SU International's African Doctoral Academy (ADA) has been offering capacity development interventions for current and prospective PhD candidates, supervisors and researchers since 2009. With its flagship annual summer and winter schools, the ADA has built a significant following over the years. These schools are made up of a number of short courses on research design and methodology, academic preparedness, research dissemination and supervision, and are accredited by Stellenbosch University (SU) and presented by both SU and other experts.
Since February 2021, a new ADA initiative, Webinar Wednesdays, has been offering regular support and stimulation to the ADA's followers, and providing a platform for SU staff and ADA associates to share their work and research interests. The webinars, held on the first or second Wednesday of the month, also give the ADA a year-round presence, instead of only in the run-up to its annual schools.
Seven webinars have been presented to date:
- In “Creating an academic vision, and the habits that make it a reality", Prof Sarah Tracy, a qualitative researcher from Arizona State University, United States, helped delegates set research targets and reach their academic goals.
- Prof Kanshu Rajaratnam, director of the newly established SU School for Data Science and Computational Thinking, elaborated on “Data science and its relevance for us in Africa", including how data science has helped us understand the spread of COVID-19 across the world.
- In the webinar “Creating a functional home office", Prof Sebastian Kernbach, a fellow at Stanford and a lecturer at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland, shared ideas on how to use design thinking principles to create a productive remote work environment.
- SU's Doris Viljoen, a senior futurist at the Institute for Futures Studies, explored how futures thinking could open up doors when planning scenarios in both research and institutions in her session “Scenario Planning".
- Prof Brigitte Smit, an experienced trainer in computer-assisted software at the universities of Alberta and Johannesburg, offered handy tips and tools for data collection, transcription and analysis in “Use of Digital Tools for research".
- In the session, “Tips to get published", novice writers wanting to produce articles for submission to scientific journals were shown the ropes by SU's Prof Leslie Swartz, who himself has published over 400 academic outputs.
- Finally, Intro to Data Visualisation, with Marié Roux of Stellenbosch University's Library and Information Services where she coordinates the #SmartResearcher workshops aimed at postgraduate students, researchers and academic staff.
The response has been tremendous: On average, the webinars attracted over 100 participants each, from across all disciplines, with one reaching up to 260 people. All the webinars are publicly available on the ADA's YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD4ct5mOJ1zpkB2HIB9xQtg.
The next Webinar Wednesday features Mr Kirchner van Deventer (SU Library and Information Services), who will be providing a hands-on demonstration of Mendeley referencing management software and share the main features of this powerful programme.
Save the Date: Summer School 2022
Webinar Wednesdays: 20 October 2021 at 12:00 - 13:30 (GMT+2)Mendeley referencing management software
- Those who wish to contribute to Webinar Wednesdays and share their research are invited to contact ADA programme manager Corina du Toit (firstname.lastname@example.org).