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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
Talent war intensifies across Africa – Report
Wachira Kigotho
A tight competition for professional and technical skills is emerging in Africa with most companies experiencing volatile labour mobility of highly skilled persons, according to a new study by EY, one of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited.
KENYA
US firm to build student hostels in US$11 million project
Gilbert Nganga
Kenyatta University – Kenya’s largest institution by student numbers – has teamed up with New York-based private equity firm Integras to build hostels with a total of 10,000 beds. The US$11 million project is to be executed under a public-private partnership.
KENYA
German scholarships for 300 Garissa massacre survivors
Maina Waruru
Just months after a terror attack killed 148 people at Garissa University College in northeast Kenya, 300 of its surviving students have been awarded scholarships to complete their studies by the German Academic Exchange Service.
UGANDA
Pay hike for university academics to improve quality
Esther Nakkazi
Lecturers at all six public universities in Uganda will have a salary increase of 53% effective from July. The pay hike is an effort by the government to improve higher education quality and skills development. But academics are not impressed.
MAURITIUS
Two India-linked higher education institutions to close
Jane Marshall
Two private higher education institutions in Mauritius, both with Indian links, are to close. The Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management (Mauritius Branch Campus) will shut in December 2015 and the Amity Institute of Higher Education in June 2016, according to press reports.
AFRICA
Regional fund created for PASET study, innovation grants
A regional fund for study and innovation grants for Africa has been established by three African governments and a collective of business leaders under the World Bank’s PASET – Partnership for Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology – initiative. One of PASET’s aims is to award 10,000 doctoral grants over 10 years to support research and innovation.
LIBYA
University-business incubator to boost the economy
Wagdy Sawahel
A Tripoli University Business Incubator is to be created in the Libyan capital in an effort to narrow the gap between university educational outputs and the needs of the workplace, and to encourage new businesses. The initiative supports Libya Vision 2020, which includes sweeping higher education reform.
Africa Features
MOROCCO
Private sector steps in with IT training for growth
Elizia Volkmann
The private sector is stepping in to provide higher education in information technology in Morocco, as the government struggles to match demand from the North African country’s growing economy with an output of highly skilled graduates.
TANZANIA
Rapid higher education expansion in development drive
Wachira Kigotho
Tanzania has made progress in expanding access to higher education in order to gear young people towards a middle-income economy by 2025, according to a World Bank report. It provides a snapshot of how the East African country is catching up with tertiary education growth trends in neighbouring states such as Kenya and Uganda.
Africa Briefs
CAMEROON
Evangelical Church to establish technology university
The first stone has been laid in Douala of UTEC, the Université de Technologies du Cinquantenaire, a new technology university being built at a cost of XAF25 billion (US$42.7 million) by the Cameroon Evangelical Church.

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