Growing the next generation of academics at Rhodes
The need for universities to ensure that a future generation of academics is developed to serve higher education into the future is addressed through two Accelerated Development Programmes, one funded by the Mellon Foundation and the other by the Kresge Foundation. The University received $1 000 000 from the Mellon Foundation in 2001 and a further $600 000 in 2008. The Mellon Programme has been running for ten years. Centre staff members, Drs Vorster and Quinn coordinate the programme which pairs young academics up with more experienced mentors and which ensures that they have a reduced teaching load as they work towards further qualifications.
To date 23 lecturers have been selected to participate in the Programme. Of the 23, thirteen lecturers have been appointed to permanent positions at Rhodes. Some of the other lecturers who participated on the Programme are contributing to South Africa’s development in a range of different ways, for example at other South African universities, NGOs and government departments. In 2012 a further two lecturers will be recruited for Mellon lectureships using the interest accrued on the funding received from the Mellon Foundation.
In 2009 the University received $ 900 000 from the Kresge Foundation for the appointment of 8 lecturers on 3 year contracts. In 2010 two appointments were made and in 2011 three lecturers were appointed. In 2012 a further three lecturers will be recruited. The Kresge Programme will function in the same way as the Mellon Programme and will also be co-ordinated by CHERTL staff members, Drs Quinn and Vorster.
As a result of experience gained from co-ordinating these programmes, Dr Vorster has been involved in drafting a proposal for a national programme to develop the next generation of academics at South African universities. This proposal was submitted to the Ministers of Higher Education and Training and Science and Technology via the Higher Education South Africa (HESA) Board in early 2011. The proposal is the result of the efforts of a six-person national working group headed by Rhodes University vice-chancellor, Dr Badat, who has been tasked by HESA to work on this project. The Mellon Programme at Rhodes was used extensively as a model for the proposal to the Ministers. HESA is currently waiting for news on the outcome of the proposal.