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Leading and Managing the University in Africa for Disruption, Complexity and Change.

The temptation exists to posit the idea of normality at the end of global disruption, like the Covid-19 pandemic. A new normal perhaps, but a recognisable future based on past configurations. The Higher Education Leadership and Management (HELM) Virtual Summit, seeks to interrogate this notion and tease out what a post-pandemic world means for the university, for leadership, for teaching and learning and the very future of higher education.

The HELM Virtual Summit will be driven by four novel assumptions. The first is that virtual engagement necessitates an increased opportunity for dynamic participation and interaction given the context of uncertainty and complexity, for leadership. For this reason, the plenary inputs will be brief, provocative and will encourage further reflective questions and discussion in the break-away sessions. Secondly, the anticipated financial impact of COVID’s economic stagnation on higher education in South Africa and further afield on the Continent; its future sustainability and how it will force the institutions’ leadership and stakeholders to fundamentally change their thinking and ways of doing business. Thirdly, the topics discussed will be formulated, as far as possible, as questions to stimulate ‘generative conversations’ as new thinking is needed, in terms of leadership and management in universities. Fourthly, that collaboration will create far more supported and sustainable universities, empowered leadership cadres and a relevant and responsive university system.

Summit Themes:

  • Leadership in complexity and change
  • Developing sustainable, resilient universities
  • Developing critical, compassionate and creative citizens
  • Research and innovation
  • What technology disruption means for the university
  • Institutional cultures in an age of complexity


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