Prof Brenda Scholtz, a lecturer in the Computing Sciences Department at Nelson Mandela University (right), with one of her mentees, Dr Anthea van der Hoogen, pictured in New York on route to a conference in Mexico.

Professor Brenda Scholtz from Nelson Mandela University joined an elite mentorship programme and invited three of South Africa’s most promising lecturers to join her as mentees.


New York, United States (28 February 2023) – A Nelson Mandela University academic has been selected as a mentor for an elite global mentorship programme.

One of only two mentors from Africa participating in the programme, Prof Brenda Scholtz, a lecturer in the Computing Sciences Department at Nelson Mandela University, was also invited as a panellist presenting during the first session of the MIS Quarterly Scholarly Development programme.

Only three panellists of the 44 mentors from across the globe – including seasoned academics from America, Europe and Asia – were given the opportunity to speak to the mentees during the first contact session in February.

The programme supports emerging academics and researchers and falls under the umbrella of the premiere academic journal, MIS Quarterly. Considered as one of the top five journals in its field globally, the journal 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. 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,” said Scholtz.

Coming from the IT industry, she said she found herself “15 years behind” her academic colleagues.

“When I moved to academia, I did not even have a Masters degree and I had two young children and a husband who worked out of town. The academic world was very different to the corporate world I was used to, and it had a very different approach to that of a researcher,” said Scholtz.

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 – who come 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 nice network of researchers that work on research that I am passionate about and that excites me. I love what I do, and I hope to encourage the mentees to persevere and to reach out to others for support. I believe we need to share our gifts and that we need each other to move forward positively”.

The programme will be offered as intensive contact sessions, hosted throughout the 2023 academic year.

Local mentees invited to represent the Eastern Cape

And in true mentoring style, 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 prestigious international mentorship programme.

“I met with renowned scholars, who have published impactful and reputable work in the field of Information Systems in the opening session we had in February. For me, this is a gain in terms of my career growth as an academic. 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,” said Yakobi.

Postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in the Computing Sciences Department at Nelson Mandela University, Dr Ife Fashoro, agreed that the first session of the mentorship programme offered an excellent opportunity to interact with highly rated international scholars who were willing to share their personal journeys and give tips on how to overcome some of the challenges early career academics face.

“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,” said Fashoro.

Another lecturer in the Computing Sciences Department, Dr Anthea van der Hoogen, said she found the first session of the mentorship programme eye-opening:

“I could relate to all the speakers, which is a good thing to receive clarity that so many of us academics walk similar roads, and I am not alone. Lastly, 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 is now left encouraged to get published in some of these top international journals.

“I genuinely envision lasting networks and relationships from many of these participating scholars. I want to find research collaboration on real social issues mainly related to policies in different communities and how we can use concepts from the research area of Smart Cities to lend solutions to such problems,” said Van der Hoogen.

Sources: Supplied
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