The Ife Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS), which recently held its sixth Summer Institute, with the theme: ‘The Future of the Academy: Skills for Transformative Pedagogy, Theory and Practice,’ has pledged to train and equip promising African scholars with skills, competencies and values that will place them at the cutting edge of scholarship and knowledge production.
The Institute will continue to invest in a new generation of scholars, who will be globally visible and locally relevant. The Institute encourages African scholars to seize the opportunity to engage new methods and innovative research and challenge existing paradigms.”
This was contained in the communiqué issued at the end of the sixth Summer Institute, which was attended by many scholars, including Vice Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Prof. Simeon Adebayo Bamire; former OAU VC, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, professors and facilitators, past and current fellows, drawn from the Humanities, Social Sciences and the Sciences.
In his opening remarks, the convener, Prof. Jacob Olupona of Harvard University, U.S.A. noted that IIAS is committed to ensuring that fellows flourish and thrive both inside and outside the academy.
He noted that this year’s institute was focused on ensuring that fellows gain the necessary skills required to translate their degrees into meaningful and gainful employment.
In his keynote address, titled African-centered Episteme and the study of African Societies: Endeavors in Research, Scholarship, and Public Policy, Prof. Olufemi Vaughn challenged a new generation of African and Africanist scholars to reflect more intentionally on how African centered knowledge might complement academic training in conventional academic disciplines so that they can respond effectively to the experiences of African societies.
He stated that there is a need to excavate new knowledge by carefully reflecting on African experiences in the study of African societies.
He noted that as we continue to engage in the study of African societies, African scholars should be more intentional in how they merge research and scholarship derived from conventional academic disciplines including in the arts, humanities, stem field and social sciences with concrete objectives of actionable public policy that can have positive transformative consequences in African societies.
The goal of IIAS is to facilitate and foster innovative research among young scholars in the academy, particularly those in the humanities and social sciences, by exposing them to relevant theories, discourses, methods, and pedagogies.
This year, the Institute hosted 54 fellows from 11 countries around the world; 15 of the fellows attended in-person in Nigeria, while 38 joined online from the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and other countries in Africa including Ethiopia, Ghana, Angola, Kenya and Algeria.
During the two weeks of the Summer Institute, participants explored various rich topics under the general rubric of the theme—The Future of the Academy. Among the topics covered were:- “Paradoxes and Promises of Interdisciplinary research for tomorrow’s academy”, “Academic Excellence: Standards vs. Practice”, “STEM and the Humanities: Collaborations for Pedagogical Transformation”, “Interrogating the Global Epistemic Division of Labour: Between Theory and Data”, “Finding Your Voice: Elevator Speeches and the Self-Pitch”,”Postdoctoral experience: Academic Writing and Research, “Evolving Learning and Teaching: Decolonizing the Curriculum”“, “Theory-driven research: publishing in Academia”, “Radical Pan-African and Feminist Intellectual Traditions: New Synergies,” “Postcolonial Studies: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, “Ensuring Sustainable Development Through research and technology,” “Service in the academy: Heading Departments, Committee Appointments and working with administration,” “Funding research: writing successful grant applications”, “Putting yourself out there: Networking tips and tricks,” Catalyzing ideas and strategy building: conceptual skill building and critical thinking, “Critical thinking for the future of the humanities,” “Advertising your research: the art of abstract,” writing among others.