The Real Heroes of Universities

by Sharief Hendricks

The real heroes (or heroines if you like) of our tertiary institutions are the administrators and support staff. And like true heroes, their superpower often goes unnoticed, unrecognised.

No doubt, a University will not function without the work of the administrative and support staff. Our research, travel, teaching, and every day would not be possible.

The superpower though, is the care, kindness and generosity in their work. Work that is aimed to help us achieve our goals.

This time of the year, as we process postgraduate applications for the upcoming year, I always remember the kindness and generosity of our Faculty’s Postgraduate Office when I was a student applying to the Honours programme (back in 2007). The Postgraduate Office frequently shares this fond memory with me, a memory that serves our current working relationship well.

I always needed help with my student administration, and visited the Postgraduate Office more than usual, which I think provided me with the opportunity to experience their superpower. I can’t help wonder though, in today’s age, where everything is online and most communication takes place via email, are students and staff missing out on similar opportunities?

I have many stories similar to the above, where the care regularly goes beyond the call of duty. A more recent example is my trip to a conference in Monaco. On the Saturday, the last day of the conference, South Africa was issued a travel ban and my flight home got cancelled. True to form, my heroes emerged, and what could have been a complete nightmare without their kind and generous support, finding my way back home turned out to be somewhat of an adventure instead.

Have you experienced the superpower of your administrators and support staff? Please share.

As thanks for their work, I wanted to end off with naming all the administrators and support staff that have used their superpower to help me achieve my goals, like an author list on a paper. I decided against this though, in fear of missing a hero (and there are many heroes to mention). Also, like many of our favourite fictional superheroes in suits, anonymity is not a bad thing. So I’ll simply end with thank you.

3 comments

  • Sharief, what a beautiful commendation to all administrators and support staff.

    You deserve all the good things happening in your life. And no matter what you always remain the modest and humble young man I first encountered. Lots of love
    Adri

    Like

  • I definitely agree 💯%, l fondly remember you as Humble youbg man infront of my office door and will never forget that nerves look on your face. Cant believe how time flies.
    I wish you just the Best

    Much love
    Salegah 🙏

    Like

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