The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is a vibrant and cosmopolitan university, anchored in Africa and driven by a powerful strategy focused on attaining global excellence and stature (GES). With an emphasis on independent thinking, sustainable development and strategic partnerships, UJ is an international university of choice. The University is guided by the Vice-Chancellor’s vision of “Positioning UJ in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in the context of the changing social, political and economic fortunes of Africa”.

UJ seeks to hire a Senior Director: Postgraduate School (PGS) on a five-year fixed term contract. The Senior Director reports to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (research portfolio) of UJ. The primary responsibility of the Senior Director is to direct and manage the University’s programme of strategic support to postgraduates and postdoctoral research fellowships, postgraduate funding, development of research capacity and the improvement of staff qualifications. The PGS will strive to prepare students and postdoctoral research fellows to be excellent scholars, as well as contributing disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary knowledge that will position Africa in the changing world. This is done within the broad aim of increasing the postgraduate enrolment and graduation figures, citations of research publications (one measure of quality) and productivity. Productivity is encompassing, at the postgraduate level, of research, and creative and innovation outputs.

UJ promotes excellence, transformation and inclusivity in a distinguished manner – for example, by bringing together multiple disciplines to develop transformative impact. One outcome of this distinguished approach in a changing world of work is to realise the expectation that postgraduate students, beyond being employees, will re-define employability – they will have both a translational and a transformative research edge to become employers of the future.

GES is now being contextualised within 4IR. Following a consultative process lasting more than a year, a number of catalytic initiatives were supported by the University’s Council in March 2019. This programmatic approach is called GES 4.0. As is the case with 4IR, systems, processes, data, and people are served through technological innovations. Given particularly the challenge of COVID-19, the University has stringent requirements to limit traditional modes of execution and finds operational synergy through 4IR. In the context of the PGS, this service focus is on postgraduate students (including staff pursuing postgraduate qualifications) and postdoctoral research fellows.

In addition to specialisation in their core academic discipline, we envisage graduates who should have the competitive edge of 4IR.

Job specification

The Senior Director is expected to:

  • Strengthen the University’s postgraduate programmes, postdoctoral research fellowship programmes, supervisor development, transdisciplinary studies and research capacity development programmes to enable the GES journey.
  • Further develop and lead a programme of strategic support to the postgraduate programme, increasing postgraduate quality, enrolment and graduations.
  • From the perspective of postgraduate students, postdoctoral research fellows and their supervisors, provide a one-stop service. This would be attained through streamlining internal non-academic (international, financial, residential, etc.) processes and academic processes.
  • Ensure timeous coordination of scholarship/ fellowship calls, submissions to the National Research Foundation (NRF), and internal bursary calls.
  • Deliver on the University’s commitment to transformation and in the context of South Africa’s demographics. In the area of GES 4.0, there is a priority towards women.
  • Manage the postgraduate programme to ensure an exceptional postgraduate and postdoctoral experience during the postgraduate life cycle.
  • Source external funding (including and beyond NRF) to support postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellowships in the form of bursaries, scholarships and fellowships. For external sponsors, outside of the NRF, the approach must be coordinated with the Research and Development Office.
  • Partner with faculties and divisions in facilitating the development, promotion and delivery of research skills and supervisory skills and develop programmes for students and staff in accordance with the strategic priorities of the University, according to national and international best practice.
  • Partner with faculties and divisions towards an approach that continuously communicates the societal and discipline-specific impact of our postgraduate students and postdoctoral research fellows. The approach should include, among others, social media.
  • Provide strategic support to staff to acquire higher degrees, master’s and doctoral qualifications, and provide the necessary support to establish them as leaders in research.
  • Establish and lead programmes offering transdisciplinary studies, in line with the University’s Pan-African focus, GES and in the context of 4IR.
  • Respond to Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) research capacity building, related policy documents, draft proposals and reports.
  • Undertake statutory reporting for postgraduate and postdoctoral programmes, as well as review and revise policies related to the portfolio. Such reporting often features through Committees of Senate.
  • Be an inspiring and contributing member of the postgraduate component of international networks, for example, the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), Universitas 21 (U21), and others.
    In relation to our postgraduate commitment, to provide ad hoc support as required.

Minimum requirements:

  • Doctorate qualification or an equivalent qualification.
  • An extraordinary administrator within an academic institution and/or a senior academic with administrative experience (for example, a former head of department, vice-dean, etc.) – at least five years of relevant management experience.
  • In the context of postgraduate and postdoctoral targets, strategic and ‘SMART’ (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timebound) approach to operationalisation (“walking the 4IR ‘talk’”).
  • Proven resource, strategic and people management skills, with exceptional ability and resilience to function under pressure.
  • Excellent and efficient “on the go” communication skills (verbal, by email, etc.). Being able to keep excellent communication records retrievable through the ‘computing cloud’ as and when required and aligned to online computing systems available at UJ.
  • Excellent writing ability both at executive level and at a detailed level. A command of writing in formal English is required. Communication that is beyond the numbers, and speaks to academic and socioeconomic impact.
  • Excellent conflict management and administrative skills, along with the ability to develop and maintain collaborative networks.
  • Financial and numerical acumen (advanced user of spreadsheets, including online documents/ worksheets).
  • Ability to work during formal work hours and, when necessary, after hours (the DVC’s office often has UJ-related engagements during and after hours).
  • An extraordinary commitment to transformation, inclusivity and particularly for persons who are differently abled.
  • Unquestionable professional integrity and stature.


A well-respected academic leader who is able to attract and motivate the academic community and students in the University’s drive to provide high- quality teaching, cutting-edge research and effective community engagement. The candidate should ideally be rated by the NRF.

Terms of appointment

The position of Senior Director is a 5-year contract appointment. The appointment may be renewed for a further term of office subject to performance.

Retirement age

The normal retirement age is 65. Consideration will be given to candidates who would be able to serve for a 5-year term.


To apply, please provide a cover letter addressing the selection criteria, your detailed CV and at least three contactable referees. The names and full contact details (including telephone numbers and email addresses) of at least three traceable and credible referees should accompany the application. Shortlisted candidates may be subjected to formalised evaluation, for example, to ensure language proficiency, 4IR competencies, etc.

Applications should be addressed to the Executive Director: Human Resources, University of Johannesburg, and submitted via email to Ms Busisiwe Dumezweni at

NOTE: to ensure effective delivery of strategy, the structure and associated functions are reviewed from time to time. The University reserves the right to make appropriate changes (including line of reporting) that would serve the best interest of the organisation, associated staff and students.

Enquiries: Ms Tokoza Kwinana,

Applications close 30 September 2020.


More details can be found at: