Change the world

Journal for Development and Leadership

Volume 1, Number 2


‘Career sculpting’: an innovative approach to academic development
du Plooy, B. and Vansteenkiste, J.

South African higher education is increasingly facing the haemorrhaging of research and academic expertise. As work environments, higher education institutions differ in many ways from other environments. Though universities are increasingly, over the last decades, being managed according to business models, academic institutions traditionally and historically have built entrenched archaic traditions that are very specific to this environment. Due to its historical conditions and new post-apartheid social, cultural and economic challenges, South Africa also presents a specific set of problems for academic career development and advancement.

It is against this background that a workshop programme titled ‘Personal Biographical Analysis and Career Sculpting’ was developed. The workshop programme centres on the specific needs of emerging and novice academics and researchers in the early stages of career development.

This article is a qualitative study and describes the national context, rationale and operational aspects of this workshop programme. The primary aim of the programme is to contribute to an already growing debate around innovative developments in South African higher education that are attempting to address the dire need for more effective recruitment, development, training and retention of a new generation of academics and researchers of excellence.

Keywords: biographical analysis, biography, career development, career counselling, capacity development, career sculpting, academia, South African higher education