The Next Generation Professoriate (NGP) cohort recently gathered at Zevenwacht for a writing retreat a year after its previous visit. In March 2020 the writing retreat was held a couple of weeks before a National State of Disaster was declared and a lockdown due to COVID-19 inaugurated. A memorable year has passed, but enthusiasm levels at the retreat were as high as ever.
The retreat followed the usual format, with NGP members arriving on the Monday morning and beginning work in the conference area at Zevenwacht, which has spectacular views of Table Mountain and False Bay and allows easy social distancing for participants.
The traditional morning run included Frank Matose, Robert Morrell and Zarina Patel. The route includes a lot of gravel roads and hill climbs between the vines. Nosipho Mzenzi of Zevenwacht knows the routines well and is always available to sort out small difficulties and calm turbulent waters.
We were fortunate to be joined by former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) for Transformation Professor Loretta Feris – the first time that a DVC has joined the cohort for a writing retreat.
Here are some impressions of the retreat from those who attended.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to have attended the retreat and I am looking forward to the next one and the consequent boost in my productivity.”
The atmosphere of the writing retreat was light and playful, yet productive. And everybody was very happy to see old friends again.
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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.