This paper reports on a research project investigating the role of universities in South Africa in contributing to poverty reduction through the quality of their professional education programmes. The focus here is on theorizing and the early operationalization of multi layered, multi-dimensional transformation based on ideas from Amartya Sen’s capability approach. Key features of a professionalism oriented to public service, which in South Africa must mean the needs and lives of the poor, are outlined. These features include: demand from justice; the expansion of the comprehensive capabilities both of the poor; professionals capability formation to be able to act in ‘pro-poor’ ways; and, praxis pedagogies which shape this connected process. This theorisation is then tentatively operationalized in a process of selecting transformation dimensions.
International journal of educational development (2009), 29, (6), 565-572, [10.1016/j.ijedudev.2009.03.002].