Leadership in Challenging Times: Back to Basics

26th September 2022

UKZN Extended Learning

– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase

On the 20th of September 2022, UKZN Extended Learning hosted the third block session with delegates from Walter Sisulu University (WSU) for the customised Leadership Development Programme (LDP). This programme aims to equip delegates with the knowledge and skills necessary to handle the behind-the-scenes activities of any higher education institution. A key focus of the discussions following this session was improving governance, strategic operations, research and academic programme execution from a leadership perspective. Higher education is constantly evolving, and academics need to utilise available avenues to improve the higher education experience for institutional leadership and students. 

A leader’s responsibility includes monitoring the institution’s operations to avoid operations eroding under incompetent leadership and appropriating resources more effectively to improve processes. It is imperative that higher education institutions continuously work at improving governance, strategic operations, and academic programmes. Keeping academic programmes and content current ensures an institution and leadership are visible and updated with the latest educational trends. Many institutions have long-term ideals that drive the mission and vision of the institution, and this determines the future actionable plans of the University. The maintenance of institutional discipline, accountability and performance management is also critical. Universities must improve their efficiency and conscientiousness when dealing with students and other stakeholders as it builds what the University stands for, thus encouraging a positive environment that prioritises efficient performance engagement.

Academic and University leadership needs to establish institutional direction and momentum. There must be clear lines of thinking between the University’s strategy and the leaders in their respective capacities that holds leaders accountable to achieve progress in the right direction. Inculcating a culture of value within the University is crucial to maintain an academic vision in alignment with the institution and its students.

Dr Zanoxolo Gobingca (Dean Faculty of Educational Sciences, WSU) shared:

“We are impressed with the way the facilitator is presenting the issue at hand. The are some valuable lessons to be deduced from the topics covered, and we are learning how to handle issues within our respective institutions appropriately. Especially when he mentioned the first-year experience and how we should be dealing with them. Upon passing Grade 12, they are now at University and need our support. “

Leadership is a gift and skill that leaders must develop over time. Leadership plays a crucial role in making sense of ambiguous and uncertain situations. An effective leader acknowledges the nature and severity of the issues, addresses the concerns of their constituents and provides clarity about the necessary actions.

UKZN Extended Learning can cater to niche needs as we provide in-house customised programmes for clients with our uniquely designed programmes that can apply across sectors and industries.

If you would like to find out more information about our Leadership Development Programme, please click here.

You can also contact us directly for more information about this programme:

Percy Sishi

T: +27 31 260 1234

E: Sishis@ukzn.ac.za