Andiswa Mfengu: New nGAP associate

22 October 2019 | Story Andiswa Mfengu. Photo Provided. Read time 3 min.
Andiswa Mfengu
Andiswa Mfengu

I am a lecturer in the Department of Knowledge and Information Stewardship. Before joining the Faculty of Humanities at the beginning of 2019, I worked at UCT Libraries for a few years as a librarian for Commerce, and Science and Engineering.

I was born and bred in Cala in the Eastern Cape, the first born of five girls. Growing up in a small town I always dreamed of being a medical doctor because there were just so few and thus doctors were regarded as the gods. Growing up I was inspired by my mom who always said, “Andiswa, remember your little sisters are looking up to you.” Back then I thought this was unfair, but now I am grateful as it motivated me.

I did my primary and junior school in Cala Community School then went to St James, in Confimvaba, where I got my matric (they had one of the best matric results in the district). After I came to UCT, I did my undergraduate studies in molecular and cell biology (specialising in biochemistry and microbiology). In my final year I became aware that I preferred to work with people more than being in a laboratory, so I changed faculties and moved to humanities.

My journey in Library and Information Science (LIS) began with a postgraduate diploma, a master’s degree and currently I am pursuing my PhD in LIS. As a librarian I assisted researchers with funding and ad-hominem applications, which required researchers to show evidence of the impact that their research is making. I got a bit frustrated as a lot of the criteria focused on quantitative indicators (citations, h-index etc). These indicators are limited because they only focus on what is captured in international bibliographic indexers (Scopus, Web of Science, etc) and ignore the fact that the impact of research goes beyond the numbers.

My current research was a result of this frustration, so all is not lost as my PhD is looking at research impact assessment in higher education institutions. The study hopes to develop a holistic framework for assessing impact, one that looks at impact not only in the academy but also beyond – societal impact. As a UCT product I feel honoured to give back and to be part of the next generation.

It is my greater pleasure to be joining the ranks of the nGAP associates; I am looking forward to being part of this excellent community of practice.

“Not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

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