Promotion Workshop Gives Advice on How to Get Ahead
Several workshops to assist College of Health Sciences (CHS) staff understand the processes involved in academic promotions were held recently by Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the CHS, Professor Rob Slotow.
Although the promotions process could sometimes be long and confusing, participants were nevertheless reassured that through ongoing mentorship and coaching they could achieve “upward trajectory” in their careers.
Academic promotions recognise one’s academic standing and hence all academics are encouraged to apply.
However, the daunting process of demonstrating performance, leadership, scholarship and excellence or strength, accompanied by misinformation and a possible lack of sufficient guidance, were a deterrent to many academics.
Slotow encouraged participants to maintain a balance for what was relevant locally but had global impact. ‘Benchmark yourself against esteemed professors in your discipline who are publishing as a guide for you to determine which are the most suitable journals to publish in. Discover whose papers are most cited and who is citing them? Try to improve your average impact factor each year,’ he said.
Slotow also encouraged participants to produce their teaching portfolios (TPs) in advance, emphasising that the teaching portfolio ‘is aligned with what we do as academics, and hence it allows an academic to express themselves in line with what is expected. The TP allows one to describe their philosophy of teaching, methods used, assessments which can be formative and summative as well as include feedback both from undergraduate and postgraduate students,’ he said.
‘One can then reflect on success, emphasise areas of strength, and build up areas of weakness, leading to well-rounded and satisfying teaching and learning experiences.’
One of the most important aspects of the promotions assessment criteria is the matching of the candidate’s statement to the evidence provided both in the portfolio and in the curriculum vitae. Slotow’s advice was that academics should produce a balanced portfolio, and credentialing staff should also ensure that their supervisors were consulted for advice and mentorship. ‘Supervisors should be a partner in your development. This relationship doesn’t end with your PhD.’
Enthused participants left the workshop feeling reassured about the process and thankful for the ongoing mentorship and support offered by their DVC.
Mrs Tivani Mashamba-Thompson of the Discipline of Public Health commented: ‘As a Developmental Lecturer who is approaching completion of my PhD and looking forward to promotion, I felt that the promotion workshop was useful. I have learnt about different strategies that one can use to gather evidence needed to put together a teaching portfolio to demonstrate my level of competency during the promotion application.’