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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
ZIMBABWE
Jobless graduates in gowns protest broken promises
Kudzai Mashininga
Unemployed graduates in Zimbabwe have held protests while wearing graduation gowns, calling on President Robert Mugabe to create the jobs he promised in his election manifesto, as a wave of demonstrations rocked the country.
KENYA
Looming crisis over university student fee hike plan
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya’s university students are facing a defining moment following a stand-off between the government and university administrators over a plan to raise tuition fees from next year.
SOUTH AFRICA
Call for ‘national consensus’ to grow student housing
Munyaradzi Makoni
South African students, universities and colleges as well as banks and investors have been urged to assist in the search for “smarter solutions” to an ongoing, chronic shortage of student accommodation.
UGANDA
Ministerial plea fails to end strikes at six universities
Esther Nakkazi
Non-teaching staff from Uganda’s six public universities have refused to heed a ministerial call to end their strike over a salary enhancement, thereby delaying the start of university for thousands of new students due to begin their first semester.
GHANA
Graduate joblessness is a manpower planning problem
Francis Kokutse
The growing number of unemployed graduates in Ghana is not because the country is producing too many graduates but because there is no manpower planning to feed sectors of the economy, says Clement Dzidonu, president of the Accra Institute of Technology.
EGYPT
Law for first national space agency approved
Wagdy Sawahel
Egypt’s cabinet has approved a draft bill to establish a space agency that will promote the development of space technology, science and engineering capacity, and space research and education in universities. It will be Africa’s fourth space agency.
CAMEROON
Accusations of state corruption over Chinese computers
Jane Marshall
Students in Cameroon were allegedly bribed to take part in a march to thank President Paul Biya for providing them with 500,000 Chinese laptops – an operation, said critics, that smacked of corruption and for which taxpayers would have to pay FCFA75 billion (US$127.5 million), a sum that could have been better spent.
Africa Briefs
ALGERIA
Preparations for a smooth start to new academic year
Algeria’s Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister Tahar Hadjar said his ministry had brought together “all necessary human and material resources” to ensure the enrolment process for new students would run smoothly. Meanwhile, the University of Ouargla has announced 156 new doctoral positions across a range of fields in the new academic year.
MOROCCO
Partnership to strengthen regional research, education
A partnership agreement to strengthen research and education has been signed between the regional council of Rabat-Salé-Kénitra, Morocco’s higher education and research ministry and three Rabat universities.

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