The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Dental Technologist and Researcher: Dr Anisa Vahed, was recently named a Fulbright South African Research Scholar for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Dr Vahed who is a senior lecturer at the Department of Dental Sciences with over 20 years teaching experience. She will spend up to six months at a United States (US) university sharpening her research skills. Even though the date of her departure has not yet been confirmed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vahed is ecstatic for the opportunity to be part of this prestigious programme. Speaking about her achievement, Vahed said she completed an online application for this programme in September 2019. She feels her project titled ‘Advancing the Undergraduate Research-Teaching Nexus’ is an under investigated area within the South African context. Part of the application required endorsements from DUT and three external referees, particularly highlighting the significance of the project to the higher education field and its importance in South Africa.
“In November 2019, I was interviewed at a regional level (Round 1). Subsequently, in February 2020 I was nominated as a principal candidate to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB) for consideration in Round 2 of the nomination process,” said Vahed. She further explained that it was during the second round, through the US Council of Undergraduate Research (CUR), that she reached out to potential US institutions to explore the possibility of collaboration and to be hosted as a Fulbright Scholar. “Five potential universities in the US are keen to host me. On the 28 April 2020 the US Embassy in Pretoria informed me of my successful selection as a principal candidate for the Fulbright South African Research Scholar Programme (SARSP) for the 2020-2021 academic year,” said Vahed. She added that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on academic institutions worldwide, the earliest commencement of the Fulbright SARSP grant is January 1, 2021.
“I am currently in discussions with my preferred US University and await a confirmation on a departure date from SA between January 1 and March 31, 2021, where I would then spend up to six (6) months in the US,” said Vahed. Adding to Vahed’s excitement is that the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Programme covers a round-trip travel, health coverage, a monthly stipend for daily living expenses, accommodation and incidental costs. She said the host university will provide office space and access to campus resources. “As a Fulbright Scholar I have the opportunity to team up with an established undergraduate research academy to engage in a dialogical space on how to develop an undergraduate center/unit and to increase the undergraduate research culture at DUT. Apart from the networking opportunities that can enrich my academic development, as a Y-Rated researcher I anticipate that this experience will bolster my research focus area on the undergraduate research and teaching nexus by conducting further analytical work in collaboration with my international partners at my preferred US University,” said Vahed.
In addition to her interest in research-enhanced teaching at an undergraduate level, Dr Vahed’s other research interest is Internationalising the curriculum through Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL). In recognition of her COIL projects, Vahed received the 2017 Council Awards and the 2017 & 2018 Vice-Chancellor’s award. She has delivered numerous papers, workshops and seminars nationally and internationally.
Pictured: Dental Technologist and Researcher: Dr Anisa Vahed, who was recently appointed as a Fulbright South African Research Scholar