Transformation of the Professoriate Mentoring Programme

UFS strip research

The Transformation of the Professoriate Mentoring Programme aims to grow a critical mass of excellent emerging scholars at the UFS who are equipped to assume senior academic and research positions through significant contributions to knowledge in their disciplines and increased impact on the broader societal context.

The objectives of the programme are to

  • guide and support a diverse group of emerging scholars to accelerate their scholarly development through increasing their impact and influence within and beyond the institution (globally); and
  • achieve excellent performance standards in their teaching, research, and community engagement roles.

The programme utilises a combination of capacity development strategies, peer and professional mentoring, personalised coaching, as well as access to resources to achieve academic excellence. 

The programme consists of two groups:

  1. The Future Professoriate group (five years plus post PhD, on the cusp of promotion to Associate Professor level, with a Y-rating or close to rating)
  2. The Emerging Scholar Accelerator (ESAP) group (less than five years post PhD, mostly lecturer level).

The current Future Professoriate group consists of 44 members, 15 members from the 2019 cohort of the ESAP programme, as well as 24 members of the second ESAP cohort who advanced to the Future Professoriate Programme after completing their two years in the ESAP programme successfully. Four new members were also selected in 2023.

The 20 members of the first cohort of the Future Professoriate Programme have completed their fellowship of the programme at the end of 2022 and will join as mentors of the new cohort of scholars in 2023.

During the past three years, the Future Professoriate Programme has delivered

  • one full professor;
  • 20 associate professors (six in 2020, four in 2021, and ten in 2022);
  • 31 senior lecturers (15 in 2020, 6 in 2021, and 10 in 2022); and
  • 18 NRF-rated scholars (six each in 2020, 2021, and 2022).

The programme also has

  • 20 Thuthuka grant holders;
  • four BAAP fellows;
  • various international fellowships; and
  • 30 excellence awards (including teaching and learning, most productive emerging researcher, and engaged scholarship awards).

A new cohort of 29 members were selected for the 2023 cohort of ESAP.

The Future Generation Professoriate and ESAP programmes provide a tailor-made development programme for candidates, consisting of individual mentoring discussions with multiple mentors, quarterly group meetings, writing retreats, monthly writing spaces, and group meetings with specific discussion topics, as well as a variety of training and support activities aimed at strengthening the scholarly and leadership competencies of the group. Some of the activities in the two programmes are integrated to provide opportunities for colleagues from different departments and faculties to interact and benefit from the experience and competencies of the cohort. The individual mentoring process includes the drafting and updating of annual career plans that serve as a blueprint for the career planning of the emerging scholars. The individual career plans are also used to monitor the progress of candidates towards different milestones, such as NRF rating, receiving prestigious international fellowships, graduating PhD candidates, and being recognised for excellence in leadership, community engagement, and teaching and learning.

The manager of the mentoring programme, Dr Henriëtte van den Berg, also meets frequently with the scholars in the programme to discuss their progress towards their agreed career objectives. The mentoring programme recruits discipline-specific mentors from the pool of senior academics in all faculties to provide guidance to the emerging scholars on navigating demanding institutional and broader systemic challenges, to nurture their passion for their disciplines, to expand their collaborative networks, and to grow their scholarly profiles. Where necessary, external experts are invited to assist with the mentoring of colleagues who do not have access to senior scholars in their respective disciplines. The support of line managers is critical to the success of young academics, and the mentoring teams work closely with the line managers of candidates. The mentoring programme collaborates with many UFS stakeholders, including Research Development, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, the Centre for Graduate Support, the Institutional Advancement office, and the Office for International Affairs. 


Contact us

Dr Henriëtte van den Berg
Programme Manager: Professoriate Mentoring Programme
T: +27 51 401 3135

Room 8, North Block of the Main Building, Bloemfontein Campus

Riana Visser
Office administrator
T: +27 51 401 7493

Room 11, North Block of the Main Building, Bloemfontein Campus

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