The University of Pretoria (UP) was selected by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) in the USA to host an African Diaspora scholar, Dr Paddington Hodza, who will be collaborating with local scholars on a project on Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T). Prof Serena Coetzee, Director of the UP Centre for Geoinformation Science (CGIS), will lead the project together with Dr Hodza, a Fellow of the Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center (WyGISC) at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming, USA.
The project aims to establish a sustainable GIS&T cooperative relationship on curriculum development, student mentoring and research between UP and the University of Wyoming. In anticipation of the visit, Prof Coetzee, Dr Hodza and two co-authors from the USA and Germany prepared a paper titled ‘Comparing proportional compositions of geospatial technology-related programs at three universities’. The study illustrates how a comparison of proportional programme composition can reveal significant differences and similarities that are not obvious when only content is compared. The compositional differences naturally result in graduates with different knowledge and skills, which allow for different career paths and meet different job market needs. Dr Hodza presented the paper at the Geomatics Indaba 2015 held in August.
Other activities during Dr Hodza’s one-month visit included a workshop on ‘Appreciative GIS’ at the Geomatics Indaba 2015; accompanying third-year Geoinformatics students to an informal settlement on the outskirts of Mamelodi, where they participated in a community engagement project; a demonstration of the WyGISC geoportal and brainstorming for a similar implementation at UP; a seminar in Internet GIS designed for postgraduate students; and guest lectures attended by staff, students and industry representatives.
The UP project is one of 17 projects that will pair African Diaspora scholars with institutions of higher education and collaborators in Africa to work together on curriculum development, research, graduate teaching, training and mentoring in the months ahead.
This innovative fellowship programme facilitates engagement between scholars born in Africa who are now based in the United States or Canada and scholars living in Africa on mutually beneficial academic activities. The programme is managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration with Quinnipiac University, through Dr Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, who chairs the Advisory Council, and is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) Advisory Council, comprising academic leaders from Africa and prominent African Diaspora academics, has remarked on the rapid growth, quality, impact and uniqueness of the programme, which allows African universities to host African Diaspora scholars at their institutions.