The Next Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) simply deals with the need for universities to ensure that a future generation of academics is developed to serve higher education into the future.
Four lecturers were placed at four Rhodes University departments in 2017 as part of the national Department of Higher Education & Training funded nGAP. They are placed in Accounting, Education, Economics and the Sociology department. Each early career academic is paired with an experienced mentor due for retirement within six years.
The young lecturers are given a 20% teaching load that increases up to 100% while they pursue their PhDs over an extended period of six years. In 2016, as part of phase one, Rhodes University was allocated three posts in the Geography, Information Systems and Zoology departments.
Dr Mandy Hlengwa is the coordinator of this initiative and lectures in the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) at Rhodes University. She has worked in the field of higher education as an academic developer for more than a decade.
She sees her contribution to the field of higher education studies emerging from curriculum development concerns and her interests are underpinned by her commitment to the transformation agenda of higher education.
“The nGAP targets black, coloured and Indian women and men. There are other developmental opportunities organised at national level by DHET for the lecturers to participate in. However the bulk of developmental opportunities are placed at institutional level and rely on what already exists or what the nGAP co-ordinator organises for the group,” said Hlengwa.
The final cohort of this round of funding will be welcomed in 2018 in the Education, Journalism and Media studies and Politics departments, bringing the total to ten posts at Rhodes University.
nGAP is part of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)’s Staffing South Africa’s Universities Framework (SSAUF) which is a response to university staffing challenges.
DHET has made an initial investment of three cohorts of nGAP lecturers. All public institutions are allocated nGAP posts, the number varies per institution. Lecturers are appointed as permanent members of staff of the university with a reduced workload so that they can focus on the academic qualification. They are required to have minimum a Masters qualification.
Desidre’s earliest memory of Rhodes University is of her sitting in her brother’s office reading a book about one’s life purpose and dreaming about being a part of the Accounting department’s Thuthuka programme.
The Chartered Accountant had just left a lucrative job as an assistant manager in Auditing for internationally acclaimed audit firm, PriceWaterCoopers after a five-year stint. She had also just returned from working as an auditor for six months in Boston, USA. Read more: Desidre Coompasmay
It is often argued that agricultureis the biggest source of employment in rural areas,and it is the key to a successfuleconomy. However, South Africa has fallen short of utilising this age-old industry to dig rural communities out of abject poverty.
Sandie Phakathi is a young scholar from KwaZulu Natal who has pledged her academic life to finding innovative ideas, interrogating existing models and ensuring that the agricultural industry becomes lucrative for both big and small farmers. Read more: Sandie Phakathi
Mthatha born sociologist, Thoko Sipungu has come a long way from being a candidate attorney in the province known as the breadbasket of the country; the Free State. After a year of practising Law, he was convinced that it was not a field for him; instead, he chose a serene office in the intimate Sociology department, once a space of learning for the 28-year old.
Thoko obtained a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Laws (LLB) as well as his Master of Arts (MA) in Sociology at Rhodes University. When he relocated back to Grahamstown, he worked as a Human Settlements researcher for the Public Service Accountability Monitor unit based at the University. Read more: Thoko Sipungu
Nkosikhona Sean Nkosi
Nkosi considers education as an enthralling series of ‘Aha moments’ that turn out to be epic for both a student and a teacher.
“The idea of new information, a new way of thinking and an alternative explanation being introduced to the brain for the first time. The processing, relating to information, and eventually deciding to absorb and make use of it; that is where my passion for education lies,” he enthused. Read more: Nkosikhona Sean Nkosi
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