Universities are increasingly running management courses in response to industry needs whilst the challenge of management within their own institutions lingers on. The importance of building capacity of faculty members is enormous and further dovetails with the roles of academics within a continuously changing environment.
The Challenge of Management in African Higher Education Institutions
In addition to finding proactive ways of managing itself, universities today are faced with many challenges because of increasing competition at both national and international levels, and higher demands from stakeholders among others. Additionally, universities have to contend with contradictory and changing relationships within their communities and between themselves and external publics such as the government, civil society and the donor community. These dynamics have triggered the current shift towards quality assurance, entrepreneurship and accountability. University managers, both academic and administrative, have a major role to play in providing leadership, managing crisis and more importantly in guiding the transformation and repositioning processes. These new roles require changes in the competency requirements for university management positions and therefore the need for targeted and appropriate training. In Africa, training is even more imperative given that most university managers are academics with little or no management training.
The AAU’s Response
Against this background and based on the premise that effective leadership goes hand in hand with efficient institutional management, in 2003, the Association of African Universities (AAU) launched the Management Development Training Programme dubbed MADEV. MADEV aims to help develop and enhance the competencies of senior middle level university managers (Provosts, Deans of Colleges, Schools and Faculties, their Deputies, as well as Heads of Academic Departments). The MADEV strategically targets this cadre of functionaries given that university leadership is now increasingly being devolved to the departments, faculties, colleges and institutes. Broadly, MADEV aims at building managerial skills of African university managers to enable them engage strategically with the new and emerging challenges and complexity of African higher education, initiate and promote innovation, manage change, and sustain achievement. This is achieved through raising awareness on the opportunities and challenges of the higher education (HE) environment within and outside Africa; equipping university managers with skills and competences effectively lead the transformation of their universities.
Training under the MADEV Programme focuses on a select number of generic and job-specific institutional management subjects that emphasize development of managerial skills, improvement of systems, and the management of processes and procedures to enhance service delivery by this cadre of managers. The MADEV workshops are facilitated by competent African management training institutions and experts.. MADEV has its own tailor-made modules on a variety of subjects ranging from general topics like Strategic Thinking and Management to more operational and specific issues like Monitoring and Evaluation of Research Projects. See https://www.aau.org/ for a list of the current MADEV modules). Each MADEV workshop emphasizes a select theme that determines the sub-themes to be treated over a four-day period of intensive and highly interactive learning and experience-sharing sessions.
Since the launch of the MADEV, six successful workshops have been held between 2008 to 2015 in Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania, each event catering to an average of thirty participants. Altogether, 177 participants (127 males and 50 females) have been trained under the MADEV. Participants have found the programme very useful and some testify that the skills learned helped in securing higher management positions. Notable among MADEV alumni are Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang (former Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (Ghana) and currently Ghana’s Minister for Education); Dr. Jude Ssebuwufu (Director, Directorate for University Advancement, Uganda Martyrs University, Uganda); Professor Kuupole (Member of AAU Board and Vice Chancellor, University of Cape Coast, Ghana) and Professor Luckson Kaino Professor of Mathematics at the University of South Africa (South Africa).
Starting next year, given increased patronage of the MADEV workshops and to ensure wider coverage, the AAU will be introducing the MADEV Plus, a variant of the MADEV which will be at national or institutional level to minimize travel associated costs and narrow down on country specific university management challenges. The MADEV Plus will run alongside the regular regional MADEV workshops and will be delivered on demand basis. Look out for information on our web site (www.aau.org) and social network pages ( Facebook: Association of African Universities, Twitter: AAU_67, Blog : firstname.lastname@example.org)