Professor Betty Mubangizi’s valuable contribution to the research ethos of the College of Law and Management Studies has earned her a National Research Foundation (NRF) rating.
The rating is awarded to researchers who have been identified as leaders in their fields of expertise in recognition of their constant high quality research outputs taking into consideration the evaluation made by local and international peers.
For Mubangizi, being awarded the C-rating after going through the rigorous application process which involved an independent team of highly regarded academics from local and international institutions carefully reviewing her submission, was a great achievement.
‘The rating came as a pleasant surprise but not an unexpected one for I have worked to attain academic excellence ever since I joined the then University of Durban-Westville14 years ago,’ said Mubangizi. ‘As a late entrant into academia, I was acutely aware that my progress would be an uphill battle. However, I was also aware of the various support mechanisms that were on offer by the newly established University of KwaZulu-Natal.
‘Not only did I receive a doctoral grant which assisted with my doctoral studies, I was also fortunate to obtain a Thuthuka Grant on completion of my doctorate. There is something about research funding, however little, that tends to boost a junior researcher’s confidence propelling them to greater heights – so it was with me,’ said Mubangizi.
Apart from the NRF rating, Mubangizi’s recent highlights include guest editing the Loyola Journal of Social Sciences (Volume 27 (1)) a multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed biannual journal which is published by The Loyola College of Social Sciences in India.
She was part of the high powered panel consisting of Deputy President Mr Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC provincial Chairperson and KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Mr Senzo Mchunu, which reflected on Mandela’s legacy in a political discussion hosted by the African National Congress (ANC) at Durban’s City Hall in July as part of a series of activities conducted by the national and provincial structures of the political party’s Mandela Day tributes.
Mubangizi also received an NRF Research Grant early this year which will run for a three-year cycle and will, in part, fund two PhD students and at least three Masters Students from the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance.
One of the projects under Mubangizi’s multi-faceted research will focus on Folweni Township – a peri urban township on the outskirts of eThekwini municipality. The research focuses on the niche area of sustainable livelihoods, community development and local governance within rural and peri-urban areas.
The research is informed by her passion for social justice, community-based solutions to social issues and the effects of responsive private and public institutional contribution to sustainable livelihoods. It started with her doctorate that focused on pro-poor service delivery.
For Mubangizi being recognised as one of UKZN’s prolific researchers is motivation to continue working hard and helping others along the way.
‘Currently I am on top of the proverbial “great hill’’ and while the view is good, I cannot rest for long for, as Mandela reminds us, “there are other hills to climb”.
‘As I climb and seek other vistas I am aware that “to whom a lot is given – much is expected’’. I will thus continue supporting other young academics by helping them publish their work through the Loyola Journal of Social Sciences for which I regularly serve as guest Editor. I will also continue to source funding for my students – I am currently funding 2 Masters and 2 PhD students – and I will continue to supervise postgraduate students,’ she said.
College Dean of Research, Professor Marita Carnelley said the College was proud of Mubangizi for achieving this milestone.
‘To have been rated as an “established researcher”, to use the NRF terminology, means that her academic peers recognised that she has a sustained recent record of productivity; a coheret quality body of work that attests to ongoing engagement within her field and a demonstrated ability to conceptualise problems and apply research methods to investigating these problems.
‘In addition, she is a real asset to the College and the School of MIG as a complete academic. Not only is she a strong researcher as her rating shows, but she is also an excellent teacher and effective supervisor with strong administrative and managerial skills. On top of all that, she also works incredibly hard,’ she said.