In 2015 the University of Cape Town (UCT) launched an initiative to advance the development of black academics and to ensure the university expands and accelerates the pipeline to transform the professoriate. The Recruitment, Development and Retention programme (RDR) is an umbrella for a number of constituent initiatives that aims to furnish academic staff with greater clarity in their career paths and provide targeted support to help them to succeed.
The New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) was initiated in 2015 by the DHET and at the beginning of 2016, UCT appointed its first nGAP lecturers. nGAP is an early-career academic initiative that at UCT links with the Emerging Researcher Programme (ERP) based in the Research Office. Ordinarily, early-career academics are appointed at the assistant (junior) lecturer or lecturer levels. Mid-career academics are generally understood to be at the senior lecturer and associate professor levels. The Next Generation Professoriate (NGP) provides support for academics in these positions, particularly black and female UCT staff. Dr Robert Morrell, based in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, is responsible for both programmes.
The RDR will initially focus on these two cohorts, though in time the plan is to roll out the programme to benefit all academics.
Another of the areas of engagement is the ad hominem promotion process. The intention is, where possible, to increase trust and confidence in the objectivity and fairness of these committees and processes. One element is to make the committees more representative in terms of rank, gender and race. The criteria for promotion will also be outlined more clearly. The mentoring programmes described above will work to ensure that academics on the promotion ladders have a clear understanding of what they need to do to gain promotion, and that they are given the opportunities to achieve these goals.
As part of the RDR programme, the support programmes for academics, such as the New Academics Practitioner Programme (NAPP), the Emerging Researcher Programme (ERP) and the Programme for the Enhancement of Research Capacity (PERC), would be revisited to see where improvements could be made.