26 May 2021 | Story ANDRÉ DAMONS | Photo Supplied
Dr Clive Vinti, a lecturer in Public Law at the Faculty of Law, who has recently joined the Professoriate Mentoring Programme, believes the programme is fundamental to the progression to the post of professor for young academics.

The Transformation of the Professoriate Mentoring Programme from the University of the Free State (UFS) provides critical mentoring and coaching for young academics in support of their career progression to senior academic levels. The programme works closely with line managers and support services to create an enabling environment for candidates to develop their scholarship.

This is according to Dr Clive Vinti, lecturer in Public Law at the Faculty of Law, who has recently joined the programme. He expects to be part of it for at least three years.

The Transforming the Professoriate Mentoring Programme was launched in the second semester of 2019 and focuses on the holistic development of the skills and attributes of emerging scholars in the core functions of teaching and learning, research, community engagement, and academic leadership in preparation for their roles as future professors and academic leaders.

The first cohort of the programme was selected during August and September 2019 and consists of two groups: the Future Generation Professoriate Group (FGP), which comprised of 26 emerging scholars, and the Emerging Scholar Accelerator Programme (ESAP) group, which consisted of 24 colleagues, the majority of whom had completed their PhD in the past three years. A second cohort of 25 ESAP members was selected in February 2021. Currently, the programme has 75 participants, representing all faculties.

Says Dr Vinti: “I am most excited about the opportunity to be part of the transformation of the Professoriate. I think the programme is fundamental to the progression to the post of professor for young academics since it seeks to eliminate barriers to this promotion.” 

Dr Vinti, whose research focus is on environmental law, says he is still at the beginning of the process, but already feels a sense of support and comfort in the university.

He will recommend the programme to other young academics as well. 

Says Dr Vinti: “The project has already assisted us in giving us access to Prof Corli Witthuhn Vice-Rector: Research and Internationalisation and we got advice on promotion and research and the project also assists with clarifying the process for NRF rating. We had a meeting with the Prof Witthuhn and she gave us answers on questions surrounding these issues.”

According to him, his research has two strands – international environmental law with a focus on sustainable development, protected areas and transboundary water law and International Trade Law – which is the development of our jurisprudence and literature on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and the attendant agreements of the World Trade Organisation.

Dr Henriëtte Van den Berg, Manager of the Mentoring programme, says the programme builds a cadre of well-rounded emerging scholars to join the ranks of senior academics on campus. Says Dr Van den Berg: “The programme provides a diverse range of support activities to prepare young academics for the complexity of academic careers. This was especially important during 2020, amidst the constraints of COVID restrictions, virtual teaching and learning and remote learning. The mentoring programme offers participants an additional layer of support to help them stay focused on and engaged with their core values and goals.”

Dr Van den Berg says she is optimistic about the future of the institution when she looks at the quality of young academics that were selected for the programme. The members of the mentoring group are passionate about academia and making a difference to the lives of students, their disciplines and society.   

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.