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.
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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