Ann Arbor, Mich. (February 8, 2022) – The African Studies Center (ASC) welcomes 16 early and mid-career faculty from universities in Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda.
Established in 2009, UMAPS is the university’s flagship program for engagement with colleges and universities on the African continent.
UMAPS scholars contribute significantly to the diversity of voices present on our campus, says Andries Coetzee, ASC director and professor of linguistics. Having these scholars on campus creates an opportunity for our students and colleagues to learn about Africa from African scholars.
The highly competitive program attracts applications from scholars in all disciplines working at universities and colleges across the African continent. In addition, UMAPS fellows are integrated with the ASC and U-M community, including the home departments of their U-M collaborators.
Lorette Arendse (Moody UMAPS Scholar) is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa, where she also received her LLD. Arendse’s research project focuses on the legacy of inequality in the South African public schooling system and critically reflects on the courts’ contribution to effecting transformation in the education system. Her U-M faculty host is Susan Page (Public Policy and Law School).
Gifty Buah is a tutor and PhD candidate in computer engineering at the University of Ghana. She received a Master of Science degree in computer and electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. At U-M, Buah will be working on a research project that focuses on a mobile-based assessment tool that predicts the type, intensity, and duration of balance training exercises for the elderly. Her faculty host is Kathleen Sienko (Mechanical Engineering).
John-Doe Dordzro is a lecturer for applied music and director of the wind ensemble at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. He is also in charge of many wind bands and choral groups across Ghana. His research interests are brass band music in Ghana, instrumental music pedagogy, community music, gender issues in music, and general issues in music education. At U-M, he will be working with Kwasi Ampene (Afroamerican and African Studies).
Usisipho Feleni (Moody UMAPS Scholar) is a senior lecturer at the Nanotechnology and Sustainability Research Unit in the School of Science, University of South Africa. She received her PhD from the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Her research expertise is in the development of chalcogenide quantum dots as tuneable electroactive platforms for the fabrication of biosensors for biomedical and environmental analysis. Her U-M collaborator is Bart Barlett (Chemistry).
Sevias Guvuriro (Moody UMAPS Scholar) is a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of the Free State, South Africa, where he also obtained his PhD. Guvuriro’s new project focuses on economic and social preferences and health behavior among young adolescents in informal urban settlements. Erin Krupka (Information) will serve as his U-M collaborator.
Anslyn John (Moody UMAPS Scholar) is a lecturer in the Department of Physics at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. He received his PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and his research specialties are theoretical cosmology and general relativity. His UMAPS project focuses on cosmological structure formation with shear viscosity. At U-M, he will work with August Evrard (Physics).
Laston Manja is a lecturer in economics at the University of Malawi. His research interests span macroeconomics (international trade and development) and microeconomics (finance, agriculture, gender, and household behavior). He will work with Dean Yang (Economics and Public Policy) on a project titled, “Differential Impacts of Access to Finance on Urban and Rural-Based Households’ Welfare in Malawi.”
Diana Mbatudde is an instructor at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Aga Khan University, East Africa, and a PhD student at the University of South Africa. Her UMAPS project will test a model for improving access and availability of basic emergency and critical care services to patients with acute life-threatening illnesses at lower and middle-level health facilities in Uganda. She will be working with Massy Mutumba (Nursing).
Nosipho Mngomezulu (Moody UMAPS Scholar) is a lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, holding a PhD in social anthropology from Rhodes University, South Africa. She is interested in contemporary youth identification practices in South Africa and Mauritius. At U-M, she will work on a book manuscript, examining what it means for young people to resist narratives of trauma. Jatin Dua (Anthropology) will serve as her U-M collaborator.
Pierre Mubiayi (Moody UMAPS Scholar) is a lecturer in the School of Chemistry at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, where he also completed his PhD. His research interests are nanocrystal growth, perovskite syntheses as bulk or nanocrystals, material characterization techniques, and device assembly such as solar cells. He will be working with Roy Clarke (Physics) to improve his research skills, build strong partnerships, and complete publications.
Firminus Mugumya (Makere Mellon UMAPS scholar) is a senior lecturer in the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, Makerere University, Uganda. His teaching and research interests are in community-led development and social change. He is currently finalizing a qualitative study exploring opportunities to sustainably address the enduring challenges of school enrolment and retention in Uganda through an engaged scholarship approach. His U-M collaborator is James M. Ellis (School of Social Work).
Purity Muthoni (Guastalla UMAPS scholar) is a tutorial fellow in Environmental Planning and Management at Kenyatta University, Kenya. Her research and professional interest are in sustainable urban development and environmental governance, specifically in environmental sustainability in Kenyan cities. Her U-M collaborator is Martin Murray (Urban Planning).
Kanayo Ogujiuba (Moody UMAPS Scholar) holds a PhD in economics from the University of Nigeria, and a PhD in statistics with a specialization in population studies from the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Ogujiuba is currently a senior lecturer at the School of Development Studies at the University of Mpumalanga, South Africa, where he also serves on several university-wide committees. At U-M, he will work with Jim Adams (Economics).
Peter Oviro is a lecturer in mechanical engineering at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His PhD project at the same university involved the development of a nanoporous membrane for water desalination. His interests are in design, broadly conceived, including system modeling and optimization. At U-M, he will work with Panos Papalambros (Mechanical Engineering).
Phuti Sepuru (Moody UMAPS Scholar) is a lecturer in classical music and jazz studies at the University of Pretoria, where she also received her doctoral degree. Sepuru’s current research interests include jazz ethnography and exploring issues around the conceptualization of musical style and identity in South African jazz, particularly through practitioner-based research. At U-M, Sepuru will work with Marion Hayden (Music, Theater & Dance).
Justus Twesigye (Makere Mellon UMAPS scholar) is a lecturer in the Social Work and Social Administration Department at Makerere University, Uganda. He received his MSW from the University of Botswana and PhD from Stellenbosch University, South Africa. His research interests are in developmental social work, mental health, and social entrepreneurship. His UMAPS project explores social work’s contribution to sustainable development in Uganda. At U-M, he will work with Trina Shanks (School of Social Work).
Funding for UMAPS is provided by the U-M Office of the President, Office of the Provost, the South African Initiatives Office, and private donors. To learn more about the program, visit ii.umich.edu/asc/umaps
The African Studies Center (ASC) at the University of Michigan provides strategic guidance and coordination for Africa-related education, research, and training activities on campus, and promotes opportunities for collaboration with African partners on the continent. ASC is a member of the International Institute.