Governance Models and the Quality of Leadership in African Universities


 World over, the contribution of higher education (HE) to development is no longer disputable. Literature abounds with examples of how universities and other higher education institutions (HEIs) contribute to socio-economic development, particularly by enhancing skills and labour productivity. However, in Sub-Saharan Africa, their contribution is still severely limited due to several factors, including leadership related challenges. But with the complex interaction between global and local forces, unprecedented growth of the HE sector, the shifts in public attitudes and the reduction in the level of public funding, HEIs require a cadre of leaders who can engage the institution and its faculty in the transformation processes. Nevertheless, improving the quality of leadership in African universities is curtailed by the governing models applied in these institutions, other factors notwithstanding.

The study seeks to categorize and analyze university governance models that were pursued by different African universities from the 1960s to date and to assess how the current models in use have impacted on the quality of leadership in these universities. The specific objectives will be to: Identify and categorize governance models that have been pursued by selected African universities for the period 1960-2010; Analyze the impact of the current models in use on the quality of leadership of these African universities; Explore the current leadership challenges facing these African universities; To examine strategies being employed by the leadership of these African universities to address the local, regional and global challenges; To identify success stories and analyze the possibility of replicating these in other institutions. The one year study commencing in June 2012 will be conducted in Makerere University, the University of Dar es Salaam and the University of Western Cape. It will employ both qualitative and quantitative approaches in order to improve the validity of the findings. Using a pre-tested and valid questionnaire and interview guide, data will be collected from the top and middle level university leadership; the Staff union and student leaderships, and the general students and staff using the Krejcie & Morgan (1970) guidelines.

The top leadership will include the Vice Chancellor or Rector, the deputies, Academic Registrar and the deputies, Directors of Units, Centres or Institutes; the middle level leadership will include the Principals of Colleges, Deans of Schools and Faculties and Chairs of Departments. The total sample of respondents will be determined when the governance structure of the three universities have been compared before the start of the study. Secondary sources of data will include documents of students’ admission, staff employment records, policy documents and research reports, journals and other relevant materials. Data quality will be ensured through several measures. Important ethical issues will be put into consideration before, during and after the study. It is hoped that the study could lead to a better understanding of how governance and other factors influence quality of leadership in these universities and recommend appropriate interventions for improving both the quality of leadership of these universities and their contribution to socio-economic development.