EIT’s new Head of School Business Frina Albertyn has had a busy time of late.
Within a matter of days, Dr Albertyn was interviewed for the position, graduated with a PhD in Information Systems, celebrated her 27th wedding anniversary and was appointed to her new role at EIT Hawke’s Bay.
‘You don’t often get a week like that!’ she says with a smile.
Of a practical mindset and with a work history long and strong in computer programming, system analysis and roles in tertiary education, she has taken all these exciting events in her stride. Change, she points out, goes with the territory for academics and those who work in information technology.
Dr Albertyn and her family accepted the need to adapt to changing circumstances in emigrating from South Africa 11 years ago. Living in Pretoria, she applied online for a job lecturing at EIT. After being offered the position in the School of Computing, she and husband Pieter spent the winter packing up for the big move to New Zealand.
She relocated to Hawke’s Bay while Pieter followed several months later with the couple’s two daughters Carin and Riani, then aged 11 and 12. Soon after immigrating Pieter took up a position as information analyst with the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.
Attitude is all important in making such a big transition, she says.
‘You need to go full out. It’s not about leaving a little bit behind – you have to engage fully with your new homeland.’
It helped finding New Zealand does many things in a surprisingly similar way to South Africa, and that Kiwis have a like outlook on life.
After completing a BSc in Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Pretoria, Dr Albertyn did a teachers diploma and then went on to work as a system analyst for several private companies in South Africa.
She subsequently taught in polytechnics in VanderbijlPark, south of Johannesburg, and Pretoria, moving through the ranks to principal lecturer and programme leader while gaining a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science from the University of South Africa and an MSc in Computer Science from Rand Afrikaans University.
Dr Albertyn studied for her recently-completed doctorate through Massey University.
‘If you are in academia and in computing, you must keep learning,’ she explains. ‘As an academic, you need to do research, so you might as well keep on studying, killing as many birds with one stone as you can. And of course you have to adapt to changing technology.’
Preparing to take up her new role in January, she says she will be turning off the computer switch while turning on the business switch.
Having been part of the School of Computing for 11 years – most recently as principal lecturer and managing most of the programmes offered – she admits to feeling ‘a bit sad about moving away from a bunch of great people’.
She expects her new job will be fun, however, and is looking forward to the challenge. ‘I know most of the staff and they are a good team. I am very loyal – EIT is my place. The School of Business is capable of going far, and I’m looking forward to being part of its evolution.’