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ASSOCIATION FOR
INFORMATION SYSTEMS

AIS SAAISSAC

The South African Institute for Computer Scientists and Information Technologists (SAICSIT) decided at its council meeting and business meetings in October 2011 to investigate the possibility of forming closer (formal) ties with the Association for Information Systems (AIS). After permission was obtained from the AIS, it was decided In October 2012 to actuate this decision by the chartering of a Southern African chapter of the AIS as an independent body with close ties with SAICSIT. The chapter was officially constituted at the annual SAICSIT conference on 3 October 2012, in Centurion, Tshwane. The name of the chapter is AISSAC (AIS Southern African Chapter).

AISSAC is IS-focused and its mission is to facilitate close ties with the wider IS community worldwide. It provides a platform for discussion groups and regional seminars and workshops in all areas of IS, for example HCI, E-learning, ICT4D, BI and DW, Enterprise Architecture, and the theory and philosophy of IS.

1. Summary of proposed benefits and costs (resources and dues for members)

Currently, IS forms part of Computer Science departments in many institutions in Southern Africa, and limited IS specific opportunities for networking, collaborating, reading papers and publishing articles exist locally. No other dedicated IS academic society exists in Southern Africa. Therefore, AISSAC provides an academic platform for IS academics and researchers. Membership of the AIS is required. No extra membership fees are charged for AISSAC membership, and the members of the organising body's costs are carried by their departments or institutions since the activities form part of their usual academic citizenship. AISSAC promotes the status of IS as an independent discipline in the region.

2. Background (definition of the regional area)

Southern Africa consists of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Lesotho, Swaziland, Congo, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zambia and Tanzania. Information Systems is taught at various higher education institutions in these countries, either in independent departments or as integrated units in larger computing or ICT schools. Scholars from these countries are invited to join the chapter and participate in its activities.

africa-map

 


The Republic of Angola
The Republic of Botswana
The Democratic Republic of Congo
The Kingdom of Lesotho
The Republic of Malawi
The Republic of Mauritius
The Republic of Mozambique
The Republic of Namibia
The Republic of Seychelles
The Republic of South Africa
The Kingdom of Swaziland
The United Republic of Tanzania
The Republic of Zambia
The Republic of Zimbabwe
 

Southern Africa

 

3. Positioning

SAICSIT is the main academic society for all computing disciplines (incl. IS) in South (and Southern) Africa (see http://www.saicsit.org.za/). The society is 30 years old and has its own accredited journal, The South African Computer Journal (SACJ). (See: Derrick G Kourie, The South African Computer Journal: 1989 to 2010, Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, Vol 65(2), ISSN: 2154-0098 (electronic) 0035-919X (paper), June 2010).

SAICSIT does not cater exclusively for the IS discipline, but is an umbrella organisation for Computer Science, IS, IT, Software Engineering and Hardware Engineering. More than 100 scholars attend the annual conference, and the acceptance rate is usually below 50%. Other South African societies in the field of Computer Science and Information Systems include the following:

  • The Computer Society of South Africa's (CSSA) primary focus is on industry rather than on academia.
  • IFIP is also active in South Africa, but do not organise annual local conferences in the region.
  • The Southern African Computer Lecturers Association (SACLA) focusses on aspects of teaching in all computing streams.

Only two other African chapters for the AIS exist, namely the Egyptian and Ethiopian chapters, in the northern and eastern parts of the continent. Even if the chapters for India and Morocco are included the developing world lags behind when considering the distribution of AIS chapters. Consequently, AISSAC fulfils a real need for a focussed, academic IS body in Southern Africa to promote global collaboration in IS research and teaching with IS academia in Southern Africa at the core.

4. Services offered (activities and offerings, and any dues structure proposed)

The services are aimed at providing a platform for collaboration, networking and the dissemination of IS research and teaching. AISSAC undertakes to create the following infrastructure for its members:

  • Email discussion group
  • Annual workshop/seminar, e.g. at SAICSIT (preferably with peer-reviewed proceedings in AISeL)
  • Chapter website with information on employment, collaboration and networking opportunities in IS
  • Facilitation of IS research
  • Publication opportunities in special journal issues (Special issues of established research journals, such as IT4D, SACJ and TD, may be requested and members will have the opportunity to submit articles for these issues. Members of AISSAC will be elected to serve as sub-editors of these special issues. These issues will only be open to members of AISSAC for submissions.)
  • Liaison with the AIS and its chapters
  • Newsletter on IS events such as IS seminars or lectures

The chapter is managed by its board elected at its first meeting in October according to the approved by-laws.

5. Resources needed (anticipated costs)

The chartering committee consisted of Prof Jan Kroeze, Prof Carina de Villiers, Prof Hugo Lotriet and Prof Judy van Biljon. The founding members' name are published below, and the list of members is attached.

Currently no membership fees are charged, but this does not exclude the possibility that the new society will grow and may need to introduce membership fees at a later stage. It is envisioned that other events, like specialised seminars and conferences, will be hosted in time under the umbrella of AISSAC. The informal affiliation with SAICSIT will be based on goodwill, exploring ways to strengthen each other in a synergistic way. A memorandum of understanding between the AIS and SAICSIT may be drawn up to clarify expectations.

6. Draft by-law document

The by-law document was drafted by Prof Hugo Lotriet and is published separately on the website. It has been approved by the AIS, and any changes should be negotiated via the chapter's council and the AIS.

7. Names of founding membership list

Jan Kroeze, Carina de Villiers, Hugo Lotriet, Judy van Biljon, Alta van der Merwe, Mac van der Merwe, Melius Weideman, Evan Dembskey, Manoj Maharaj, Dirk Postma, Grant Howard, Jacques Steyn, Kosheek Sewchurran, Irwin Brown, Jean-Paul Van Belle, Magda Huisman, Jacques Ophoff, Alfred Coleman, Emilia Mwim, Roxanne Piderit, Duane Boucher, Liesl Cilliers, Osden Jokonya,

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