Dr. Shana Ponelis Awarded Fellowship for Carnegie Program

School of Information Studies

Dr. Shana Ponelis Awarded Fellowship for Carnegie Program

For Immediate Release

January, 2017 • Milwaukee, WI


Dr. Shana Ponelis

Dr. Shana Ponelis, an Assistant Professor in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Information Studies, is one of 70 scholars who have been awarded a fellowship through the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program to travel to South Africa to work with the University of Zululand’s Department of Information Studies on curriculum co-development, mentoring of graduate students, and inter-institutional research collaboration on information entrepreneurship and information marketing, as well as undertaking capacity building for increased uptake of blended teaching and learning in the Faculty of Arts.

Building on a relationship between the two universities first formalized through an agreement on inter-institutional educational and scientific collaboration signed in July 2010, this project will support collaboration with Professor Janneke Mostert and Ms Xolile Coetzer to co-develop curricula, provide additional supervisory capacity, share pedagogical knowledge and experiences with respect to blended teaching, and undertake joint research. The project strengthens UW-Milwaukee’s reputation as a globally-engaged university and confirms its commitment to internationalization and will help realize the University of Zululand Faculty of Arts’ vision of providing students with an education that will be useful to them as future employees and/or entrepreneurs in a country with high levels of unemployment, particularly youth unemployment. Located in uMhlathuze, the project also strengthens Milwaukee’s sister city relationship initiated in 2008 and re-affirmed in 2014 to promote people-to-people diplomacy, as well as supporting the University of Zululand’s strategic plan to increase global co-operation and exposure for staff and students through international linkages.

Dr. Ponelis’ work focuses on entrepreneurship, education and ethics in terms of information infrastructure, systems and access. At UW-Milwaukee she teaches an Ideas Challenge course on entrepreneurship for Master’s of Library and Information Science (MLIS) students as well as a class on marketing of libraries and other information agencies. Ideas Challenge is the name given to a collection of innovation and design programs and courses at UW-Milwaukee that are designed to bring out the entrepreneur in all students, regardless of major. Small businesses play an important role in the economic vitality of a community and meeting the information needs of nascent and current entrepreneurs is vital. By providing an opportunity to apply entrepreneurial methods and processes, the class contributes to future librarians’ understanding of the role of libraries in meeting those needs from an entrepreneur’s perspective, explores the importance of entrepreneurship within libraries (intrapreneurship), and prepares MLIS graduates for alternative career options as well as entrepreneurial ventures.

“I am grateful to the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program for the funding that will allow me to engage with students and colleagues at the University of Zululand,” Dr Ponelis said. “In a rapidly changing global environment, opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration and exchange of ideas between scholars and students are more important than ever to expand our understanding of the world in which we live and conduct business to ultimately improve people’s lived experience.” She also expects that the educational exchange will enrich her teaching at UW-Milwaukee and add new dimensions to her scholarship.

Now in its fourth year, the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program has helped 239 African-born scholars who have been living and working in North America to connect with their peers at universities throughout Africa. The program is designed to build capacity at the host institutions in Africa, and to develop long-term, mutually-beneficial partnerships between the universities. The Fellowships are funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) in Kenya provides strategic direction through Dr. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza and an Advisory Council he chairs. The program selects projects that were proposed by the host universities and matches them with African-born scholars, covering the visiting scholars’ expenses, including transportation, a daily stipend, and the cost of obtaining visas and health insurance.

About University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

As Wisconsin’s only public urban research university, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) has established an international reputation for excellence in research, community engagement, teaching and entrepreneurism. UWM is recognized as one of the top 115 research universities in the USA with a Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education of “highest research activity” (R1). With more than 180 academic programs, UWM offers a world class education to more than 27,000 students from more than 80 countries. UWM partners with businesses throughout the region, conducting joint research and offering internships to students enrolled in its 14 schools and colleges, and is an engine for innovation in southeastern Wisconsin. The Princeton Review named UWM a 2016 Best Midwestern university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews. Times Higher Education lists UWM among the world’s 600 best universities. The U.S. Department of Education named UWM a National Resource Center for Global Studies in 2014, recognizing the university’s ability to strengthen global competitiveness through international studies and world language training.

The School of Information Studies (SOIS) at UWM offers several degree programs including a Bachelor’s in Information Science and Technology, an ALA-accredited Master of Library and Information Science and a PhD in Information Studies. With a growing student body of more than 900 students SOIS strives to be a premier international iSchool that shapes knowledge and information technology through innovative research and teaching. SOIS is a leader in advancing knowledge and preparing students from diverse backgrounds to be successful information professionals within their communities.

About the University of Zululand

The University of Zululand (UNIZULU) is located within the Umhlathuze Municipality, the fastest growing industrial hub and employer in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. UNIZULU is a comprehensive University offering approximately 252 accredited degree, diploma and certificate courses across its Faculties of Arts; Education; Science and Agriculture; and Commerce, Administration and Law at the KwaDlangezwa and Richards Bay campuses. As part of UNIZULU’s drive to broaden its reach and strengthen its academic and research focus, the International Linkages Office (ILO) has established partnerships with institutions of higher learning across continents, thus globally connecting with experts in various fields. ILO initiatives are based on increasing research capacity, academic exchanges, scholarly visits and developing new projects that are of benefit to the University community.

The Department of Information Studies at UNIZULU was founded in 1970 and offers a three-year ICT-intensive Bachelor of Arts in Information Science, a four-year Bachelor of Library Science degree, a Postgraduate Diploma in Library Science, a Postgraduate Diploma in School Librarianship for qualified school teachers interested in a school librarianship career, a Master’s degree in Library Science, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Science.  The Department hosts an annual conference for scholars from across the globe but especially from Africa to share their research, and for both undergraduate and graduate students to present their research projects to conference attendees to support the development of potential future researchers and to encourage undergraduate students to pursue graduate studies.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in providing international education strategies and program services. Our international approach to education—diverse, borderless, impactful—is a proven way for governments and companies to invest in global talent and solidify overseas relationships. We work with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE designs and implements over 250 programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,400 member institutions.

About United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa)

United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) was founded in 1969 as the Africa campus of United States International University in San Diego, California.  Today, the University operates as an independent, not-for-profit institution serving over 6000 students representing 73 nationalities. It offers 24 degree programs from undergraduate to doctoral level, all of which are accredited in Kenya and the United States of America with the Commission for University Education and Senior Colleges and Universities Commission, WASC respectively.

About Carnegie Corporation of New York

Carnegie Corporation of New York was established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 “to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.” In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation’s work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of education and knowle