20 December 2014 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
Current Interview
Leading Ibadan, Africa’s prolific PhD producer
Isaac Folorunso Adewole
University of Ibadan
Tunde Fatunde
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.
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
NIGERIA
Lucrative international education fairs draw scrutiny
Tunde Fatunde
Education fairs held annually in Nigerian cities are attracting attention for potentially harbouring fraudsters. The fairs, aimed at students seeking admission to universities abroad, have mushroomed in response to the exodus of Nigerian students seeking quality education in other countries. According to the British Council, in the UK alone there are nearly 18,000 Nigerian students.
GLOBAL
MOOC, gender support for French-language universities
Jane Marshall
The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie has launched two higher education initiatives aimed at French-speaking African and other developing countries. They are to introduce massive open online courses in partnership with the Swiss École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and to establish an ‘equality for women’ network to counter gender discrimination in universities. The agency has also extended to Senegal a distance teacher-training venture to improve the skills of schoolteachers of, and in, French.
AFRICA
Kenya pumps US$2.7 million into Pan African University
Maina Waruru and Gilbert Nganga
Kenya has extended an extra US$2.7 million to the Pan African University for the construction of facilities at its campus near Nairobi – the Institute of Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation, or PAUSTI – one of five regional ‘nodes’ being developed across the continent. Last month the campus graduated its first ever masters students.
NIGER
Four specialist regional universities to be created
Mohamed Ag Ahmedou
Niger is seeking to enhance higher education by opening four new universities, each specialising in an area key to development. The West African country’s universities continue to face challenges, but experts hail the development as a boost to the education system.
GHANA
Polytechnics to gain university status – Vice-president
Francis Kokutse
The legislative instrument that will change Ghana’s polytechnics into technical universities is ready to be put before parliament to be debated, according to Vice-president Kwesi Amissah-Arthur.
GHANA
Clampdown on associations awarding qualifications
Francis Kokutse
Ghana’s National Accreditation Board has said it is worried that professional associations have – without any authority – started enrolling unsuspecting students and awarding them qualifications. It has directed associations running ‘chartered institutes’ to cease operations.
Africa Features
AFRICA
SKA mega-project boosts astronomy research and skills
Munyaradzi Makoni
The advanced technological skills required to run the Square Kilometre Array, or SKA – a mega-research project due to become fully operational in 2020 in South Africa and eight other African countries – are scarce in Africa. But efforts to rectify that are gathering momentum.
AFRICA
‘Major overhaul’ of higher education ideology needed
Esther Nakkazi
After two decades of teaching at the college of veterinary medicine, animal resources and biosafety at Makerere University in Uganda, Professor John David Kabasa has heard enough of the same request. After graduating, many of his students beg him for tips on job opportunities – not only in their field of study; they could do ‘anything’.
Africa Briefs
AFRICA
Canada forges new HE links in Algeria and Morocco
Canada and Algeria have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop bilateral cooperation in higher education and research, while the Canadian Université de Moncton has opened a bureau in Casablanca, Morocco.
TUNISIA
Autonomy plans go ahead, but lecturers strike
Tunisia’s universities council met to put final touches to a project concerning general principles and major plans for the future – while the university lecturers’ union called a one-day strike in protest against the ministry’s refusal to implement agreements signed nearly a year ago.

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