BOONE, N.C. — Five South African scholars recently visited Appalachian State University’s campus as part of the University Staff Doctoral Program (USDP), a joint program implemented with the University of the Free State (UFS). The program aims to increase the number of university academics in South Africa who hold doctoral degrees — 5,000 Ph.D. graduates per year by 2030.
“By taking part in this program, our Appalachian faculty show their passion for providing an international perspective — both in the professional development of faculty at our partner institutions and for our students here at home,” said Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, associate vice chancellor of international education and development at Appalachian and director of international research and development. Lutabingwa is also a professor of public administration in the university’s Department of Government and Justice Studies.
He continued, “By co-advising these amazing scholars, the faculty gain an international perspective, which they will infuse into their curriculum for Appalachian students. Projects like these showcase Appalachian’s commitment to deepen engagement with our global partner institutions.”
Appalachian has had a long-term relationship with UFS that formerly started in 2009 with the signing of a partnership agreement. In 2018, UFS invited Appalachian to participate in the USDP project under the auspices of the United States–South Africa Higher Education Network collaboration program.
The USDP Scholars, who visited the university’s main campus Sept. 7–Oct. 5, were co-supervised by five Appalachian faculty members during their U.S. doctoral work at the university. This co-supervision will continue until the scholars complete their Ph.D.s.
The scholars and their U.S. co-supervisors:
- Musa Adebola Ginayu, a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science at UFS’ QwaQwa Campus, is co-supervised by Dr. Rahman Tashakkori, the Lowe’s Distinguished Professor of Computer Science in and chair of the Department of Computer Science.
- Nomcebo Dhlamini, a faculty member in the Department of Social Sciences and Community Development at the UFS’ QwaQwa campus, is co-supervised by Dr. Kathleen Schroeder, professor in and chair of the Department of Geography and Planning.
- Gavin Dollman, a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science at the UFS’ QwaQwa Campus, is co-supervised by Dr. Andy Heckert, professor in the Department of Geology and Environmental Science.
- Grey Magaiza, a faculty member in and head of the Department of Social Sciences and Community Development at UFS’ QwaQwa Campus, is co-supervised by Lutabingwa.
- Stanslous Zindiye, a faculty member in the Department of Commerce and Business Management at the University of Venda, is co-supervised by Dr. William “Billy” Schumann, associate professor in the university’s Appalachian studies program and director of Appalachian’s Center for Appalachian Studies.
“The University Staff Doctoral Program is the treadmill for innovation in academic leadership and research capacity development. Through the USDP, we have managed to put together the foundation for collaboration in multidisciplinary mountain research, a special research niche that is currently underdeveloped,” said Dr. Geofrey Mukwada, USDP director and associate professor in UFS’ Department of Geography.
At Appalachian, the USDP project is coordinated by the Office of International Education and Development (OIED) and the Center for Appalachian Studies.
Higher education institutions participating in the USDP initiative include Appalachian, Colorado State University, University of Montana, UFS and University of Venda in South Africa.
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About the Office of International Education and Development
The OIED is responsible for spearheading the internationalization efforts at Appalachian. The internationalization mission of Appalachian is to develop awareness, knowledge, appreciation and respect of cultural differences in both domestic and international contexts in its students, faculty, staff and the surrounding communities. The university is also dedicated to creating a campus environment that builds the theoretical and practical skills needed to interact effectively in a global society. Learn more at https://international.appstate.edu.
About the Center for Appalachian Studies
The Center for Appalachian Studies promotes public programs, community collaboration, civic engagement and scholarship on the Appalachian region. The center is committed to building healthy communities and deepening knowledge of Appalachia’s past, present and future through community-based research and engagement. Learn more at https://appcenter.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.