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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
KENYA
Universities resume after student loan payment riots
Maina Waruru
Kenyan university students resumed studies in late September after highly disruptive, countrywide street protests over an unprecedented delay in the disbursement of student loans.
BOTSWANA
First private university gains permanent licence
Andrew Maramwidze
Botswana’s first private university, the Malaysian-owned Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, has become the country’s first fully licensed private tertiary institution, after seven years of operating under an interim licence.
MOROCCO
Minister announces ‘hubs’ and other university changes
Wagdy Sawahel
Morocco is considering a number of higher education reforms, including grouping big universities together into ‘hubs’ to increase their visibility, promoting research and making mastering English compulsory for students wanting admission to science universities.
MOROCCO
Union strikes against ‘threat’ to public universities
Jane Marshall
Morocco’s higher education union Syndicat National de l’Enseignement Supérieur called a three-day strike at the end of September in protest against proposed government reforms, which it claimed threatened public universities and infringed its members’ rights.
SENEGAL
UCAD returns to work after campus closure
Jane Marshall
The rector of the Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar said the university would reopen at the beginning of October, following closure of the campus in August due to violence in which a student died during a confrontation with police. Professor Ibrahima Thioub also said police were being withdrawn from the site to help calm the situation.
ZIMBABWE
Angry students demand withdrawal of first lady’s PhD
Kudzai Mashininga
The Zimbabwe National Students Union has demanded the withdrawal of a PhD awarded last month to the wife of President Robert Mugabe, arguing that it is not credible. First lady Grace Mugabe stands accused of having registered at the University of Zimbabwe in July this year and completing her PhD thesis last month, in a record two months.
AFRICA
UNESCO leads effort to improve geology teaching
Munyaradzi Makoni
A pilot initiative led by UNESCO’s regional office in Dakar, Senegal, will provide online courses to expand and improve geology materials to West African universities.
Africa Features
AFRICA
Sub-Saharan Africa’s share of global research rises
Wachira Kigotho
Research output in Sub-Saharan Africa has soared over the last 10 years – but it is still not adequate to fuel the region’s fast-growing economies – according to a report published last Tuesday by the World Bank and Elsevier. Crucially, it reveals that the region’s share of global research output is growing.
NIGERIA
Boko Haram fear grips campuses, displaces students
Tunde Fatunde
The recent attack by Boko Haram insurgents on a higher education institution in Kano, northern Nigeria’s biggest metropolis, prompted President Goodluck Jonathan to order security agencies to protect university campuses. Ongoing confrontation between the Islamist sect and the military has compelled some students in the north to relocate to other universities in the country and elsewhere in West Africa.
Africa Briefs
KENYA
Kenyatta launches first sports coaching academy
Maina Waruru
Kenyatta University has become the first in Kenya to launch a sports coaching academy, in a move aimed at cementing the institution’s place as market leader in sports education.
AFRICA
International businesses support HE institutions
Two giant international businesses are supporting higher education institutions through agreements between the Total oil company and the government of the Republic of the Congo, and the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei with a Tunisian university specialising in communications.

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