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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
TUNISIA
New science, university and medical ‘cities’ unveiled
Wagdy Sawahel
Tunisia has officially unveiled an economic development mega-project that will house research and science, university and medical ‘cities’ and will include a range of research centres, science institutes and branches of foreign universities.
KENYA
Private university under the hammer, others in trouble
Maina Waruru
A private university in Kenya is facing an auction of some of its prime property by banks and several other institutions are in financial trouble, in what some fear is a signal that the rapid expansion of higher education in the country has reached a sustainability limit.
NIGERIA
Ebola fear ‘infects’ campuses, affects mobile students
Tunde Fatunde
The deaths in Nigeria of two medical doctors associated with teaching hospitals, both victims of the dreaded Ebola virus in the horrifying outbreak of the disease in West Africa, has created panic and unsettled nerves on campuses.
UGANDA
Universities must focus on science, not ‘useless’ arts
Esther Nakkazi
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, once a student of the arts but now a champion of science, has advised universities funded by the government to develop more science courses and to drop many in the arts and humanities.
EGYPT
Government slated over delays to new semester start
Ashraf Khaled
The decision by Egyptian authorities to postpone the start of the new academic year by two weeks has drawn sustained criticism from lecturers and students. Minister of Higher Education Sayed Abdel Khaleq said universities would open their gates on 11 October instead of 27 September as scheduled.
AFRICA
Experts, EU and DAAD awarded for quality assurance work
Ard Jongsma
On 16 September Goolam Mohammedbhai, Juma Shabani and Peter Okebukola were awarded by GUNi and AfriQAN for their tireless work on quality assurance in higher education in Africa. The European Union and the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD, were awarded for their support to quality assurance processes on the continent.
SENEGAL
Decline of French among university students
Jane Marshall
The proficiency of many Senegalese students in French, the colonial language, is declining and the use of local languages – especially Wolof – is becoming more common on campus and in lectures. But there is disagreement over whether the decline is due to poor teaching, the fault of students, government reforms, or overcrowding and poor facilities.
KENYA
Universities find innovative ways to finance hostels
Maina Waruru
With Kenyan public universities experiencing a severe shortage of accommodation brought about by rapid expansion of student numbers and elevation of middle-level colleges into universities, one institution has come up with an innovative public-private partnership to build 3,000 hostel units.
YEMEN
Funding boost for higher education quality project
Wachira Kigotho
The World Bank will provide Yemen with a grant of US$3 million to improve higher education programmes in order to boost the employability of university graduates.
Africa Features
GLOBAL
ETH Zürich explores ‘future cities lab’ in Africa
Nic Mitchell
Continental Europe’s leading research-intensive university ETH Zürich is exploring the idea of establishing a ‘future cities laboratory’ in Africa following the success of the Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability.
Africa Briefs
MADAGASCAR
Tension as students refuse to leave Barikadimy campus
Madagascar’s Prime Minister Kolo Roger has confirmed his determination to evict students living without permission on the Barikadimy campus of Toamasina University and who are refusing to leave in spite of police on the campus and a court order against them.
TUNISIA
New university year – Facts and figures
A total of 332,000 students are set to start the new academic year in Tunisia, according to the Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Information and Communication Technology, Taoufik Jelassi.

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