A Nelson Mandela University professor has been selected as one of two African mentors for an elite global mentorship programme.

Prof Brenda Scholtz, a lecturer in the computing sciences department at NMU, was also invited to be among a trio of panellists selected from 44 international mentors at the MIS Quarterly Scholarly Development programme earlier this month.

The programme will be offered as intensive virtual contact sessions, hosted throughout the academic year.

The programme supports emerging academics and researchers under the umbrella of the academic journal, MIS Quarterly, which publishes articles on computer science applications, information systems, information systems and management, and management information systems.

Its publishing house is based in the US.

“When I received an email from the editor of the journal, I grabbed the opportunity,” Scholtz said.

“I feel honoured and privileged to be invited to take part in this programme.

“There was no such programme back when I started in academia and I really struggled with research in the beginning of my academic career.”

Now an accomplished international researcher in data analytics and business intelligence, Scholtz is excited to share her research journey with the pre-selected group of about 70 mentees from across the world.

“I was able to slowly get to a place where I had built up funding for international research collaborations and conferences, and a network of researchers that work on research that I am passionate about. I love what I do, and I hope to encourage the mentees to persevere and to reach out to others for support.”

Scholtz invited three Eastern Cape-based mentees to join the programme.

Dr Khulekani Yakobi, a lecturer in the unit of office management and technology at Walter Sisulu University (WSU), said he was excited to participate in the international mentorship programme. “I am delighted that I will be collaborating on my research with international scholars, addressing problems in unique and diverse contexts. This will definitely bring recognition to my research work and boost my career,” Yakobi said.

Another mentee, postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in the computing sciences department at NMU, Dr Ife Fashoro, said the first session of the mentorship programme offered an opportunity to interact with highly rated international scholars who were willing to share tips and advice.

“I applied to the scholarly development programme to build my network in academia, both locally and internationally, with the aim of learning to produce research output that is relevant to the local context and contributes to the international scientific community,” Fashoro said.

Another lecturer in the computing sciences department, Dr Anthea van der Hoogen, said she had found the first session of the mentorship programme eye-opening

“I am still star-struck to have been in the same virtual rooms as these established scholars and especially to be there with one of our own, Prof Scholtz.”

Van der Hoogen said she felt encouraged to have her work published in some of the top international journals.

This article appeared in The Herald (South Africa) on 1 March 2023

MAKING MOVES: Prof Brenda Scholtz, right, a lecturer in the computing sciences department at Nelson Mandela University, with one of her mentees, Dr Anthea van der Hoogen

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Prof Brenda Scholtz