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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
AFRICA
East Africa credit transfers to come on line next year
Christabel Ligami
Ministers of education have agreed on a draft declaration for implementation of a harmonised higher education system for the East African Community. From next year students will be able to transfer credits to higher education institutions in five partner states.
NIGERIA
Moves to halt irregular professorial appointments
Tunde Fatunde
The Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities has proposed reforms to deal with the increasing number of individuals being promoted to professorships without apparently following due process.
EGYPT
Six Islamists suspended amid crackdown on academics
Ashraf Khaled
Egypt’s main state-run Cairo University has suspended – for alleged corruption – six professors linked to the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, as a crackdown on Islamist academics persists.
TUNISIA
Jobless academic self-immolates after wares confiscated
Wagdy Sawahel
Jobless academic Imad Al Ghanimi died after dousing himself with petrol and setting himself alight in response to having the goods he intended to sell as an informal trader confiscated by Tunisian police.
SOUTH AFRICA
Students support (cautious) data mining to boost success
Nicola Jenvey
Mining big data as a mechanism for boosting student success may be an acceptable tool for South African higher education institutions – provided the person collating that personal information is trustworthy in the students’ eyes.
KENYA
US$20 million for university’s Confucius centre upgrade
Maina Waruru
The government of China is investing a massive US$20 million in the University of Nairobi’s Confucius Institute, one of the big education projects by the Chinese in Africa.
COTE D'IVOIRE
New AUF accord to develop digital higher education
Jane Marshall
The government of Côte d’Ivoire and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie have signed a framework agreement to develop digital higher education through a programme to provide equipment and training, and to increase the skills of teaching staff.
COMOROS
Higher education struggles under multiple pressures
Wagdy Sawahel
Higher education in Comoros continues to struggle under growing student demand, high graduate unemployment, poor infrastructure, brain drain and inadequate levels of teaching, learning and research, according to experts. But support is on the way, with plans for branch campuses of two foreign universities.
Africa Features
GLOBAL
Countering growing global divisions in higher education
Karen MacGregor
In a tumultuous time of deepening divisions and inequalities, in higher education and in societies globally, it is imperative for universities to advance ‘responsible internationalisation’ and collaboration aimed at creating a better world rather than just promoting self-interest, says Leonard Engel, executive director of the European Association for International Education.
SOUTH AFRICA
Ending Aids in South Africa is ‘ambitious but plausible’
Stephen Coan
“You have to have chutzpah” to be a professional in the field of HIV-AIDS, quips Linda-Gail Bekker, a professor of medicine at the University of Cape Town and chief operating officer of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation. Bekker is about to become the first female president from Africa of the International AIDS Society.
EGYPT
Universities worsen high youth unemployment – Report
Wachira Kigotho
Egypt’s universities have failed to provide graduates with high-level, job market-related skills to fill more than 600,000 vacancies in the private sector, contributing to high levels of educated youth unemployment – and in some cases ‘wilful’ joblessness – according to the African Development Bank.
Africa Briefs
ALGERIA
Two new university institutes will relieve pressure
Two new university institutes in Algeria, one specialising in social sciences and the other in sports activities, will be completed in Ghardaïa before the end of October. They will improve higher education conditions and relieve pressure on lecture halls.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Thirteen students injured in fight over tree
A fight over a tree between students from two higher education institutions that share premises resulted in 13 serious casualties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
ETHIOPIA
Access to social networks blocked to avert exam fraud
Ethiopia’s government has blocked access to social networks throughout the country, an unprecedented measure it has justified by the need to prevent fraud during the period of university exams. But internet users have suggested the government is experimenting with new software filters to cut off political protesters.

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