1994: new academic profession for a new South Africa?
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Since 1994, the eyes of the world have been on South Africa, observing with interest the societal reconstruction project, upon which the country had embarked. In this project, higher education is both the terrain and the perceived instrument of change. In this higher education system and its mission, the academic profession is pivotal – especially, the new up-and-coming generation of academics, who have entered the profession since 1994. Using data from the International Changing Academic Profession Survey of the academic profession, this article focuses on this new generation of South African academics: their teaching; their research and service activities; their biographical details; their international profile; their relations with institutional management; and their job satisfaction. The results of this analysis reveal that while the new generation is present in terms of numbers, they also face three challenges. These pertain to three critical areas, namely research productivity, internationalisation, and the creation of a satisfying work environment, amidst signs of seriously harmful managerialism. The article concludes with recommendations as to how to approach these challenges.