Volume 11 Issue 1 (2022)

The Mentoring Experiences of Early Career and Senior Academics in a Multicampus University in South Africa

pp. 65-85  |  Published Online: March 2022  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2022.111.5

Yaw Owusu-Agyeman

Abstract

Background/purpose – The study examines how early career academics (ECAs) and established academics perceive the importance of mentoring and how mentoring could enhance the career development of ECAs within a South African multicampus university.

Materials/methods – Two different sets of semi-structured interview questions were administered to 16 ECAs and 10 senior academics across the university’s six faculties and three campuses. The data were examined using thematic analysis that involved a process of identifying, analyzing, organizing, describing, and reporting the themes that emerged from the dataset.

Results – The study’s results revealed that the mentoring experiences of ECAs could be enhanced by, among other things, institutional arrangements designed to address the mentoring needs of ECAs in terms of teaching, researching, researcher rating and engaged scholarship, establishment of clear communication channels that inform ECAs across the different campuses of the various professional development programs available, and the appointment and training of established academics especially at the satellite campuses to mentor ECAs.

Conclusion – To enhance the professional and personal development of ECAs, the university must establish an institutional mentoring framework that focuses on equal distribution of resources across all campuses, the adaptation of ECAs to the unique university environment, and promoting professional relationships between established academics and ECAs.

Keywords: Early career academics, mentoring, social constructivist theory, institutional structure, institutional culture, multicampus setting.

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