University hosts Carnegie African Diaspora scholar

31 Jul 2014 - 16:45

African Diaspora scholar Associate Professor Ismail Abdullahi visited the Library and Information Studies Centre from 14-25 July this year. His visit forms part of a collaborative project with North Carolina Central University on curriculum co-development in Library and Information Studies education. The University of Cape Town is one of 31 worldwide sites selected by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program for such collaboration. 

The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (ADF) is a scholar fellowship program for educational projects at African higher education institutions. Offered by the Institute of International Education in partnership with Quinnipiac University, the program is funded by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York, to support 100 short-term faculty fellowships for African-born academics. The objective is to pair scholars with higher education institutions in Africa in order to collaborate on curriculum co-development, research, graduate teaching, training and mentoring activities.   The 31 ADF projects span an impressive range of fields across the Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. 

Associate Professor Jaya Raju (UCT, Library and Information Studies) will lead the UCT project, working with Associate Professor Abdullahi.  A key aim of the collaboration is to establish a study abroad programme between the two institutions. This will significantly benefit students from both institutions by providing an opportunity for enriched, international postgraduate study within a structured programme; facilitating student exposure to diversity and intercultural issues in higher education thus promoting international diversity and multi-culturalism; and promoting research on the internationalization of LIS education, with a focus on Africa. The two weeks in July were spent working on the proposed exchange programme and attending seminars hosted by the visiting academic for UCT LIS staff, postgraduate students and guests from other Western Cape Higher Education institutions. These seminars covered advancements in LIS education (accreditation; online delivery); the internationalization of LIS education, including issues around multiculturalism and diversity and internationalization of academic library services.

 “The past two years has seen an increase in interest from students at North Carolina Central University in our LIS programmes. Likewise UCT postgraduate students would like an opportunity to do a study stint abroad to enrich their educational experience. This unfortunately presents difficulties in terms of credit transfers internationally and alignment of levels of study between two different education systems. That is why we prioritized the development of a Study Abroad programme in our initial proposal to the IIE” says Associate Professor Raju. 

Next steps include strengthening links between the institutions by finalising a Memorandum of Understanding for the Study Abroad exchanges. The first student exchanges are anticipated to take place mid-year 2015 and mid-year 2016 respectively.