published September 1, 2005

SENCER E-Newsletter, September 2005, Volume 5, Issue 1

What's Next for SENCER in Africa? US and African Scholars Meet at SSI 2005 to Discuss Opportunities

On August 9th, a group of visiting scholars from Makerere University in Uganda and the University of Johannesburg in the Republic of South Africa met with SENCER faculty and staff to discuss the future of SENCER's work in Africa. This meeting represents the next step in SENCER's work to expand collaborations on the African continent begun in 2001.

With continued interest locally and abroad to develop the SENCER program in Africa, the group met to discuss overall goals, specific needs, and future directions. Mary Goretti Nakabugo, Fatiyah Saad, and John Sentongo of Makerere University expressed an interest in designing a course for pre-service teachers with a focus on HIV/AIDS and conducting original research for publication. Vanessa a-Jean Merckel, Nadine Petersen, and Gadja Petker of the University of Johannesburg stressed the importance for staff development for members of their science faculty regarding HIV/AIDS. And David Kanis of Harold Washington College offered to contact US foundations interested in African health issues.

The following questions emerged from the discussion:

What are some possible research questions?

1. Does knowledge matter where knowledge is contested?

2. Does raising the issue of AIDS in the classroom have an effect on stigma?

What are some practical questions/challenges?

1. How do we build up research capabilities?

2. How do we build "human capital"?

3. How can we utilize distance learning and technology?

What are some possible outcomes/benefits of SENCER in Africa?

1. Contributing to the development of civil society

2. Increasing civic engagement/grassroots activities

3. Improving education

4. Improving teacher training

5. Getting answers to research questions

6. Creating faculty exchange and mentorship opportunities

7. Securing for students (and faculty) credentials and certifications

8. Nurturing students as future leaders

The group concluded that they would work in partnership to:

1. Consider a two-pronged approach: investigating a research question and establishing SENCER Learning Centers in Africa

2. Create opportunities for publication (International Journal of Science and Civic Engagement)

3. Use teacher education as a starting point – add HIV/AIDS service learning component to teacher education

If you are interested in participating in research opportunities, study abroad and scholar exchange experiences, or the development of SENCER Learning Centers in Africa, we'd love to hear from you. E-mail Debra Meyer at

Uganda Computer Science

Johannesburg University