Early career academic development and talent management in the South African higher education context

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Next Generation, Higher Education: Challenges, Changes and Opportunities Vol. 42

March, 2020, 125 pages
Published by
Eva Heinrich & Roseanna Bourke
ISBN
978-0-6485507-3-0
Abstract 

Higher education worldwide is confronted by challenges to develop a new generation of academics and signal academia as an attractive professional career. In South Africa, the number of employed academics in HE falls short of the projected need, necessitating the development of a new generation of academics programme (nGAP), to manage talent in the sector. This paper explores the overlapping relevance of early career academic development and talent management in the implementation of a novel national programme in South Africa to grow a new generation of academics. A qualitative approach, using semi- structured interviews and a review of documents, was used to evaluate the programme. Evidence of effectiveness was gleaned from the number of early career academics recruited, their perceptions, achievements, the benefits derived from the programme and the challenges. The findings indicate that the nGAP is able to steer change at a university and be a nodal point for the growth and development of a new generation of academics, despite capacity constraints and the slow uptake in the initial years of implementation. This study thus adds nuance to our understanding of how a government initiated talent management initiative to grow a new generation of academics was implemented at a university and concludes with how lessons learnt could inform practices and national policy as well as transferability to other contexts.

Keywords: Early career academics, talent management

Early career academic development and talent management in the South African higher education context

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Moosa, R.