Professor Sarojini Nadar


4. Mentorship and Support of Postgraduate Students

“Researching and presenting papers is important, but converting those papers for publication is a skill. Not only did Prof. Nadar publish at least 4 papers out of her research, she was also able to mentor her students for publication in a special issue of the Journal of Constructive Theology: Gender, Religion and Theology in Africa (2010, 16:2) which was based on the theme of the 2010 conference in Oslo ”
Prof. Jone Salamonsen, University of Oslo.

In 2012, I, together with my colleague, Isabel Phiri, introduced writing workshops for postgraduate students to enable them to publish their research. The full details of these workshops are provided in Appendices C1 and B5. Below an excerpt from a student’s reflection best describes my practice of mentoring type of teaching:

Prof. Nadar’s style of teaching is engaging and enabling. Within each step of the workshop, there was a teaching on a particular subject, which could be responded to. These areas included a thorough analysis and teaching of what an abstract is and what it must include, the structure of the article and how to isolate what information to include and focus on, among other things. After each teaching, the participating students put what they had learnt into practice, so for example; after the workshop on abstracts, each student wrote the abstract for the article which they intended to write. These drafts were then projected, one at a time, onto a big screen, and were edited and critiqued by the entire group. This process was incredibly helpful – both when it was our article being reviewed as well as when we were looking at another’s – as we learnt to look more objectively at our own work. Common mistakes were highlighted and we were shown how to recognise what it was that we should be aware of or what we were aiming for within our articles. This process was then repeated a number of times with the body of the articles themselves. Another benefit from this approach was the introduction to the peer review system which the journal’s editors utilise, as well as offering many of us students who haven’t published before, the confidence to submit our articles.

The entire workshop was an interactive experience under the facilitation of Prof. Nadar. Any contributions and queries were welcome, and were responded to. Prof. Nadar’s professionalism, insight, guidance and encouraging nature allowed for the discussion to move freely, yet productively. Her breadth and depth of knowledge across all the disciplines meant that she was able to provide constructive criticism and give helpful suggestions to each of the students – despite their vast array of interests and subject matter. Prof. Nadar also drew in other experts who are outside of the field of theology to offer different insight and give helpful suggestions during the workshop. This provided refreshing perspectives and useful research suggestions (Masters Student: Alice Fabian – APPENDIX B5).

Full details of students who have published under my mentorship appear in my CV, but I cite a few examples here:

  1. Elizabeth Getman and Sarojini Nadar. 2013. Natality and Motherism: Embodiment within a Praxis of Spiritual Leadership. Journal for the Study of Religion, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2013 pgs 59-73.  
  2. Mutale Kaunda and Sarasvathie Reddy. 2013. Pedagogies of Subservience? A Feminist Exploration of the Institution of Imbusa among the Bemba, Journal of Gender and Religion in Africa Vol. 19 No. 2. Special Issue (Nov 2013) pgs 119-139
  3. Phumzile Zondi-Mabizela. 2010. “Seducer, Victim or Agent? A Gendered Reading of Bathsheba’s Story (2 Samuel 11:1-27) in the Context of HIV and AIDS.” Journal of Constructive Theology: Gender and Religion in Africa. Issue 16.1. Pages 48-63 
  4. Albert Bangirana and Sarasvathie Reddy. 2013. Sexuality, Students and Surveillance: Catholic Moral Teachings on HIV within a Higher Education Context. Journal of Gender and Religion in Africa Vol. 19 No. 2. Special Issue (Nov 2013), pages 87 – 104

In addition to supporting students through teaching, I also help to support students through scholarship programmes. In 2012, I was able to secure funding from the Church of Sweden and SIDA (Swedish Development Aid) to support a group of 10 Masters students in a pilot programme within the Gender and Religion Programme at the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (See APPENDIX C7). The first cohort of these students graduated in 2013, and we expect an annual cohort of 10 students graduating until 2017.

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