How to Apply for a FirstRand Foundation South African Mathematics Education Chair

Programme application and selection processes

 

The FirstRand Foundation South African Mathematics Education Chairs Initiative

The submission and assessment process for proposals consists of two sub-processes:

 

The Preliminary Phase

This phase begins with the submission of a short (maximum 10 pages but preferably shorter) pre-proposal from universities during the call period. The author of the pre-proposal, who is not the proposed candidate for the FirstRand Foundation South African Mathematics Education Chair, but rather a member of the Research Directorate of the Higher Education Institute (HEI), should address the selection criteria outlined below.

Assessment of these pre-proposals will be undertaken by a panel of senior members of FirstRand Foundation, NRF, DST, Department of Education (DoE) and subject experts in accordance with the selection criteria.

 

Recruitment Phase

Candidates submit full proposals with all the necessary supporting documents from their institutions (no more than 50 pages). The full proposal will give details of how the candidate meets the profile requirements as set out below as well as how the candidate’s proposal is expected to deliver on the following deliverables:

  1. Composition of the envisaged team to support the FirstRand Foundation South African Mathematics Education Chair
  • What kind of human resources the applicant will recruit to ensure that they deliver on the work required

2. Strategic Plan, which sets out:

  • How their proposal intends to meet the FirstRand Foundation South African Mathematics Education Chairs Initiative’s objectives;
  • How their proposal intends to meet the delivery targets of the FirstRand Foundation South African Mathematics Education Chairs Initiative;
  • Specific details of the proposed programme for the professional development (skills and knowledge) of in-service mathematics teachers at previously disadvantaged secondary schools;
  • Specific details of the proposed programmes of research to improve the quality of:
    • teaching of numeracy and literacy at foundation phase level, and/or
    • learner performance at selected public primary schools;
  • Specific details of how the candidate intends to provide leadership through academic citizenship and public engagement in national and regional fora in the field of mathematics education; and
  • The expected outputs and impacts in the five year period;
  1. Activity Plan for Year One, which sets out:
    • A brief, but functional development programme and research (activity) plan for year one of the grant. This plan should indicate significant milestones and expected outputs.
  2. Budget:
    •  A detailed and reasonable budget describing the expenditure of the FirstRand Foundation South African Mathematics Education Chairs Initiative, including the salary of the incumbent of the Chair, salaries of all other staff members working in the projects set up by the Chair and any other expenses.

Assessment of full proposals will be performed by independent peer reviewers appointed by the NRF on behalf of the FirstRand Foundation and the DST. In-depth interviews of the candidates will be conducted by an interviewing panel consisting of senior FirstRand Foundation trustees, NRF, DoE, DST executives and other subject experts appointed by the FirstRand Foundation.

 

Selection criteria for host universities

The selection of successful proposals from Universities will be based on the following criteria:

  1. The level of direct or indirect financial and material support that the University will be able to commit for the Chair;
  2. Mathematics education infrastructure at the University; and
  3. Experience and previous success in mathematics education.
 

Selection criteria for candidates for Chair position

The selection of the candidates will be based on the merits of each candidate’s proposal.  This will include the strength of the candidate’s profile, including his/her qualifications and experience (using bibliometric indicators such as citations, Hirsh index, student training record and ability to raise large grants).  It will also include an assessment of the candidate’s strategic plan and activity plan (as set out below) in respect of its ability to deliver on the FirstRand Foundation South African Mathematics Education Chairs Initiative’s objectives and targets. 

The individual candidates who are applying for the FirstRand Foundation South African Mathematics Education Chairs must:

  1. Be appointed at the Associate Professor or Professor level – benchmarked nationally in mathematics and/or mathematics education and must have a doctoral degree (The proposal must contain a full biography of the candidate, including qualifications and experience. Specifically, it must address fully items 2 – 4 below);
  2. Have a four or more year track record in developing and implementing programmes for the professional development of mathematics teachers at secondary schools;
  3. Have a four or more year track record of research that is excellent and sustained and/or clearly on an upward trajectory in mathematics teacher education and/or teaching and learning mathematics in classrooms where students learn in a language that is not their home language;
  4. Have a track record in providing leadership through academic citizenship and public engagement in national and regional fora in the field of mathematics education; and
  5. Reside full time in South Africa for the duration of the FirstRand Foundation South African Mathematics Education Chairs award.