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Prof. Karin Baatjes – Vice Dean: Learning and Teaching: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Stellenbosch – Evolution

This week on Womanity-Women in Unity, Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to Prof. Karin Baatjes, who is the Vice Dean of Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University.

Prof. Baatjes discusses the wide variety of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes within the faculty and how her sector aims to keep on trend with new pedagogical developments across disciplines as well as being on track with advancements in medicine and health sciences to ensure students are exposed to the latest developments.  One of the innovations Prof. Baatjes has experimented with is the use of Go-Pro cameras for point of view surgery, the camera allows the surgeon to record their actions, such as the angle that they hold instruments, and this gives more of a first-person view for trainee surgeons. Quality education comes at a cost, that some people simply cannot afford. The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences established the iThemba Bursary Fund to provide financial support for students, and Prof. Baatjes is an active fundraiser. One of the rewarding aspects of this portfolio is the ability to influence and have a scalable impact on a large number of people across different aspects and disciplines.

Medicine is a demanding field and choosing a specialisation is an important decision. Prof. Baatjes recommends that before people make their final choice they should expose themselves to different disciplines, seek out role models or mentors, and ensure that their personal characteristics align with the appeal and logistics of their potential career. Every job has good and less enjoyable aspects, but make sure the positives outweigh the negatives. Additionally, be driven by your own goals (not someone else’s) and judge yourself by your own metrics of success.

Reflecting on her leadership style Prof. Baatjes applies different strategies according to the situation. She encourages people to speak up on issues even if their opinions contradict the status quo. She also looks for potential in people and helps them grow.

Tune in for more…

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