UCT has launched a new initiative aimed at addressing the paucity of senior black academics. Consisting of a cohort of 34 members, the Next Generation Professoriate initiative will ensure that the pipeline to transform the professoriate is expanded and accelerated.
UCT's Next Generation Professoriate project will not promote diversity just for the sake of it, said Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price at its launch.
“The initiative is about ensuring we have role models that will inspire aspiration in students as well as creating a more inclusive environment for all academic staff.”
This pilot project will advance the development of mid-career academics, particularly black and female staff. It will ensure that the pipeline to transform the professoriate is expanded and accelerated.
It forms part of the Recruitment, Development and Retention Programme (RDR), which will furnish academic staff with greater clarity in their career paths and provide targeted support to help them succeed.
The 34 cohort members were selected by their faculties according to a number of criteria, including applicants' track record, strategic faculty goals and the university's equity targets. The members are:
Engineering & the Built Environment
A key feature of the programme is the identification of a career path with clearly defined milestones. The programme will initiate and support a triangular relationship between the cohort member, the head of department and a mentor in the form of a senior academic whose contribution will be elevated and formalised.
Further features include teaching relief and small research grants awarded to cohort members on a competitive basis. There will be writing workshops and one annual writing retreat. They will also have access to conference travel funding.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Francis Petersen explained that the programme involved the co-ordination – not centralisation – of already existing initiatives.
“The RDR programme looks at the extent to which we can co-ordinate existing programmes better to leverage the economies of scale,” he said.
Professor Robert Morrell, who is leading the Next Generation Professoriate initiative, referred to the cohort as the “mid-career promise of UCT and its senior staff”, adding that he was confident that everyone involved would deliver on this promise.
Read the cohort members' bios.
Read more about the RDR programme in the September edition of the Monday Monthly.
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The Next Generation Professoriate (NGP) is a mid-career academic staff development and support programme. Funded by the vice-chancellor’s Strategic Funds, the NGP addresses demographic inequalities in the academic hierarchy. The goal is to help members become associate and full professors.
The NGP was officially launched in September 2015. By the end of 2018, four of its members had been promoted to full professor and a further 14 had reached the rank of associate professor.
The programme is led by Dr Robert Morrell, who has over 35 years of academic experience in South African universities. He has a B1-rating from the the National Research Foundation (NRF) and is an elected member of the Academy of Sciences in South Africa.