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29 October 2022
The PEEP leadership programme moves to Bloemfontein
Developing the next generation of leaders for higher education is key to the sustainability of the sector. A mid-career leadership development programme initiated by colleagues at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), called PEEP (Purpose, Equip, Environment, People), has been rolled out at UWC, at a university in Botswana, and has now been expanded to Bloemfontein in the Free State.

The programme is driven by the DVC of Research & Innovation, Professor José Frantz. It is being implemented as part of the UCDG grant and monitored by UWC leadership niche champion, Professor Marieta du Plessis, and a team of facilitators with varying coaching and leadership skills, both internal and external to the university.

The University continues to empower its students, staff and partners to advance its mission of serving the greater public good and searching for humane and sustainable solutions to the challenges of our time. This is pursued through high academic standards, intellectual rigour, productive partnerships, and networks beyond disciplinary and geographic boundaries. Prof Frantz often highlights that “Collaboration should be our goal, not to compete” - one of the values underpinning UWC. 

Participants at the Central University of Technology, Bloemfontein were nominated by their faculties. The response from participants was overwhelmingly positive. 

A participant from Management Sciences’ Department of Accounting and Auditing said: “It was very insightful and I really learned a lot. The facilitators were all very knowledgeable and this allowed for a great exchange of information.”. Another noted that: “This workshop was probably the most self-enlightening workshop that I attended” - (a participant from the Faculty of Engineering, Department of Electrical). Finally, a participant from the Department of Communication Sciences stated that “the workshop was developmental and a self-discovery experience”.
Some feedback was received from the PEEP facilitators from UWC about their experience of presenting at the Central University of Technology (CUT).
The PEEP facilitators in Bloemfontein were: Dr Carel Jansen Van Vuuren,
Pearl Erasmus and Professor Marieta du Plessis

On the relevance of self-awareness within the workshop facilitator, Pearl Erasmus noted that: “On days two and three the language started to change from ‘them’ to ‘us’, indicating a shift when taking responsibility for what is happening, or not happening, at CUT”. 

Prof Du Plessis noted: “Whilst there was some initial hesitation from the participants, by lunchtime of the first day the atmosphere changed. Participants were keen to interact, engaged in exercises, and shared their struggles and successes. By day four we parted as friends. My experience is that the participants had a deep sense of gratitude for our willingness to share our experiences and learn from them. I also think it changed their opinion about UWC”.

Dr Carel Jansen Van Vuuren, another facilitator said: “There was an acute appreciation for the self-awareness component of the PEEP programme, and many participants expressed this sentiment explicitly. The impact of the programme offered is much needed. Not only at CUT but around Africa and the rest of the world!” 

Moving across South Africa and Africa with the PEEP programme is the vision of Prof Frantz as she aims to equip the higher education sector with change agents as leaders. 
The participants of the PEEP programme at the University of Bloemfontein gather for a photo
Images courtesy Office of the DVC: Research and Innovation