Stellenbosch University (SU) staff member Mawethu Nyakatya was recently awarded with the international Visiting Professor of Community-Engaged Scholarship at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in the USA.
Nyakatya is the Manager: Research Partnerships at SU's Division for Social Impact and through the five-year scholarship he will share his knowledge and experience in community-engaged scholarship at UCF.
“The invitation is definitely a career milestone. To have one's experience and expertise recognised by peers from an international institution is wonderful. It is also an invitation to remain committed to community-engaged scholarship and continue to succeed," says Nyakatya.
UCF recently opened a new campus in the downtown part of Orlando, Florida, USA. The campus facilitates collaborative interactions with the City of Orlando, various businesses and civil society organisations, and leverages university assets to address challenges facing the city, much like the work of SU's Division for Social Impact.
Nyakatya will work in collaboration with the UCF Office of Downtown Community-Engaged Scholarship to provide objective assessments of UCF Downtown's commitment to the principles of sustainable and ethical community-engaged scholarship, and participate in training academic staff, professional staff and students in community-engaged scholarship practices.
“I hope to share my knowledge and experience of community-engaged scholarship and to learn from others to improve community engagement for social impact at Stellenbosch University and in the South African context. I would also like to use my association with UCF to create more opportunities for staff and students from the two institutions to engage."
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the scholarship will consist of online and remote engagements during the COVID-19 period and contact engagements post-COVID-19.
According to Prof Thomas Bryer, Programme Director for Community-Engaged Scholarship at UCF, Nyakatya is one of a “select group of individuals" from inside and outside USA, whose experience and expertise he values in the efforts that they are establishing at their university.
“We know that insights, observations and questions from outside the university can help ensure that the scholarship that occurs in downtown Orlando makes the university not just a good neighbour but a trusted ally in working to address community challenges and enhance quality of life," says Bryer.
Nyakatya, along with eight other researchers, will begin the visiting scholarship early next year.
For more information on UCF and the scholarship, click here.