Prof Roelien Brink, Leading the way for WORK INTEGRATED LEARNING (WIL)
Professor Roelien Brink, appointed Associate Professor in UJ’s Department of Applied Information Systems (AIS) in 2020, has been interested in learning about computers from the time she matriculated from Hoërskool Die Burger in 1984. “I knew my parents did not have the funding to send me to a university. But I was always eager to learn new things, so I enrolled for every computer short course I could during my early career as an assistant at the SABC (from 1985 to 1988) and after that, at Technikon Witwatersrand,” she recalls. Prof Brink, who holds a PhD in Information Management, started her academic journey in 1992 when she registered for her first qualification, a National Diploma in Personnel Management, completing it in 1995. She then did a BTech: Human Resource Management, and in 1996, she started at UJ as a junior lecturer in End-User Computing.
to five research executives in Educational RTV 2/3. She also assisted with video editing and general office administration. In 1988, she joined Bankcorp Properties (Ltd) as a secretary, and later that year, became a secretary at the Technikon Witwatersrand, working for the assistant Registrar. In 1992, she was promoted to training officer within the HR department, training admin staff in the use of software. “It was at this time that I realised I had a passion for software programmes, and learned every possible new programme I could,” she says. “My philosophy in life is that life is a process of lifelong learning, supported by experience and interaction. As Richard Branson said, ‘If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later’. Success in life can only be through the 3P’s: Patience, Perseverance, Persistence.”
In 2005, Technikon Witwatersrand merged with the Rand Afrikaans University and became UJ. With the merger came a new vision for its academics, who needed a master’s degree to be a lecturer, so Prof Brink did her MEd Computer Based Education, graduating in 2009. “UJ being a dynamic university, it expected academics to study further, and it wanted to increase the number of PhD qualified academics. Given my passion for people and facilitating initiatives to assist with empowerment of the youth in South Africa, I decided to do my PhD in the field of Work- Integrated Learning (WIL). The day I received my PhD (graduating in 2014), it was proof that if your dreams scare you, they can become a reality,” she smiles. Born in Parys, Free State, in 1965, Prof Brink grew up in a rectory with two sisters and two brothers. She started her career as a first female assistant at the SABC, responsible for control of all typing and telephone calls, and reporting
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