Originally from South Africa, Ondene van Dulm is the new head of EIT's School of Health and Sport Science.

Ondene van Dulm is stepping into the role of head of school of EIT's School of Health and Sport Science after 20 years of working in the tertiary education sector in South Africa and New Zealand.

Ondene completed a degree in speech language therapy and audiology and a masters in linguistics at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and a PhD in Linguistics at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. After working for 12 years as a lecturer and researcher in the field of clinical linguistics, Ondene swapped her office desk for a sailing boat and embarked on a 2.5-year trip sailing to New Zealand. Also on board were her husband, now a pilot at Napier Port, and her two daughters, at that time 9 and 11 years old.

The family made New Zealand their new home, and for three years Ondene taught speech language pathology at Canterbury University before hoisting the sails again; destination South East Asia. While sailing for 18 months, Ondene worked remotely as an academic editor.

Advertisement

Eventually, the family dropped anchor in Hawke's Bay. Ondene started to teach English at EIT and soon moved on to become a faculty education adviser for the Faculty of Education, Humanities and Health Science. "I absolutely loved this job. I worked across a broad range of fields, and after many years in a university environment, I felt inspired by the regional feel of EIT but also the polytechnic culture, with its responsiveness to community and industry needs and the pastoral care available for students."

Ondene's priorities are to develop programmes that are fit for purpose and tailored to the needs of the Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti regions. "I'm committed to further strengthening the relationships with our partners, e.g. the EIT Institute of Sport and Health, schools and organisations like Sport Hawke's Bay."

She also has a strong focus on the work-readiness of EIT graduates. Furthermore, she would like to contribute actively to EIT's role within the NZIST context and to the successful growth of the national institute.

One of Ondene's first actions in her role is the roll-out of a new certificate in outdoor and adventure education (multi-skilled, level 4), to be offered from February 2021. It is a one-year qualification aimed at people who want to enter the outdoor adventure, recreation and tourism industries. Students will learn about leadership, a range of outdoor pursuits, as well as the environment and sustainability following the principles of kaitiakitanga. "We've learned that industry is crying out for skilled and knowledgeable outdoor guides, hence my excitement to extend our school's portfolio in this direction," says Ondene.