Oliver Seale is a leadership development specialist, lecturer and researcher. He is the Director of the Higher Education Leadership and Management (HELM) programme, at Universities South Africa (USAf). Prior to that Oliver was the Director of Executive Education at the Graduate School of Business Leadership in UNISA. Some of his other former positions include, consulting as a strategist and advisor to public and private higher education institutions, acting CEO at Universities South Africa, Director in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office at Wits University, and Deputy Director General for Training Delivery at the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA).
Oliver has extensive experience in strategic planning, change management, business development, programme/project management, relationship and stakeholder management in various organisational environments. He has a keen interest in university governance, leadership and management, organisational development, performance management and leadership development. He holds a PhD in Leadership Development from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and has published various academic papers on university leadership, management, deanship and leadership development. Oliver’s book titled, ‘Deanship in the Global South: Bridging Troubled Waters,’ was published in February 2021.
Michelle Buchler holds a Master of Arts in Development Sociology, and a Higher Diploma for Educators of Adults, both from Wits. After working in academe for 8 years, Michelle worked at two leading NGOs in middle and senior management positions; both NGOs focused on education and training research and development, policy analysis and policy influence and advocacy. Michelle’s specialisation is in higher education, and she has conducted research inter alia in access issues (including RPL and adult learning, and articulation between TVET and HE), HIV/AIDs and graduate competencies, teacher development, as well as monitoring and evaluation of HE projects. Michelle has served a term on the council of the Durban University of Technology as a Ministerial appointee and has chaired a Ministerial Task Team on RPL.
Until her recent appointment at USAf, Ms Nolusindiso Kayi was the Director: University Research Support and Policy Development at the Department (Ministry) of Higher Education and Training (South Africa). Prior to joining the Department, she worked for a number of universities in research management including, Stellenbosch University, University of the Western Cape and University of Cape Town. Her portfolios focused on supporting and advancing research in South Africa mainly in research grants management and support for early career researchers, policy development for higher education, supporting internationalisation of higher education in South Africa (including management of the BRICS portfolio) and evaluation of research and creative outputs. She has also worked for the National Research Foundation – a granting agency.
Ms Kayi, holds a MTech: Business Administration Degree from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Molatelo Clara Motswe is currently the HELM programme Administrative Officer. She joined USAf in 2019. She brings with her, project administration experience from the Centre for Education Policy Development, which she joined in 2008 and served it until it closed down in 2017. A stint at the Wits University’s Centre for Researching Education and Labour, where among other projects she co-ordinated the student leadership programme, broadening her exposure to the higher education sector. “I enjoy devising solutions to challenges arising from planning an event, be it a conference, a workshop or a social gathering.” In her spare time she enjoys reading political leaders’ biographies (local and international) and outdoor activities.
Tiisetso Mahlaela has been with the University of South Africa for more than nine years. He has accumulated experience in different roles he occupied with UNISA, including being a champion for Disability matters and advocating for students with special needs. He further worked closely with the Project Management Office of UNISA and was required to look into issues of project governance and Support projects in executing deliverables. Mr. Mahlaela looks forward to engaging and interrogating issues of Student Success on a national level and working with the various universities in achieving this. He brings the right skills required and knowledge of the Higher Education sector.
Prof Denise Zinn is the HELM Programme Leader for the Women in Leadership Programme. Previously she was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning & Teaching and Nelson Mandela University, and before that served for two terms as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, first at the University of Fort Hare, and then at Mandela University. She has spent the last 3 decades in Higher Education in South Africa, after completing a Master’s and Doctorate in Education at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education in the USA. She has served on several boards including the Harvard Educational Review (where she was also co-chair), Umalusi, HERS-SA, the USAf Deans Forum, and DVC TL forum. As an educational consultant she has been engaged in a range of research and support projects, with the largest being the Tertiary Education Linkages Project (TELP) where she was responsible for the Gender Equity Milestone over a period of 5 years, and worked with 17 HDIs to support development projects.
Birgit Schreiber was the senior director Student Affairs, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She has worked in Higher Education for the past 25 years, in South Africa (UCT, UWC and others) and across the Southern African region in a variety of leadership positions and leading trans-national research projects. She received her MA in Psychology and PhD in Educational Psychology. She has served and read at universities in Europe and the USA, including University of California, Berkeley, UK Leuven, NYU, and some others. She serves on the executive of various national and international professional organizations including the International Association of Student Affairs and Services (IASAS), for which she served as the Africa Chair and now as the Vice President.
Birgit has published over 50 articles and chapters on the topics of student affairs, student engagement, higher education policy and social justice. Birgit edited a global reference book for UNESCO on student affairs across the globe and is currently involved in a monograph for New Directions in Higher Education. She was the founding member and is on the editorial executive of the accredited academic Journal for Student Affairs in Africa (JSAA), on the board of the Journal for College Student Development (JCSD) and she is the column editor of the Journal for College and Character (JCC). Birgit is an associate of the higher education umbrella body Universities South Africa (USAf) and a member of the Africa Centre for Transregional Research at the Albert-Ludwig-Universität Freiburg, Germany.
Dr Carolyn J. Stefancois a global higher education and women’s leadership expert. Following two decades as a tenured professor of history, she held positions as dean, vice president, and president in both public and private universities in the United States. She also served as resident director of a London Study Program, Senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, higher education consultant for Saudi Arabia, trustee and board chair at the American University in Bulgaria, and board member of the International Leadership Association. While president, she founded a women’s leadership institute and raised millions of dollars in support of diverse women’s leadership. Along with the roles she has held in U.S. and international higher education, Dr. Stefanco is a sought-after speaker on women’s issues, publishes regularly in popular and scholarly venues, and serves on numerous boards. She was awarded a Helen Gurley Brown Foundation Genius Award in recognition of her decades of achievement. Dr. Stefanco earned a Ph.D. in history from Duke University, an M.A. in women’s history from Binghamton University, and a B.A. in history and a women’s studies certificate from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
She now serves as founder and CEO of Baret Leadership Consulting, where she offers executive coaching to individuals, and assistance with global engagement and board development to universities and organizations.
Patrick FitzGerald is an independent consultant working in the areas of Higher Education and Public Management. Until end-2019 he served as Executive Director: Special Projects at Sol Plaatje University in Kimberley, Northern Cape Province. After a period in exile he returned to South Africa in 1990 when he founded the Graduate School of Public & Development Management at Wits University (now renamed Wits School of Governance). His former positions include Head of the (Gauteng) Premier’s Strategic Management Team, Chair of the Gauteng Provincial Service Commission, Director-General of the national Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism, and co-ordinator of the extensive academic and support service restructuring of Wits University in the capacity of Director: Wits 2001. In 2001/2 he served as Administrator and Interim Vice-Chancellor of the University of the North (now University of Limpopo), where he facilitated the reconstruction and transformation of the University.
Re-joining Wits University he served another term as Head of the School of Public & Development Management, as Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Law & Management, and for 6 years as Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Finance & Operations. He was the founding Chair of Council for the merged Walter Sisulu University and was also appointed for a year as the Administrator of Vaal University of Technology (VUT). He is the author and/or editor of several books and has authored a number of Journal Articles. Patrick holds the degrees of B.A. (Wits) and MPA (Liverpool).
Brightness Mangolothi is a Director for HERS-SA, which specialises on Women Leaders Development in Higher Education. A former Public Relations and Communication Studies, Head of Department at Nelson Mandela University and Head of Programme Faculty of Arts IIE – AdvTech. She has more than a decade lecturing experience at public and private universities. A former Public Relations Institute in Southern Africa (PRISA) Board Member. She is a trained Transformational Conversation Facilitator and has presented and chaired national and international conferences. She is a 2015 Standard Bank Rising Star Finalist. Brightness has been featured in major South African media outlets.
Dr Bernadette Johnson is the Director: Transformation and Employment Equity at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is an accredited CEDR (UK) and Conflict Dynamic (RSA) Mediator and Thoughtsmiths Certified Coach. She provides support to Heads of Departments, Heads of Schools and Deans in navigating the complexities of social justice and anti-discrimination work at Wits. She is interested in the praxis of transformation within its contextual and epistemological diversity. Her work includes anti-discrimination investigations and alternative dispute resolution; grant proposal writing for academic transitions and academic citizenship training on black academics; social justice interventions and awareness training; stakeholder engagement; and Employment Equity and B BB EE. She chairs the Institutional Forum at Wits and is a member of the university’s Council. She has also served as the Ministerial Representative on the UNISA Council as well as the Ministerial Team which led to the establishment of the University of Mpumalanga. She has 25 years of experience in Higher Education with 14 years at Executive and Senior Management level in the university, government and the non-governmental sector. She has also worked on the National Committee for the Next Generations of Black Scholars Programme which formed the foundation of the now nGap Programme in universities. Other areas include her work at PALAMA facilitating Strategic Planning, Strategic Leadership and Change Management to senior government official in South Africa, Lesotho, Burundi, South Sudan and Rwanda. She has also worked at the Southern Research and Innovation Managers Association (SARIMA) as Research Project Manager. As an academic with association to the Wits School of Education she continues to supervise postgraduate students and remains research active.
Dr Kgomotso Kasonkola is the Senior Director: Human Resources at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He is a registered Industrial Psychologist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). He represent the HR Directors’ Forum in the Association of Commonwealth Universities’ (ACU) HR Steering Committee and is the Chairperson of the HR Directors’ Forum under the auspices of USAf. He obtained his PhD (Organisational Behaviour) from the University of Pretoria, with a dissertation entitled ‘Criteria for workplace-effective mobility of people with disabilities in South Africa’.