Mentorship as a strategy to improve research output at tertiary institutions : case study of University of Johannesburg
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Research production is increasingly becoming a focal point in higher education transformation. Merging of higher educational institutions has produced various challenges ranging from changing the focus from purely teaching functions to both research and teaching. While novice researchers (i.e. those that are training to become researchers) are expected to develop capacity by engaging in research through various means, the aim of capacity development is to enable young researchers (i.e. those who are developing a profile as researchers) to publish in high impact publications which attracts funding in the form of subsidy from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DoHET). The manners in which tertiary educational institutions promote research output through capacity development initiatives are important from the perspective of attracting funding. The researcher undertook this study to explore mentorship as a means to increase research output at a merged tertiary institution. A case study using a mixed method approach was adopted. The literature reviewed indicated that mentorship was popular in many fields but there is a paucity of data evident on mentorship as a means to increase research output for researchers. The researcher obtained views and perceptions from academic staff members from sample faculties with regards to an implementation of a formal research mentorship program (REMP). Semi-structured interviews with the deans of four sample faculties and analyses of institutional documentation was also undertaken to ascertain institutional and faculty support and development for research. The findings of this study are useful not only to the case study institution, but to all HE institutions, especially merged institutions and the public management sector.