As previously reported on BU research blog, I was awarded Fusion Investment Funds to explore opportunities for research collaboration and staff and student exchanges with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Durban, South Africa. I am posting this blog to report on my exploratory visit to UKZN last week (Tuesday 22nd to Friday, 25th April, 2014).
The first day of my visit was spent in what I would call ‘high level meetings’ with UKZN senior management staff. In the morning I met Professor Anesh Maniraj Singh who is the Dean of the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance. He expressed his enthusiasm for the research collaboration and the staff and student exchanges and indicated that he will come over as soon as the partnership agreement is signed. Next I met Professor Stephen Migiro, the Dean and Head of the Graduate School of Business and Leadership. He was also very much in favour of the proposal. He talked about the problems the university was facing especially in finding external examiners for their PhD students and hoped that once the partnership is signed, some BU staff may be engaged as examiners. The final meeting of the day was with the Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor John Mubangizi. He was so impressed with the proposal that he instructed the Dean of the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance and the Dean of the Graduate School of Business and Leadership to work with me so that the proposed partnership is signed as soon as possible subject to both BU and UKZN due processes.
On my second day I met the students to gauge their interest in coming over to BU. I made a 20 minutes presentation outlining the nature of the student exchange after which I invited questions. There was quite a lot of interest and excitement about the proposed student exchange judging by the number of questions that I had to answer. At the end of the session I invited the students to indicate by raising their hands if they would be interested. No prizes for guessing that 100% of the students would be interested in coming to BU once such an exchange agreement has been signed subject to financial constraints.
The morning of third day at UKZN was taken up by a meeting with Professor Lesley Stainbank (Professor of Accounting) where we discussed possible research collaboration. I spent my lunch in the company of Professor Anesh Maniraj Singh talking about how the proposed partnership could effectively benefit his School of Accounting, Economics and Finance and ‘catch up’ with the developments in teaching and research in the UK.
My final day involved a 50 mile drive UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg Campus where I presented a research paper entitled ‘The impact of DEFRA guidelines on the reporting of greenhouse gases’. The presentation was attended by about 50 people who appeared knowledgeable about the topic of the presentation. I rounded up my visit to UKZN with a talk to the postgraduate students who expressed the hope that the proposed student exchange could include a summer school for them so that they could also come for a short period and experience the education atmosphere at BU.
My overall impression of the visit is that UKZN is a very good university which has very good teaching, research and student facilities that are equivalent to those at BU. The staff and the students that I met were very friendly and showed commitment to working with BU students and staff once the partnership agreement is signed. I am very grateful to the Fusion Investment Fund that enabled me to visit UKZN. I brought some material about UKZN as a university and also about the research being undertaken by its staff. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any further information.
Dr Ven Tauringana
Associate Professor of Accounting, The Business School.