UNIVEN and University of Virginia (UVa) collaboration has been growing leaps and bounds 

The University of Virginia (UVa), USA students and faculty were at the University of Venda (UNIVEN) for exchange programme. This year about 20 students and staff members were on campus to conduct research together with UNIVEN students from 5 June-27 July 2018. The group was led by Dr Karen Ingersoll, UVa. The staff and students were welcomed to the University by the Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Jan Crafford. He metioned that the collaboration with UVa started over two decades ago and it has always been growing with leaps and bounds. “This collaboration aims to empower both universities, to enable them to achieve set goals in terms of human development.” He said “almost all UNIVEN schools are involved in this collaboration and the Universities are ready to strengthen this long-lasting network through this collaboration,” he added. 

Prof Jan Crafford welcoming the UVa staff and students to the campus 

The Community Engagement Director, Prof Vhonani Netshandama has been part of the collaboration since its inception. She presented on University community engaged research where she encouraged the visitors to work participatorily with the community as they are a very important stakeholder in the research activity. “We have a goal orientated reciprocal interaction, negotiated collaboration and partnership between the University and communities. We encourage the research problems to come from communities. This will help us to find solutions to the problems that our communities are facing.” She further said that “We develop multicultural understanding and respect for local knowledge and differences within communities” she added. 

Prof Karen Ingersoll, Prof Vhonani Netshandama and Dr Angelina Maphula during the visit 

The representative of the visitors from the USA, Prof Karen Ingersoll, mentioned that the group consists of students from UVa and other universities in the USA who have come to be part of the collaboration at UNIVEN this year. “This collaboration will continue to have good impact in many people’s lives. This collaboration will continue to expand in the health field,” she said. She concluded by highlighting that the collaboration is helping students academically and socially and will continue to improve the lives of many people in many years to come. 

Ms Mokgaphane Mapaseka, SRC Minister for Communications, External Affairs and International Relations addressing the visitors 

UNIVEN Student Representative Council (SRC) Minister for Communications, External Affairs and International Relations, Ms Mokgaphane Mapaseka told the UVa group that, “You need to help our people in deep rural villages on how to protect themselves from diseases such as malaria, TB and HIV.” She also said that UNIVEN have extra-mural activities that UVa students can learn a lot from. “We have cultural groups in which you can learn how to dance, cook, greet and to also learn about the traditional dress code,” she added. 

The orientation programme was organised by the Directorate of International Relations and the Acting Director International Relations, Dr Segun Obadire, mentioned that both staff and students of UNIVEN are always willing to work with the UVa students and faculty every time they visit. He introduced them to the social integration programmes of the Directorate, such as Buddy programme, country’s independent days, internationalisation evening, etc and encouraged them to be free to participate in the University programmes. He advised the group to feel free to  contact the Directorate for any assistance they may need to make their stay a remarkable one. 

Dr Elelwani Ramaite stressing a point on the cultures in the region 

The visitors were given pamphlets that contained detailed emergency procedure and basic local languages. They were also taken through some phrases on how to greet in Tshivenda and they were introduced to the region by Dr Elelwani Ramaite, the Coordinator of UNIVEN Art Gallery. Also present at the function were Prof Lizzy Netshikweta, Head Advanced Nursing, Dr Jeanette Ramakuela, School of Health Sciences, Dr. Angelina Maphula, School of Health Sciences, other staff and students from the School of Health Sciences. 

A student representative from UVa group thanked the organisers of the orientation programme and promised on behalf of the group of a good behaviour and a feedback on the outcome of the research work. The visitors were entertained by the Arts and Culture Group of the University. 

Group picture of the participants at the orientation 

Issued by: 

Department of Communications & Marketing 
University of Venda 
Tel: (015) 962 8525 
Date: 10 July 2018 

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