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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
EGYPT
Universities on alert after blasts, students expelled
Ashraf Khaled
Egypt's universities, rocked by months of anti-government protests, have toughened up on security following deadly explosions near the country's largest academic institution. Dozens of students involved in protests have been expelled in recent weeks.
KENYA
Major initiative to train university managers
Maina Waruru
Kenya's government has launched a major initiative to train senior university managers including council members, vice-chancellors, their deputies, deans, heads of departments and managers in a strategic project funded by the African Development Bank.
TUNISIA
New Tunisia-US higher education initiatives announced
Wagdy Sawahel
The United States is to expand a scholarship programme for Tunisian students and has agreed to create a centre for technological innovation and establish a Tunisian-American permanent committee for bilateral cooperation in the field of higher education and research.
ZIMBABWE
Student leaders in court following February protests
Kudzai Mashininga
Zimbabwean prosecutors have charged 11 student leaders for breach of the peace or bigotry following protests held in the capital Harare in February. The trial has highlighted possible divisions between moderates and hardliners in President Robert Mugabe's government.
GHANA
Anger over university's efforts to control road use
Francis Kokutse
A law that allows the authorities of the University of Ghana to prevent people who are not members of the institution from entering its premises has come under attack on several fronts, after a booth was erected at the main entrance to control road use.
AFRICA
Student protests in Burundi and Cote d'Ivoire
Student unrest has broken out in Burundi, where students went on strike over reform of their grant system. And in Cote d'Ivoire, students have been protesting over lack of housing – 18 months after universities reopened after two years of closure.
Africa Features
KENYA
France to partner in loans to students, universities
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya has signed a ground-breaking partnership with French public financier Agence Francaise de Developpement that intends to set up credit lines to fund university expansion and student loans.
SOUTH AFRICA
The contribution of universities to the economy
Nicola Jenvey
Government expenditure on South Africa's universities should be boosted by 40% and an additional R3 billion (US$288 million) invested annually in research and development in higher education institutions if the country aims only to be on a par with world averages, according to a new study.
AFRICA
USAID's transformative strategy for higher education
Wagdy Sawahel
USAID recently launched a strategic framework for building the capacity of African higher education institutions and systems. Research has indicated that the social and private rates of return for tertiary investments in Sub-Saharan Africa are among the highest in the world.
TANZANIA
The day a Swedish student came calling
Munyaradzi Makoni
Swedish student Malin Cronqvist was about to head off to spend 10 weeks in Tanzania doing volunteer work at a local guesthouse in 2010, when she began wondering how she could make a positive difference in a country where the higher education dreams of thousands of youngsters die each year because of lack of money.
SOMALIA
Academics built university out of the ashes of war
Francis Kokutse
The civil war that devastated Somalia also closed down Somali National University in the capital Mogadishu. But thanks to the determination of a group of academics a new institution arose out of the ashes, the private, non-profit Mogadishu University. From an initial student intake of 225 in 1997, the university has grown to 6,000 students.
Africa Briefs
TUNISIA
Organisations create 'anti-Zionism observatory'
A dozen associations and political parties have announced the creation of an “observatory to control Zionist infiltration into Tunisian universities”.
AFRICA
AUF selects higher education and research projects
The Central Africa and Lakes bureau of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, or AUF, has started a selection process for higher education and research projects from the region for support from the agency.

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