Figuratively speaking, Chris Verburg is picking up the paintbrush as the new head of EIT’s ideaschool.
Formerly assistant head of the school of art and design, Chris takes over from Dr Suzette Major, who was recently appointed general manager of the Music Audio Institute of New Zealand (MAINZ), based in Auckland.
Born in the Netherlands, Chris came to EIT 19 years ago with a background in film post production. His first challenge was to develop and write EIT’s screen production programme, which has since evolved from a certificate into a Level 6 diploma.
“It continues to be a huge success in the eyes of students and the industry,” he says.
Chris was section manager for screen production in 2000. After Suzette joined EIT in 2010, she invited him to take on the position of assistant head of school.
“In many cases, Chris took on a co-leadership role,” she says. “With some projects, such as the launch of an app for ideaschool, he was project leader. He has also helped introduce new technology, including ideaschool’s laser cutter and 3D laser printer.”
“I have enjoyed the role immensely,” Chris says of his time as assistant head of school. “And it has given me the experience and knowledge I need to continue leading ideaschool along the positive path shaped by Suzette.”
While not wanting to give too much away, he says future plans for ideaschool include a greater integration of educational programmes encompassing screen production, fashion, visual arts and design. That will ultimately mean bringing the different sections into one new building on campus.
And with his strong industry background, he feels well placed to nurture strong connections formed between ideaschool and the wider community.
EIT’s ideaschool has undergone substantial changes in the four years under Suzette’s leadership.
These include the ideaschool rebranding, the launch of New Zealand’s first project-based visual arts and design degree, the introduction of a contemporary music performance programme run in association with MAINZ, helping bring pecha kucha to Hawke’s Bay and the establishment of a fashion programme on EIT’s Tairawhiti campus in Gisborne.
“These initiatives have created a strong school with well-connected programmes which are in high demand,” says Chris. “Having strengthened our national profile, we continue to attract record number of students.”
Dr Major is keen to maintain her links with EIT.
“On the one hand,” she says, “it is incredibly sad to be farewelling ideaschool but I feel I am leaving it in really good shape and in really good hands and I will have a new relationship with it with my hat on as general manager of MAINZ.
“I’m looking forward to coming back and seeing ideaschool continuing to flourish.”
Check out more about EIT’s ideaschool and the programmes they offer here