Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice

The US Consul General in Durban, Ms Sherry Zalika Sykes presented a guest lecture to third-year students enrolled in the Global and Regional Trends in Public Administration module.

The event was organised by lecturer, Dr Andile Biyela to enhance the teaching and learning process as well as promote community engagement and build strategic partnerships.

A well-travelled diplomat, Sykes shared her journey of service to the public sector with a major focus on job creation, entrepreneurial expansion, creative economic strategies and health.

She encouraged students to think about how they can use their studies and knowledge to change the spaces they occupy.

‘Be entrepreneurial, courageous, passionate and decisive. Intellect is not enough on its own. Own the space you occupy and leave your mark,’ she said.

Three of her colleagues, Director of the Information Resource Centre, Mr Thula Ngcobo and education specialists, Ms Susan Knowles and Mr Felix Salazar provided information on exchange programmes offered by the US Embassy to South African youth.

Biyela said that such events add meaning to the theoretical perspectives presented by lecturers in class.

‘Such strategic partnerships and engagements are important, not only for the benefit of our students but also for building a good reputation for the University as we encourage community outreach, stakeholder engagement and teaching and learning,’ he added.

Student representative for the class of 2019, Mr Jonathan Naicker described the lecture as very informative.

‘We are grateful for the knowledge and experiences shared with us today. Sykes enlarged our views on the world of academia. I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that this guest lecture was the most interesting we’ve had this year,’ he said.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga
Photograph: Supplied