MEET: Dezlin Jacobs, administrative control officer in the Department of Enrolment and Student Administration, and Docendo Day House Guardian.

Posted on August 14, 2020

A self-declared “#TuksofNiks kind of person”, this UP grad, and now employee, chats about her administrative role, her academic aspirations and what’s on her mind this Women’s Month.

Dezlin Jacobs is the administrative control officer in the Department of Enrolment and Student Administration, and also Docendo Day House’s guardian. She told Tukkievaria more about herself and her work:

TV: Tell us a bit about yourself.

DZ: I consider myself to be a #TuksofNiks kind of person. I completed all my qualifications at UP – my most recent being a master’s in Education in 2017. I am married – in fact, I met my husband just outside the Merensky Library in my third year – and am a mom to three young children, aged six, four and two. I also have two adopted sons, who are in their twenties.

TV: What is your role at UP?

DZ: My official title is administrative control officer in the Academic Programmes Unit, which forms part of the Department of Enrolment and Student Administration. My work involves the administrative function of curriculum that affects academic staff and students. We make sure that a curriculum exists on the system, for students to register, complete and eventually graduate with a degree that has been approved by external authoritative bodies. I was also recently appointed to serve as Docendo Day House Guardian. It has been great to work with students who are on the executive committee of Docendo – albeit in a virtual setting

TV: What are some of the challenges of your job?

DZ: Timelines and version control – any changes to the curriculum need to be made two years in advance, which can be a pain considering how dynamic the world is. Version control relates to the manner in which information is captured.

TV: What keeps you motivated?

DZ: My faith in Jesus keeps me motivated. It also helps to have an internal playlist of songs that I can tap into and hum if things get challenging. My colleagues know when I’m around because I often sing out loud.

TV: What are your academic aspirations and for your life in general?

DZ: My UP aspiration is to strut across the stage in my red gown with a doctorate in hand. (I then want to wear this same gown to the grocery store and have my children underneath it, and give people a fright!) In life, I always want to have a song in my heart, a patient ear to listen and an encouraging word for the weary.

TV: How difficult is it juggling a career and family?

DZ: With the reality of COVID-19, my hours have had to change to accommodate the needs of my family. I have an amazing line manager, who has an even more amazing line manager – who, in turn, has an even more amazing line manager! It is certainly not easy, but I could not be only a career woman, nor could I only be only a mom. It’s a fine balance, which I sometimes feel I get wrong. In those instances, I just adjust my crown and get back to work.

TV: What do you consider to be a highlight in your career?

DZ: In 2017, our department donated sanitary products and other toiletries – such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, facecloths and soap – to the Sistagirl Foundation. We repeated the collection the following year, and the contribution was given to the University Relations team [now the Department of Institutional Advancement] to assist students who were in need. I realised that working at UP allowed me to flourish by mobilising like-minded people to make a change in our little way.

TV: In light of it being Women’s Month, what steps do you think should be taken to tackle gender-based violence?

DZ: This is a tough one. I believe that a conversation must be started and continued. It should not be given platforms only on certain days or occasions. In our home, we have made an effort to talk about it with our children. Unfortunately, both parties are victims – albeit with different levels of hurt. I also think that it needs to be called out – and here, men might need to be brave and call their friends out on it.

TV: What advice do you have for women?

DZ: Everybody has their own drama, so just be kind and gracious. If that’s too much to ask – nod, smile and walk away.

- Author Kaya Nocanda

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