~ Monica Mawoyo, Higher Education & Skills Development Research Consultant
The 8th Inyathelo Leadership Retreat will take place in Cape Town on 4-5 April 2016. This year the retreat will focus on "Strategies in fast changing societies: How do universities adapt (or die)?" The retreat provides a platform for university Advancement practitioners and Vice-Chancellors to reflect on the leadership and management required to effectively navigate the complex changes affecting the Higher Education sector.
Pre-amble to the 2016 Leadership Retreat
The leadership and management of contemporary universities in South Africa is complex and takes place in a fluid and highly contested environment. The need and demand for accountable and effective leadership by university executives, in particular vice-chancellors has become increasingly evident, as manifest by the challenges fore-grounded by the recent sectoral and institutional protests by students and other stakeholders. What these events illustrate is that vice-chancellors and university executives have to be more attuned to the impact of these developments and have a more nuanced approach to leading and manage change.
The underlying aim of the Retreat to is provide a platform and conducive environment for university Advancement practitioners, executive management and Vice-Chancellors to reflect on the kind of leadership required to successfully navigate complexity and change. An urgent and pertinent issue is how to make up the budgetary shortfalls, which are likely to grow as the call for free higher education continues, in an already financially stressed environment. This calls for a sharper focus on institutional Advancement, as a key strategy for fundraising into the future. Including its role in stimulating the greater involvement of relevant stakeholders in the dialogue and action needed around the funding of universities.
The key focus of the Retreat will be on managing change in times of increasing complexity. Participants will be provided with opportunities to:
- Develop informed perspectives on the context and challenges facing leaders and managers in complex and changing higher education environments;
- Explore creative and innovative thinking and approaches through expert input, self-reflection and group interactions;
- Acquire new knowledge and skills on leading and managing in crisis and complexity; and
- Formally and informally engage with other participants, exchange ideas and share experiences that support individual and institutional development.
The retreat is an annual event held in partnership with the US-based Kresge Foundation as part of the Kresge-Inyathelo Advancement Initiative. It focuses on key challenges in higher education, high level strategic issues concerned with attracting support, and the role of Advancement in ensuring adequate institutional resourcing for South Africa’s 26 universities. The gathering is aimed at Vice-Chancellors, Directors of Advancement at universities, and other senior university staff.
In February 2015 Inyathelo hosted a similar mini-retreat, "The Business and Higher Education Dialogue." The event brought together business leaders and Vice Chancellors and focused on leadership challenges in contemporary South Africa.
The November 2014 "Leadership Symposium In Philanthropy and Higher Education," focused on the nature and impact of philanthropic giving and understanding of the challenges facing leaders in the Higher Education sector.
In 2013 Inyathelo invited over a 100 leading philanthropists and business leaders to the annual retreat to discuss how they could work together with university leadership to strengthen these anchor institutions and produce the graduates and research needed to drive the country’s development. It was the first time such a group had gathered in a structured forum in an attempt to find solutions to the current challenges in higher education.
Images from the 2013 Symposium