29 May 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Thoughts and experiences of African university leaders
____This special Africa edition, “Thoughts and experiences of African university leaders”, is aimed at promoting good leadership in universities in Africa and elsewhere. It will comprise a series of interviews with vice-chancellors and others with deep knowledge of higher education in a variety of Sub-Saharan African countries. The articles will be published monthly from February 2012 to April 2013.
____There will also be responses from other leaders and scholars published in the parallel ‘debate’ column, to encourage discussion around university leadership and to expand the number and diversity of contributors. The special edition page will grow as new interviews and responses are added to it, and once completed it will remain a permanent page on the University World News website.
____It has been argued that one way to learn about leadership is to receive advice from successful leaders based on their experiences and wisdom, especially if they work in the same field. This is the rationale for the series and for an interview approach that captures the personalities and backgrounds and leadership styles of strong leaders, the challenges they have faced and the actions they taken to make their institutions and higher education systems more effective.
____The series has been made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, whose strategic approach to supporting higher education in Africa includes university leadership development and strengthening the next generation of academics.
Karen McGregorGlobal Editor
Leading Ibadan, Africa’s prolific PhD producer
The University of Ibadan is Nigeria’s premier institution, producing 3,000 postgraduates a year. Vice-chancellor Isaac Folorunso Adewole told University World News he had moved from being a “strategic” to a consensual leader.
Tunde FatundeUniversity of Ibadan
Interviews
Top-ranked university goes 'Afropolitan'
Max Price
University of Cape Town
Karen MacGregor
Professor Max Price has led Africa's top-ranked university for four years. The University of Cape Town's vision is to be 'Afropolitan' and it is also highly international, with nearly 20% of students and 25% of academics from outside South Africa. Price told University World News what the institution is doing right.
Mahmood Mamdani – An intellectual leader in Africa
Josh Kron
The role of senior academics in leading higher education is more difficult to define than that of vice-chancellors. But some are arguably so prominent that they inspire change – and such is the case with Mahmood Mamdani, renowned commentator on African history, politics and society.
Women’s university v-c plans to expand across Africa
Hope Sadza
Women's University in Africa
Kudzai Mashininga
Founding a successful private women’s university within a patriarchal society in a failed state is difficult, to say the least. But Hope Sadza’s ambition is bigger than that – to open campuses of the Zimbabwe-based Women’s University in Africa across the continent.
Steady hand on flagship university’s tiller of change
Ernest Aryeetey
University of Ghana
Karen MacGregor
With a career enriched by international experience, first as a student in Germany and then in academic networks, Ernest Aryeetey has steered the flagship University of Ghana steadily into the wider world since becoming vice-chancellor two years ago. This, and the pursuit of excellence through change, define his leadership.
How Kenyatta’s leader shattered the glass ceiling
Olive Mugenda
Kenyatta University
Gilbert Nganga
Olive Mugenda is vice-chancellor of Kenyatta University, Kenya’s second largest institution by student numbers. For years she knocked on the doors of management, quietly but very persistently. When they opened, she entered enthusiastically – and made a major impact. She spoke to University World News for the latest in our article series on African university leaders.
Transforming an apartheid relic
Jonathan Jansen
University of the Free State
Karen MacGregor
Four years ago a racist video filmed by white male students at the University of the Free State shocked the world. The first black vice-chancellor of this once-conservative Afrikaner bastion in South Africa’s heartland, Jonathan Jansen, has brought about remarkable change since taking office.
Oncologist brings dynamic change to university
Dr Charles Olweny
Uganda Martyrs University
Andrew Green
Dr Charles Olweny, a globe-trotting oncologist who trained and worked on four continents, decided seven years ago to leave Canada and return home to lead Uganda Martyrs University, a private Catholic institution. His leadership strategy is guided by five core principles, he said in the latest of a series on African university leaders.
Leadership a balancing act
Cheryl de la Rey
University of Pretoria
Karen MacGregor
Cheryl de la Rey, a professor of psychology, notched up several firsts when she became vice-chancellor of South Africa’s large University of Pretoria in 2009 – the first woman, the first black person and the first English-speaker. It seems the university was ripe for change, as she faced no opposition on any of these fronts. De la Rey spoke to University World News for this first in a new series of articles on African university leaders.
Managing a university on the rise – Nairobi
George Magoha
University of Nairobi
Gilbert Nganga
When it comes to publicity, Professor George Magoha is shy. The vice-chancellor of the University of Nairobi rarely grants an interview or calls a press conference to announce a strategic shift. He believes being too public a leader could be a blunder for Kenya’s premier university.
Africa News
EAST AFRICA
Heads of state declare common HE area
Christabel Ligami
Heads of East African states declared the transformation of the East African Community into a Common Higher Education Area, which will facilitate the recognition of academic certificates and the transfer of credits from higher education institutions across the region, at their summit on 20 May in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
ZIMBABWE
Desperate students look to campus politics for solutions
Tonderayi Mukeredzi
Higher education students, tired of enduring high levels of economic stress and desperate for political change, are joining campus-based student unions in their numbers despite concerns around the strong alignment of such groups to national political parties.
EGYPT-INDIA
India deepens higher education cooperation with Egypt
Wagdy Sawahel
India and Egypt have unveiled a plan to strengthen academic, scientific and cultural cooperation between universities in India and Egypt, along with exchange of knowledge and best practices in teaching, research and administration. The plan includes setting up a joint institution, networking among universities in the two countries and enhancing student and academic mobility.
SOUTH AFRICA
Minister calls for ‘new kind of academic’
Munyaradzi Makoni
Calling for universities to produce “a new kind of academic”, the Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande said his department would be implementing a capacity development programme prioritising historically disadvantaged universities and focused on student success, staff development and curriculum transformation.
MOROCCO
Ministry recognises degrees of eight private universities
Wagdy Sawahel
In what it described as a “historic” step to boost private higher education, Morocco's Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Professional Training earlier this month recognised the degrees of eight private universities.
AFRICA
Pan African University institute seeks new student cohort
Laeed Zaghlami
The Algiers-based Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences, seeking to create a new generation of African leaders capable of helping to address Africa’s most significant development challenges, has launched a call for new students for the next academic year.
MALAWI
College remains shut despite calls by opposition, students
Kudzai Mashininga
A constituent college of the University of Malawi, which failed to open in March for the first semester owing to a lecturer pay strike, remains shut despite calls for government intervention from both the political opposition and students.
NIGERIA
12 universities to undergo financial probe
Jackie Opara
The Federal Ministry of Education has inaugurated a seven-person committee to probe the use of grants for 'take-off' projects in 12 universities established between 2011 and 2013 – three of which are under investigation by the national Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
AFRICA
‘Internet of things’ centre to boost innovation capacity
Sam Otieno
The Africa Centre of Excellence in Internet of Things is out to attract PhD candidates in what is a new concept in the field of computing which has the potential to boost Africa’s development through innovation.
Africa Features
SOUTH AFRICA
Predatory journals – A threat to academic credibility
Stephen Coan
Predatory journals and their publishers, driven solely by profit motives, are posing an increasing threat to academic credibility and to individual reputations.
CAMEROON
Anglophone crisis – Academics, students stand firm
Tunde Fatunde
Schools, universities and law courts remain shuttered in two provinces of Anglophone Cameroon as students, academics, school teachers and lawyers continue to paralyse activities in protest against what they perceive as linguistic, cultural and educational injustices and other forms of marginalisation by the Cameroonian government.
AFRICA
Tapping into the power of technical education
Munyaradzi Makoni
African technical universities can help to add value to primary commodities and other natural resources, support economic transformation, provide technology solutions to small and medium enterprises, and contribute to wealth creation as part of enhancing technical and vocational education and training on the continent.
Africa Briefs
AFRICA
Meeting shares engineering research, training challenges
Experts met in Dakar, Senegal, recently to discuss problems linked to engineering research and the training of engineers in five African countries.
CAMEROON
Work placements to increase HE ‘professionalisation’
The higher education ministry has introduced a new system of university work placements to increase the ‘professionalisation’ of higher education through a partnership with businesses to improve the provision of work experience in university courses.

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