American Fellows explore leadership in South African universitiesDate Released: Fri, 23 May 2014 16:00 +0200
Fellows from America’s most visible and influential higher education association the American Council on Education (ACE), which represents the presidents of more than 1,800 US accredited member institutions and degree-granting institutions, visited Rhodes University recently to explore leadership in the South African context.
During their trip to South Africa, the fellows did a tour of South African universities including the University of Stellenbosch, the University of the Free State and the University of Zululand and engaged with their respective Vice-Chancellors.
The ACE Fellows Program helps ensure that higher education’s future leaders are ready to take on real-world challenges and serve the capacity-building needs of their institutions. This includes developing a network of higher education leaders across the US and abroad. The program enables participants to immerse themselves in the culture, policies, and decision-making processes of another institution.
With the aim of tackling a range of challenges to the higher education sector, ACE comprises representatives from a range of diverse sectors. During their visit to Rhodes the fellows met with outgoing Vice-Chancellor Dr Saleem Badat, Academic and Student Affairs Dr Sizwe Mabizela Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Development Dr Peter Clayton and Deputy Vice Chancellor, as well as Distinguished Professor Tebello Nyokong, DST/NRF Chair Medicinal Chemistry and Nanotechnology and Ms Orla Quinlan, Director of Internationalisation at Rhodes.
The ACE fellows group were joined by Professor Rebecca Surender, Oxford University Proctor in 2013, for part of the day. Prof Surrender recently joined Rhodes University as a Visiting Professor at the Institute for Social policy and Economic Research (ISER).
According to Ms Orla Quinlan, the fellows were very impressed with their experience at Rhodes which included their visit to Distinguished Professor Tebello Nyokong’s lab and a guided tour of the broader Grahamstown area and the campus.
“They attended a presentation about our contemporary academic offerings, and our internationalisation policy and practice,” said Ms Quinlan.
Professor Jeff Ramsdel, who had co-ordinated the group’s visit was appreciative of the full and valuable itinerary commenting that “the hospitality was fantastic” and that “higher education is facing challenging yet exciting times and it is very enlightening to explore other institutions around the world.
“Ultimately, we learn that there are far fewer differences between us than there are similarities and that it is beneficial to collaborate on solutions that will lead to a more inclusive educated society world-wide. We saw many possibilities for collaboration during our visit and we hope to grow the professional relationships we have begun,” said Prof Ramsdel.
The delegation included Professor in the Department of Technology and Environmental Design at Appalachian State University and Director, Appalachian Energy Center, Jeffrey E. Ramsdell; Dr Julia Myers Ross, Special Assistant to the Provost for Inter-Institutional Research Initiatives; Dr Charles W. Richardson, Marketing Professor at Clark Atlanta University; Joel L. Frater, Assistant Provost for Diversity at the College at Brockport, State University of New York; Professor and Head of the Division of Construction Engineering and Management as well as Professor of Civil Engineering at Purdue University, Makarand Hastak; Dr Cynthia McGowan, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Merrimack College.
Photo: International Office Director, Ms Orla Quinlan.