Fortune Mhlanga receives Carnegie fellowship to support higher education in Africa

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fortune_largeFortune Mhlanga, dean of Lipscomb University’s College of Computing & Technology, has been awarded a fellowship by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program. Offered by the Institute of International Education in collaboration with the United States International University-Africa, the program is funded by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

fortune_mugThe Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program is a scholar fellowship program for educational projects at African higher education institutions and is designed for African-born academics currently living in the United States or Canada who are working at a college or university. A native of Zimbabwe, Mhlanga was awarded a fellowship to travel to Nigeria to work with Ebonyi State University (ESU) and Ifeyinwa Ajah, a computer science faculty member there, on capacity building in the areas of algorithms and theory of computation, working mainly with graduate students and young faculty. Mhlanga will travel to Nigeria for several weeks in June for the fellowship.

“This is an amazing opportunity to mentor young students and faculty as well as to collaborate with colleagues at Ebonyi State University,” said Mhlanga, who is also professor of computer science, data science, and software engineering. “It is also very rewarding to have an opportunity to give back to my native continent and to help make a positive impact through education there.”

Located in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria, ESU was upgraded to a multi-disciplinary university in 1999 and is one of the few in that country that focuses on the development of academic programs in the areas of law, humanities, sciences and technology.

Mhlanga’s fellowship at Ebonyi State University will focus on:

  • Training 50 graduate and doctoral students and 17 faculty on Design Analysis of Algorithms and Theory of Computation;
  • Reviewing and strengthening existing undergraduate and graduate computer science curriculum;
  • Mentoring computer science graduate students and young faculty;
  • Exploring collaborative initiatives between Ebonyi State University and Lipscomb University; and
  • Training on writing grant proposals in Computer Science and discussions on dissertation and thesis reporting.

The Ebonyi State University project is one of 43 projects that will pair African Diaspora scholars with one of 35 higher education institutions and collaborators in Africa to work together on curriculum co-development, research, graduate teaching, training and mentoring activities in the coming months. The visiting fellows will work with their hosts on a wide range of projects that include research in banking and finance; developing curriculum in therapeutics and environmental toxicology; mentoring faculty in computer science; and teaching and mentoring graduate students in media and communications and in a new interdisciplinary public health program. To deepen the ties among the faculty members and between their home and host institutions, the program is providing support to several program alumni to enable them to build on successful collaborative projects they conducted in previous years.

The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, now in its fourth year, is designed to reverse Africa’s brain drain, build capacity at the host institutions, and develop long-term, mutually-beneficial collaborations between universities in Africa and the United States and Canada. It is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration with United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) in Nairobi, Kenya, which coordinates the activities of the Advisory Council. A total of 282 African Diaspora Fellowships have now been awarded for scholars to travel to Africa since the program’s inception in 2013. See full list of 2017 projects, hosts and scholars and their universities.

Mhlanga joined the Lipscomb faculty in 2011 as a professor of computer science and as director of Lipscomb’s then-newly established School of Computing & Informatics. Mhlanga led the school through a period of growth that resulted in it being transformed into the College of Computing & Technology in 2014. Today, it offers ten bachelor’s degrees and three master’s degrees. In March 2017 the College of Computing & Technology’s Information Technology degree was named the best in Tennessee and the 31st best in the nation by College Choice.

Prior to his appointment at Lipscomb, Mhlanga was professor of computing and director of the School of IT & Computing at Abilene Christian University. From 2002-2007, Mhlanga served as professor and chair of the computer science department at Faulkner University. He was director of the Informatics and Electronics Institute at the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, from 1998-2002 and served as chair of the computer science department at the University of Zimbabwe from January 1994-December 1997.

Mhlanga has a Bachelor of Science degree from Harding University and a Master of Science and Ph.D. from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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