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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
NIGERIA
Summit – ‘Spend cash on education or be left behind’
Tunde Fatunde
The four university-based unions in Nigeria recently held their first joint national education summit in Abuja, the federal capital. The main objective was to take stock of education and training since independence 54 years ago, and by the end of the summit a realistic ‘road map’ had been produced to tackle problems in the sector.
EGYPT
Students suffer following unrest at Islamist university
Ashraf Khaled
On arriving in Cairo from his village in Egypt’s Delta last month to start studies as a medical freshman at the state-run Al-Azhar University, Omar Mahrus was in for a shock. On asking when he could move into the university's state-subsidised dormitories, Mahrus was told that no date had been set for re-opening the facility.
AFRICA
Second round of diaspora scholars in US head for Africa
There has been an enthusiastic response to the two-year Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, which connects African-born academics working in North America to universities in six African countries. The second round of diaspora academics will begin travelling to Africa next month.
KENYA
Government issues legitimate university courses list
Maina Waruru
Kenya’s Commission for University Education has published a list of more than 1,000 approved programmes at universities, in an effort to end rows over unaccredited courses and learners obtaining degrees that are not recognised. But the move has not resolved a row over professional bodies rejecting some degrees, which has led to violent student protests and the closure of three institutions.
KENYA
Eyebrows raised as politicos breeze through degrees
Maina Waruru
Questions are being asked about the quality and integrity of an undergraduate degree being offered by a Kenyan Christian university, which is popular with politicians and adult learners and can apparently be completed in a couple of years.
RWANDA
University of Rwanda expands to meet economic needs
Hanna Lange-Chenier
The University of Rwanda is ramping up efforts to increase student enrolment, while planning to provide programmes for economic sectors that are growing within Rwanda, said Vice-chancellor James McWha.
Africa Features
MALI
World Bank plans for Mali’s tattered universities
Wachira Kigotho
The World Bank is developing a comprehensive project to rehabilitate Mali’s struggling public universities, which have been drained of highly qualified teaching staff, lack degree diversification and are housed in inappropriate rental spaces in the capital Bamako.
SOUTH AFRICA
New scientometrics centre connects science to society
Munyaradzi Makoni
The Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy – SciSTIP – outlined fields of research and how it will carry out its work at a scientific launch conference held at Stellenbosch University in South Africa earlier this month. A major aim is to produce comprehensive reviews of science and technology – the first in 20 years.
AFRICA
Developing sustainable African HE financing policies
Wagdy Sawahel
In an effort to improve access and encourage needy students to enrol in higher education while at the same time containing government spending, the cost-sharing model has been introduced worldwide – including in East Africa – along with student scholarships and loans.
Africa Briefs
SENEGAL
Project for virtual university launched
The Ministry for Higher Education and Research and the African Development Bank have launched a joint infrastructural development project for Senegal’s Digital University, or UVS, with funding of FCFA3.6 billion (US$6.8 million) over three years.
AFRICA
Senghor University for development of ‘French’ Africa
Egypt’s Senghor University in Alexandria was set up following the 1989 summit of French-speaking countries in Dakar, Senegal, which decided to establish a French-language international university “in the service of African development” to train high-level managers, civil servants and governors at masters level.

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