The Transforming the Professoriate Mentoring Programme was launched in the second semester of 2019. This programme 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  emerging scholars divided into two groups: the Future Generation Professoriate Group (FGP), comprising 26 emerging scholars, and the Emerging Scholar Accelerator Programme  (ESAP) group, consisting of 24 colleagues, the majority of whom have completed their PhD's in the past three years. A second cohort of 25 ESAP members were selected in February 2021. Currently, the programme has 75 participants, representing all faculties.  A call for applications for a new cohort of Emerging Researchers will open on 1 July 2022.

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 of 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 Postgraduate School, the Institutional Advancement office, and the Office for International Affairs. 

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