Meet the U-M African Presidential Scholars for 2011-2012

UMAPS Cohort

Top row, l to r: Sakhumzi Mfecane, Morris Lysander Ken, Andrew Ellias State, Abraham Mensah, Jackson Tamba, Sipokazi Sambumbu, E. Mathakga Botha, Emmanuel Yamoah Tenkorang, Christopher Muhoozi, George Kushiator. Bottom row, l to r: Joseph Ballah, Florence Asiimwe, Yesuenyeagbe Fiagbe, Adolphus Nippae.

The U-M Presidential Scholars (UMAPS) program remains a key initiative of the African Studies Center.  UMAPS contributes to capacity building in the African academy by providing opportunities for early-career faculty based in Ghana, South Africa, Liberia or Uganda to spend up to six months in Ann Arbor.  The program simultaneously promotes greater internationalization of U-M by bringing talented Africa-based faculty to campus, thus enriching U-M through the inclusion of African perspectives.

 

During their residencies at U-M, UMAPS scholars are paired with a faculty member and have full access to the University’s resources to work on research proposals, academic degrees, and grant proposals.  Scholars also participate in a weekly practicum organized by the ASC and present their work at seminars and conferences in and around Ann Arbor.  

 

The scholars in the 2011-2012 cohort are: 

Florence A. Asiimwe is a senior lecturer in the Sociology Department at Makerere University (Uganda). Her dissertation explored the obstacles to home ownership for widowed and married women in Kampala, Uganda.  At U-M, she is working on a book manuscript—based on her Ph.D. research—about matrimonial homeownership dynamics.

 

Joseph M. Ballah is an instructor and acting chairman of the Geography Department at the University of Liberia, where he works on identifying problems and solutions to common environmental challenges.  He is using his time at U-M to further his current research project on combating coastal erosion in Monrovia.  

 

E. Mathakga Botha comes to Ann Arbor from the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), where she is a lecturer in the Curriculum Department at the Wits School of Education.  Her doctoral research, on which she is working during her U-M residency, examines the effective use of assessment data in South African primary schools in order to improve teaching and learning.

 

Yesuenyeagbe A.K. Fiagbe is a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana), where he lectures in Engineering Drawing, and Hydraulics and Pneumatics.  At U-M, he is working on his research project on “Development of Sectional Parametric Design Method for Small Aircraft Configuration.”

 

Morris Lysander Ken is an instructor in the Sociology Department at the University of Liberia.  During his residency in Ann Arbor, he is developing recommendations for integrating early childhood education training into the academic programs of higher learning institutions across Liberia.

 

George Kushiator is a lecturer in the Department of Communication Design at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana), who is furthering his doctoral research on the integration of traditional and digital media techniques in artistic expression.  His artistic work is featured elsewhere in this newsletter.

 

Abraham Y. Mensah joins us from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana), where he is a senior lecturer in Pharmacology.  His larger research interests concern the scientific justification for the folkloric uses of medicinal plants. His work at U-M involves the isolation and characterization of bioactive compounds in such plants by using chromatographic and spectroscopic methods.

 

Sakhumzi Mfecane is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of the Western Cape (South Africa) who received his PhD from the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER).  At U-M, he is working on the publication of several chapters from his dissertation, which centered on men, masculinities, and HIV/AIDS. 

 

Christopher Muhoozi is a lecturer in the History Department at Makerere University (Uganda), where he is also doing doctoral research on the social history of the interlacustrine region in East Africa.  At U-M, he continues his research on Ankole, Western Uganda, with a focus on the ethnic contestation between the Iru and Hima in the pre-colonial and colonial periods.

 

Adolphus Nippae is an instructor II in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Liberia.  His research project at U-M is “Class J Radio Frequency Power Amplifier (RFPA) at High Frequency and Microwave Filters Design.”  He hopes to use these advanced design approaches in his teaching at U-L.  Nippae’s residency is part of the EHELD program, discussed elsewhere in the newsletter.

 

Sipokazi Sambumbu is a lecturer in the History Department at the University of the Western Cape (South Africa) who is engaged in doctoral research on the nature of the authorized heritage discourse in South Africa.  Continuing this research at U-M, she will focus on how a highly institutionalized heritage discourse is conceptualized, configured, and utilized within a range of institutions.

 

Andrew Ellias State comes to campus from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Makerere University (Uganda); his essay on teaching at Makerere can be found on page (INSERT PAGE).  His residency at U-M allows him to explore learning and teaching at US universities, particularly in regards to challenges in the learning process.

 

Jackson Tamba is an assistant professor and chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Liberia.  The author of many articles, Professor Tamba is currently writing a research paper on the relevance of renewable energy as a long-term energy solution for Africa.  His residency at U-M is part of the EHELD program discussed elsewhere in the newsletter.

 

Emmanuel Yamoah Tenkorang is a research fellow at the Institute for Development Studies, University of Cape Coast (Ghana), whose research focuses on environment and development.  At U-M, he is working on his PhD thesis, which analyzes how the interactions between mining governance institutions, traditional institutions, and other authorities affect local-level development in resource-rich communities.