Next Generation Professoriate updates

31 March 2020 | Story Robert Morrell. Photo Nadia Pheiffer. Read time 4 min.
NGP members at a recent writing retreat at Zevenwacht. A much smaller than usual turnout testified to the effects of the coronavirus and calls for limited work gatherings.
NGP members at a recent writing retreat at Zevenwacht. A much smaller than usual turnout testified to the effects of the coronavirus and calls for limited work gatherings.

On 1 January 2020, eight Next Generation Professoriate (NGP) members, formerly senior lecturers at the University of Cape Town (UCT), were promoted to associate professors.

Associate Professor Bongi Bangeni of the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED) described her journey to promotion. Associate Professor Lydia Cairncross from the Department of Surgery in the Faculty of Health Sciences talked about family legacies and balancing research, clinical work and activism. Associate Professor Aneesa Vanker from the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences shared with readers how she successfully navigated life’s challenges, personal and professional, to advance in her career.

The Future Professors Programme

Two UCT staff members were selected for membership of the Future Professors Programme (FPP). They have also become associate members of NGP. The FPP is the creation of the Department of Higher Education and Training and part of its University Capacity Development Plan. It is a funded programme designed to support mid-career staff based at all South African public universities to achieve elevation to the rank of professor.

The FPP is in its pilot phase and is based at the University of Stellenbosch under the leadership of Professor Jonathan Jansen. It hosts three-day workshops five times a year, each dedicated to a particular theme and involving high-level input from nationally regarded academics. The first workshop was held in Stellenbosch from 27 to 29 February – the next one is scheduled for May and will be held in Pretoria.

Respective journeys

NGP members are constantly travelling, creating links with the past and opening up new avenues of enquiry.

Dr Jabulani Ncayiyana from the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the School of Public Health and Family Medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences described his experience of the first workshop as “exceeding all expectations”. He recounted how he has found an academic home at UCT, starting from humble beginnings in the rural village of Ngunjini in southern KwaZulu-Natal.

Dr Elaine Govender-Opitz from the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment (EBE) began her journey in the lush surroundings of KwaZulu-Natal as part of a very large family and traced her education and career via industry to an academic position at UCT.

Associate Professor Sylvia Bruinders from the African Music and Ethnomusicology in the Faculty of Humanities recently undertook a research visit to Lesotho on a quest to uncover indigenous music history and hear local musical instruments being played.

Associate Professor Emese Bordy from geological sciences brought to light the fascinating history of dinosaurs in the Karoo at a time when the earth was heating up – a process that would ultimately spell the end of the dinosaurs.

Yumna Albertus from the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine and Amir Patel from the Department of Electrical Engineering are collaborating to develop innovative equipment that measures human movement. The Novel Force Plate reflects the engineering expertise of Patel’s and Albertus’s research on physical rehabilitation, especially among people who have experienced serious physical trauma. Being able to accurately and cheaply measure human movement is a major advance, and testimony to the power of collaboration.

Shari Daya from the School of Environmental and Geographical Sciences explored how the Geography curriculum can be decolonised. She entered current debates by suggesting that postcolonial theory, which emphasises history, context and fluidity is a resource that could help this process.

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