Leadership as a lens to strengthen higher education for stronger science systems in Africa
This project will support the efforts of the African Leadership Centre to respond to the gendered inequalities in leadership in higher education, research, and science systems in Africa. Focusing on four universities in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, the project will examine barriers to women’s leadership and use this evidence to support learning, mentoring, and networking opportunities for aspiring women leaders in higher education and research systems.
Identifying leadership as a process of influence and transformation toward more inclusive leadership approaches and culture shifts, the project will seek to understand how female/feminist leadership can contribute to more inclusive learning, research, and education systems and strengthen the capacity of a cohort of aspiring women leaders in the selected universities. The intergenerational exchange, leadership clinics, and participatory action research approach around transformative leadership brings a unique approach to building capacity for African universities.
The contribution will be two-fold. It will advance a shift in how leadership is understood in universities by moving away from leadership as a position and towards leadership as an interactive/collaborative process. It will also develop a new leadership framework that redefines leadership types, styles, and pathways. The institutionalized framework for inclusive leadership development, combined with coaching and mentoring programs, will help attract and retain women in leadership roles in universities and transform African university systems, with eventual impacts on science systems and society more generally.