Launch of the PEEP research leadership programme at UWC
In June 2022, the University of the Western Cape launched its mid-career research leadership programme called PEEP (Purpose, Equipping, Environment and People). The program focuses on developing mid-career researchers to move their career forward and position themselves as the next generation of research leaders. The program is driven by the DVC Prof José Frantz and is being implemented as part of the UCDG grant and monitored by our leadership niche champion Prof Marieta du Plessis and a team of facilitators with varying coaching and leadership skills both internal and external to the university. The program is a year long program with 4 key modules mainly; (1) Purpose: getting participants to own their space. (2) Equipping: providing participants with skills in self & relationship management, through peer coaching. (3) Environment: getting participants to understand and analyze the context of support leadership effectiveness. (4) People: enabling participants to influence others through applying knowledge and skills. As part of the program participants were nominated by their faculties and each participant has access to a life coach and an academic mentor for the period.
Following the end of the first module that focused on the participants getting to understand themselves and others through a colour profile and 360 degree feedback, the following insights were shared:
Prof. Kenechukwu Obikeze (Science): “It’s been an amazing programme. It has allowed me to discover and understand myself much better. It has also allowed me to understand others much better, and in understanding people and their different personalities. Based on those differences, I now know how to motivate, approach, guide and mentor. I’m definitely going to take all the tips from this workshop to use when I’m mentoring my students. It gives me the tools to lead better.”
Dr. Meron Okbandrias (EMS): “This programme is about knowing yourself and in leadership you need to manage yourself, so the one cannot be done without the other. The skills this workshop teaches you is quite useful. If you are wanting to grow within an organisation you need to have leadership skills. Also, when it comes to the operations of the organisation. It’s important to have a leader with the right skills, to manage the organisation very well. It does not only help for myself but also to manage others effectively.”
Dr. Razia Adams (Dentistry): “I believe that we are all leaders and do not need a title to be a leader. However, we need to aspire to develop as leaders. This is the type of workshop that is going to make the transition easier to the next level, but also expose me to some of the opportunities for development. I don’t want to go unarmed; I want to be prepared in order to excel. It will accelerate your trajectory.”
Dr. Nosisi Dlamini (Education): “Firstly, this leadership programme has provided me with a platform to learn from, and alongside my colleagues. Secondly, it has provided me with the experience of journeying to get to know myself. It has given me a sense of discovery and a new lens. I have discovered my purpose as an academic and how it aligns with the institutional goals. I feel empowered and purpose-driven. I highly recommend this programme to everyone, not only academics. Academic life is a journey, rather than a destination, as there is always more to learn and discover as we journey this road”.
Prof Frantz emphasised that leadership programs aim to empower others so that they have the knowledge and skills to pay it forward. In conclusion, we can identify that there has been an immense impact made on these individuals and this is only the beginning of the workshop. This feedback shows that workshops such as this; builds character, grows individuals holistically and invests in future leaders. Creating effective leaders for a better tomorrow. As part of our reach into Africa, the program will also be rolled out at universities in Botswana, Kenya and Zambia.
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