Transformative Leadership: Social Impact and Civic Engagement
There are many ways for universities to improve their social impact, but the key is listening to communities, learning from them, understanding their needs and working together to find solutions, speakers told a University World News webinar held in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.
PHOTO A scholarship programme geared to encouraging transformative leadership is enabling African students and alumni of the American University of Beirut, such as Claudette Igiraneza, to work to ease the plight of exploited migrant domestic workers in the Lebanese capital, some of whom have faced harrowing abuse.
PHOTO Three students, with the support of a university incubator, have turned a vague aspiration to save waste food and eradicate hunger in Lahore, Pakistan, into a sustainable social enterprise which has delivered more than seven million meals to poor families who earn around US$100 a month or less.
PHOTO The concentration of universities in cities is contributing to depopulation and deprivation of rural areas in Norway and government should respond by legislating to decentralise higher education provision to encourage more people to stay and study and work in rural areas, according to a new government report.
PHOTO The United Nations secretary general has called on the world to take urgent climate action and has praised the work of universities as “essential to our success”. He has called on all organisations to examine their contribution to achieving carbon neutrality.
PHOTO The sudden switch to online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic does not seem to be a temporary one, yet it has caused rising inequality and has highlighted the lack of a student voice in India’s higher education system, particularly for the most disadvantaged students.
PHOTO Tertiary education works and is vital in many ways for development, but evidence shows how it could have a greater social impact through collaboration, consideration of context and clear communication, if only its contribution was not being overlooked by major funders and the public.
Transformative Leadership: Employability in the Digital Age
Tecnológico de Monterrey or Monterrey Tec is redesigning itself to develop students as entrepreneurial and socially minded leaders who can adapt to the future. It has revamped the role of professors and increased the focus on cutting-edge technologies, challenge-based learning and personal competencies, such as flexibility, leadership skills and values.
Singapore’s Nanyang Polytechnic, partnering with industry players, is launching a bold and unprecedented approach to course design and delivery by introducing a new Professional Competency Model for students in business intelligence and analytics, structured around gaining workplace competencies rather than a subject-based approach.
Transformative Leadership: Webinar on Employability
Universities will need to focus much more on the successful exit of their students if they are to prove their relevance to employers in the next decade, a webinar on ‘Employability in the Digital Age’, hosted by University World News in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, was told.
Transformative Leadership: Internationalisation for Change
Researchers from the University of Greenwich in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute have created a first of its kind credit scheme to cushion smallholder farmers in Kenya’s dryland areas from frequent droughts.
PHOTO Internationalisation of higher education can no longer be seen to be practised only within and by higher education institutions. The translation of the global to the local will only impact the local community beyond the university community if intentional internationalisation activities are implemented through alumni.
PHOTO None of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs – the internationally agreed framework for tackling poverty, inequality, disease and climate change – can be achieved without the contribution of higher education through research, teaching and community engagement, networks representing 2,000 universities have told the UN.
Transformative Leadership: Regional Impact
Steeped in transformative leadership training at Ghana's Ashesi University, former refugee Kpetermeni Siakor was determined to do something about the Ebola crisis spreading through his country, Liberia. He and his peers came up with a data collection and tracking solution that helped cut response times dramatically.
Japanese and Sri Lankan universities are collaborating in a project that challenges paradigms of development in a way that will make universities drivers of change, supporting research towards economic growth, social transformation, combating climate change, peace-building and disaster prevention in their regions.
An award-winning student initiative aimed at women in a squatter community in Pakistan has had a transformative impact on healthcare and education by spreading awareness, raising funds and providing teaching and is looking to expand to other areas.
India has a surfeit of software engineers and America needs more. This supply and demand situation, along with steep differences in earnings in the United States and the Indian subcontinent, is inspiring growth in the number of ‘remote’ US jobs for software engineers in India. But there is a gap in coding skill levels between the countries, creating a need for upskilling.
Transformative Leadership: Innovation and Technology
The leading global environmental authority has warned that many universities are struggling with the concept of ‘greening’ and has urged higher education institutions worldwide to replicate exemplar universities who are pioneering green innovations and developing and implementing strategies to reduce their carbon footprint.
PHOTO Latin American universities stand out for the way they have prioritised social engagement and pioneered innovative community programmes, from technology incubators for cooperatives to compulsory community service, which could provide a model for universities in other regions that are interested in transformative leadership.
PHOTO The World Technology Universities Network is a collection of universities dedicated to exploring best practice in how technology can change the world for the better, addressing the most pressing global challenges and contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Transformative Leadership: Ethical Leadership
The move to a market-oriented governance model has not improved higher education. Unless the academic community is placed at the heart of the sector, it will lose many of those innovative and transformative characteristics that have made higher education internationally successful.
PHOTO Refugees are an important part of international higher education. By studying transformative approaches to how refugees are integrated into education and wider society, we can ensure that they achieve their potential and that higher education institutions fulfil their humanitarian duties.
PHOTO University governing boards are important, but ethical lapses set them and their universities back. Ethical behaviour can be promoted through board culture, but also through developing awareness of the specific weaknesses of particular board cultures and safeguarding against them, transforming university behaviour.
Transformative Leadership: Towards Gender Empowerment
Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, has launched a strategic Gender Initiative for Excellence to address gender inequality in the faculty via a comprehensive long-term US$32 million programme that will involve changes of academic culture, systems and processes, together with selective recruitment.
PHOTO Supported by her professors, Tanyaradzwa Chinyukwi is working with other young change-makers to enable local women and girls in Zimbabwe and Zambia to break through the barriers of poverty and patriarchy to end the normalisation of abuse and exploitation and help them achieve their potential.
PHOTO While more women are making their way to the highest levels of academic leadership in Europe, the numbers are still shaky and many obstacles remain in their way. How can we change this and propel women to top institutional positions?
Women world leaders have warned of regressive movements gaining traction that could seek to halt and erode both multilateralism and the gains in rights for women achieved via multilateralism in recent years. University World News talks to Susana Malcorra, former foreign minister of Argentina and one of the founders of the group.
PHOTO To truly transform higher education and promote gender equality requires more than raising numbers of female students and dealing with individual cases of abuse. It needs a deeper structural approach, but an increasingly competitive global higher education sector means such approaches take a low profile.
PHOTO The PRESAGE programme at Sciences Po in France aims to transform the way gender inequalities are treated within higher education through embedding a gender perspective across the humanities and social sciences. Instead of gathering researchers in a specific unit, it promotes this approach throughout every graduate school and research centre.
Transformative Leadership: Human Capital
The growth of microcredential offerings is just one strand in a broader trend towards more continuous, more industry-aligned and competency-focused post-secondary learning and an era of greater overlap and integration between education and experience, with real-world employer projects and micro-internships.
PHOTO Studying information systems combined with leadership classes and project experience with students from multiple disciplines have enabled one young Kenyan to develop an award-winning app that could save small tea farmers billions of shillings in wasted crop.
PHOTO African start-ups are often among the most innovative because of the challenges they have to overcome. One start-up aims to succeed where many university computer science courses fail, transforming the labour market by giving Africans the IT skills they need to access the jobs of the future.
PHOTO A multicultural study in the Pacific Rim region has shown that there is a serious divide between technology – especially artificial intelligence – and society, and we desperately need universities to develop talent that can design technological and social systems simultaneously, moving towards a concurrent design of technosocial systems.
PHOTO The digital university will need to prepare for a new stage of the knowledge economy that will unify science and higher education, but it is likely to be one with fewer jobs for many and may mean universities need to rethink their purpose.
Transformative Leadership: Towards Social Equity
Undergraduate student Emmanuel Gweamee, 24, has suffered from war, discrimination and disability growing up in Liberia. But after being trained in transformative leadership at a university in the United States, he is finding practical ways to empower excluded disabled young people back in his homeland.
PHOTO Widening access to and participation in higher education is not enough to tackle social exclusion; psychological support for disadvantaged students struggling with the problems they face at university is just as important, the first World Access to Higher Education Day conference heard.
PHOTO Higher education has for years been overlooked by aid programmes. But universities in the United Kingdom, Jordan and Lebanon are partnering in a UK aid scheme helping Syrian refugees access good quality short courses that will open a pathway into formal academic qualifications.
Since it launched in Rwanda in 2013, Kepler has set up a refugee campus which combines in-person, online and on-the-job learning and has led to increased employment outcomes. It hopes to work with partners and other institutions to expand its model to other parts of the continent.
Empowering academic refugees can help to change mindsets so that refugees are regarded as a social asset rather than a cost. They can also enhance inclusion and contribute to a deeper understanding of refugees and the challenges they face in higher education.
A project inspired by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission is attempting to show how the quality of education among the country’s Indigenous people can be improved and how it can help young people to bring social and economic change to their communities.
Transformative Leadership: Social Equity in South Africa
To achieve truly transformative change, South Africa needs to develop a world-class higher education system that supports differentiated forms of education, with institutions linked to an overall developmental goal. That requires adequate incentives for different types of institutions to excel in different missions.
Transformative Leadership: 2018 Overview
Transformative leaders who inspire academics and students, and are able to help their institutions compete with more agile external providers, are critical to the future development of universities in a fast-evolving world.
For Carolyn Shields, a leading thinker on leadership education, transformative leadership means challenging how inequity impacts the most marginalised, neglected or oppressed people, but if universities are going to encourage students to change the status quo, they first need to change themselves.
What is the role of universities in driving positive change in the world? How can they prepare students to face the challenges ahead? These key questions will drive our second series on Transformative Leadership, published in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, starting this week.
Ubah Ali was six when she was circumcised in a country where 98% of girls are victims of the female genital mutilation (FGM) procedure that brings considerable pain and health risks. Empowered by higher education and transformative leadership thinking, she is working for change in her homeland, Somaliland.
Transformative Leadership Webinar: Leaders of Social Change
Can universities be crucibles of transformative leadership developing students to be capable of making an impact on society? As part of its Transformative Leadership series published in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, University World News joined DrEducation to answer this question in an international webinar held on 8 February.
Transformative Leadership: Innovation
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the first elected woman President of Mauritius, Africa’s third most developed country, is a former biodiversity scientist and champion of higher education and research on the continent. She talks to University World News about her vision for transforming the continent.
African countries must make universities engines of development. To achieve this, universities should be at the centre of sustained ecosystems of innovation and able to produce scientists who can turn ideas into businesses.
Arts and humanities research has a profound capacity to transform society and shows how innovation is not just the preserve of science and business, but can occur in everyday life.
Transformative Leadership: Internationalisation
Arthur Muneza's family fled the fighting in Rwanda when he was five. With an international scholarship, he has been able to turn his experience as a refugee, collaborating with peers from other cultures, to his advantage by working with researchers from the United States and across Africa to save the continent's giraffes from the threat of skin disease.
A recent international summit in Beijing highlights the growing role of Asian universities in social responsibility initiatives – that educate students to be transformative leaders and mobilise universities to address societal challenges – alongside innovative new approaches.
Transformative Leadership: Ethical values
There have been various attempts to narrow the scope of what universities stand for, but first and foremost universities have a commitment to seeking truth, providing ethical leadership and upholding academic freedom.
Jamil Salmi has provided policy advice to governments and university leaders in more than 90 countries. University World News invited him to discuss how higher education institutions and systems can provide and promote ethical leadership that is transformative.
Blooming Soyinka not only became the first person in her family to study in college, she earned two degrees in North America. Now she is determined to help Africa’s artisans transform their lives by showing the world that continent has beautiful skills and products to offer.
Blooming Soyinka not only became the first person in her family to study in college, she earned two degrees in North America. Now she is determined to help Africa’s artisans transform their lives by showing the world that continent has beautiful skills and products to offer.
After the global crash there was some soul-searching about business ethics and many courses started up. But do any of them work?
Investing ultimate power in strong leaders leads to ethical failures. True transformation will only happen when there is a more equal exchange, where leaders are subject to criticism and where everyone has an input into making decisions that affect them.
Developmental universities are a model for developing countries and they should have a distinct, ethical way of doing research, where the power in the relationship between researcher and research participant is evenly distributed.
Ethics should be at the heart of universities’ mission and yet there is no global body overseeing ethical behaviour. In its absence, the United Nations Academic Impact provides a way for universities around the world to commit to high standards.
Carefully crafted programmes of compulsory service and taxation can reasonably balance the interests, freedoms and opportunities of all who are affected by brain drain, offsetting the losses of those who are left behind in an ethical way.
Transformative Leadership: Gender Empowerment Debate
A debate, organised by University World News within a larger conference organised by the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, examined how universities can encourage women leaders through personal development and institutional assistance.
Transformative Leadership for Gender Empowerment
Women leaders in Afghanistan appear imposed from above, often to placate foreign donors. To truly transform Afghan society, they need to develop more links with grassroots movements and to engage with men in their families and in their communities.
At the age of 12, Malawi’s Mphangera Kamanga realised that there was a need for labour-saving technologies and improved policies to help smallholders – women in particular – to improve their yields. At 24, her potential contribution to change is being recognised at the highest levels.
Women seeking leadership ought to challenge the ways in which they are positioned by universities. Let’s flip the mentorship concept on its head, asking who needs to be mentored in order for change to happen? Let’s ask what kinds of universities we want to lead and invest our labour towards creating institutions that inspire great leadership.
Gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society, the United Nations says, but the international consensus on the need to achieve gender equality is stronger than ever – and universities have their own part to play.
United States journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana about a young woman who built a business under the Taliban and Ashley's War, the story of 20 women recruited to carry out missions for the US Army in Afghanistan, talks to University World News about women and leadership and the impact of higher education.
What can universities learn from women’s transformative leadership in politics and business? One lesson is that women tend to win top posts at times of crisis and that can shorten their time in office.
Feminist studies have been dominated by white feminists. It is time for black academics and students to transform the debate and for different forms of feminism to be part of the decolonisation movement.
Transformative Leadership for Social Equity
For years lack of teachers fuelled despair over education in Dadaab, a camp complex for 340,000 mostly Somalian refugees. An innovative higher education project involving Kenyan and international universities has brought radical improvements to teaching quality and opened up a pathway to study for a university degree in the camp. But a drastic government decision could make it very difficult for the project to continue.
Geeta Dharmarajan has dedicated her life to challenging poverty in the slums of Delhi through using the power of story and student-centred learning to transform educational achievement and questions whether Indian universities are preparing young people to think, ask questions and take action to change society for the better.
Aya Waller-Bey suffers from survivor guilt. She knows she is one of the lucky few from a mostly-black community of blue collar workers to make it to not just one but two elite universities and she is using the opportunity to tackle the injustice, inequality of opportunity, by pressing for diversity on the curriculum – and the study of hip hop.
There’s a huge focus on leadership in business schools, including transformative leadership, but with very few tangible results. A focus on visionary leaders may be too simplistic, though, and more innovative approaches are being trialled.
Transformative Leadership: An Overview
In an age of intellectual crisis at least equal to that of the late 19th century, it is in our universities that we can begin to enact the transformative thinking required to reconnect us with deeper issues of what it means to be human and create a more inclusive society.
In an age of innovation and change, universities need transformative leadership, which is characterised by moral courage and activism. In Africa this means seizing the opportunities offered by protests like #FeesMustFall to drive change.
What is the attraction of today’s scholarship programmes focused on social leadership and social enterprise and why are increasing numbers of philanthropists putting their money behind them?
Sindy Patricia Ramos Pocón had to drop out of school to help her family survive. Now she is studying at university and leading a project to help poor families change their lives with support from university staff and peer discussions on leadership.
Joseph Munyambanza was one of only four children in his refugee camp primary school to make it to secondary school. He made it his mission from the age of 14 – supported by leadership training and scholarships – to transform education opportunity and quality in his camp.
“We aim to develop the future Nelson Mandela, the next Wangari Maathai, and the African Bill Gates.” There’s nothing shy about the aims of the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa, which is preparing students not just for university but for playing a leading role on the continent.
Sponsored Article
PHOTO With an eye to developing a clean, alternative aviation fuel to reduce carbon emissions, researchers at the United Arab Emirates University have been focusing on the production of jet fuel from sustainable resources such as halophytes, which are salt-tolerant plants that could be cultivated on a wider scale in the region’s coastal areas.
Sponsored Article
PHOTO Artificial intelligence is now a part of our evolution in technology and teachers need to be encouraged to find ways to bring AI into the classroom and have students use it in a way that is beneficial to them in the long term.
Sponsored Article
PHOTO As water scarcity reaches critical levels globally, a research team at the United Arab Emirates University seeks to revolutionise seawater desalination practices, offering a path to mitigate water scarcity while championing environmental preservation.