunflower Fund to host an event with a purpose to raise an awareness and funds to cover the recruitment costs of growing the South African Bone Marrow Registry of committed donors; was part of the teams that arranged and participated in cancer awareness run/walks in townships; collected sport equipment for children in the underprivileged Qwa-Qwa community; collected sponsorship to establish a community garden at a high school in Eatonside.
As a leader she values team dynamics. Making mistakes is not failing if we learn from it and use the learning opportunity to grow towards excellence. As an empowered scholar of distinguished quality, she indicated that making a significant contribution to academic excellence, research capacity building, community engagement and income generation within the Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences, would be an honor and privilege.