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  • The School of Information Technology becomes a member of iSchools

The School of Information Technology becomes a member of iSchools

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Overview

In September 2021 the University of Pretoria’s School of Information Technology (SIT), including the departments of Computer Science, Informatics and Information Science, was accepted as a basic member of the prestigious iSchools Organization. The iSchools Organization is a group of Information Schools dedicated to advancing the information field. Membership is renewed annually and would be valid as long as SIT maintains its reputation that justified acceptance as a member.

Criteria for inclusion include strong teaching and research programmes, student numbers, staff with doctoral degrees, doctoral degree programs, publication in international accredited journals and presentations at international scholarly conferences, securing of grants and other external funding, international collaboration and the quality of research completed by doctoral students.

The application was led by Professor Ina Fourie (Head of Department [HoD] of Information Science) with input from Professor Carina de Villiers (Chair of SIT, and HoD of Informatics) and Professor Hein Venter (HoD of Computer Science).

Professor Fourie will be our University’s iSchools' representative. She will be joined by four other members: Professor Hein Venter, Professor Hanlie Smuts, Professor Marlene Holmner and Dr Linda Marshall.

The iSchools Organization’s vision is to seek to maximize the visibility and influence of its member schools, and their interdisciplinary approaches to harnessing the power of information and technology, and maximizing the potential of humans. They envision a future in which the iSchool Movement has spread around the world, and the information field is widely recognized for creating innovative systems and designing information solutions that benefit individuals, organizations, and society; where iSchool graduates will fill the personnel and leadership needs of organizations of all types and sizes; and their areas of research and inquiry will attract strong support and have profound impacts on society and on the formulation of policy from local to international levels.

In the motivation for the application for membership, Prof Fourie said, “Joining the iSchool Organization will offer all three departments in SIT a spectrum of rich global opportunities to learn from other departments across the world, to keep in touch about trending topics discussed at the annual conference, to share in experimentation with innovative teaching practices, and to gain from industry connections and experiences in ensuring teaching and education relevant to the needs of industry and society. In addition, we are looking forward to extend our connections with global leaders in our respective disciplines and to enhance our global connections and interaction with fellow academics and researchers. We can learn much from the diversity of topics covered at the annual iSchool conferences and especially those that differ from our own programmes. Our doctoral students will benefit from an additional forum to showcase their work and to gain from expert mentors. We hope that sharing our own expertise would not only raise the profiles of each of our three departments, but also the visibility of the University of Pretoria. The internationalisation of educational programs, research connections and collaboration are core to the vision of the University of Pretoria to be a leading research-intensive university."