Academic Career Advancement Programme (ACAP)

Prepare for a career in academia through a year-long series of seminars.

The programme allows candidates to explore key aspects of academic life, build interdisciplinary relationships with academics across the University, and get a head start in the academic job market.

Applications for 2025 will open in August 2024.

There is a competitive selection process where priority is given to mid-phase doctoral students who have completed their provisional goals. Due to the high number of applications, meeting these criteria does not guarantee you a place.

Tuition is funded by the Academic Career Advancement Award.

Please note:

  • Your supervisor will need to endorse your application, and will be notified when you apply for the programme.
  • Due to limited availability, participants will only be accepted into either the Academic Career Advancement Programme (ACAP) or the Doctoral Entrepreneurial Leadership Programme (DELP).

Programme structure

The ACAP has two major elements:

  • Orientation Morning is an opportunity for participants to get to know each other. Held during Orientation Week, it provides an introduction to the programme and prepares participants for their role in the regular seminars.
  • Regular seminars are co-facilitated by participants and cover key aspects of academic careers such as research, teaching and professionalism. Where relevant, careers external to academia will also be discussed.

Dates and location

Orientation Morning is held on the Wednesday of Orientation Week. Seminars are held on alternate Wednesdays from 1-4pm. 

Venue: Kate Edger Information Commons, City Campus

2024 programme

Participants must be prepared to attend all seminars and co-facilitate a seminar on one of the topics listed below.

Orientation: Planning your ACAP year – Wednesday 21 February (9am-1pm)

Meet other ACAP participants, get an introduction to the programme, and prepare for your role in the regular seminars.

Presentation skills – Wednesday 28 February (1-4pm)

Giving a great presentation is key to getting your message across in a variety of both academic and industry contexts.

Becoming an academic – Wednesday 13 March (1-4pm)

Get started in academia with confidence. We will discuss adapting to the University environment as an early career academic and examine resources that will help you to plan your entry pathway.

Academic citizenship – Wednesday 27 March (1-4pm) 

Engaging with opportunities to be an active citizen of your institution and the wider educational community can be rewarding. Explore the University as an organisation, including its structure (departments, faculties and centrally) and the purpose of committees. Understanding the key policies that impact on research and teaching is essential for maintaining academic integrity.

Student engagement – Wednesday 17 April (1-4pm)

When students are engaged in learning, their focus and motivation increases. Discuss ways to develop meaningful learning experiences in a variety of environments: small classes, large lectures and online spaces. Explore the impact of assessment methods on student engagement.

Innovation in teaching – Wednesday 1 May (1-4pm)

Educators innovate teaching practices to improve student learning outcomes. What is innovation in teaching and why is it important? How can teachers and students create innovative learning spaces? How can we look at teaching problems differently in order to solve them? What does the future hold for learning? 

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning – Wednesday 15 May (1-4pm)

Understanding how to research your teaching will improve your practice and contribute to the growing field called the Scholarship of Learning and Teaching (SoTL). Explore the SoTL process of researching teaching and learning within the disciplines and learn how to develop questions that can be researched. 

The teaching profile and evidence – Wednesday 29 May (1-4pm)

Now is the time to begin developing your teaching profile. Discuss approaches to developing an academic CV and a teaching profile that will underpin applications for employment and promotion. Understanding the impact of teaching is essential for student success. Therefore, a key element of the teaching profile will be the evidence that shows the impact of your teaching. Explore methods for gathering that evidence and writing it up.

Getting research funding – Wednesday 17 July (1-4pm)

Securing research funding is a challenging but crucial part of being a researcher, so we’ll explore the process for early career researchers. We will cover identifying funding opportunities, knowing when to apply, creating a funding plan, identifying a mentor and/or collaborators, the keys to writing a successful application and what to do if your application is rejected.

Getting published – Wednesday 31 July (1-4pm)

Writing and publishing a journal article is about to get a whole lot easier! Understand the review process, the role of journal editors and reviewers, and how to respond to reviewers’ comments. Identify the most appropriate journals for your research area and the potential resulting impact on your research profile. 

Broader dissemination of research – Wednesday 14 August (1-4pm)

Disseminating your research to a wider audience can provide opportunities for collaboration. Explore strategies for networking and presenting at international forums, engaging with the public through media and social media, and partnering with government, iwi and industry. 

The research profile and evidence – Wednesday 11 September (1-4pm)

Now is the time to begin developing your research profile. It will underpin your applications for employment, funding and PBRF (Performance Based Research Fund) reporting. Explore strategies for developing a long-term research plan for academic and industry-based careers and for contributing to the wider research environment.

Career planning – Wednesday 25 September (1-4pm)

To ensure success, you need a plan. What does the job market look like for PhDs? How do you go about getting the job you want? Explore ways of representing yourself well in applications for postdocs or for academic, professional or industry jobs.

Reflection and graduation – Wednesday 9 October (1-4pm)

There are many other career development opportunities across the University which doctoral candidates can participate in. To find out more, visit Career Development and Employability Services.