The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reports that UMass Amherst and the University of South Africa (UNISA) have signed a memorandum of understanding that will establish a framework for future research, as well as faculty and student exchanges, between UMass and UNISA, the largest university system in Africa. The relationship between the two university systems has been nurtured by Professors David Reckhow and John Tobiason of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department.
Reckhow spent a 2011 sabbatical in South Africa, while Tobiason is the incoming head of CEE. Both professors have visited Africa many times on water-related issues.
The UMass News Office release said that this significant memo of understanding was signed on April 2 by UMass Provost and Senior Chancellor for Academic Affairs John McCarthy and Bhekie Mamba, executive dean of the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology at UNISA. The memo of understanding was the first that UNISA has signed with a North American university.
“Africa is an area where there is a lot of focus on not only resource-based needs, but social issues as well,” Reckhow said in the May 1 article from the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. “It is exciting to have this new agreement to provide multi-disciplinary opportunities for our faculty and students to work in partnership with a leading African university on global issues.”
Reckhow added that one of UNISA’s research interests is water resources, especially in the face of the severe drought conditions the country has experienced in recent years.
“We want to partner with UNISA so we can participate in helping them tackle a global problem,” Reckhow said. (May 2019)