More than twenty higher education chief executive officers gathered in Doha, Qatar, from 25-28 October 2013, for the Fourth Annual WISE Program for Education Leadership. Developed by the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) in partnership with the Institute for International Education (IIE), the program seeks to prepare newly appointed presidents, rectors, and vice chancellors for the personal and professional challenges of leading their respective institutions. The program was hosted and sponsored by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.
Program topics included innovation as a leadership style, managing change, the role of the university within local and global communities, self-awareness as a component of leadership, and the establishment of realistic institutional and personal goals. The program employed a variety of formats, including case studies and one-on-one mentoring, to achieve its goals.
Speakers included Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell, IAUP Executive Board member and president of Tubman University in Liberia, and Dr. Allan Goodman, IAUP Board of Senior Advisors Member and President of IIE, and Mr. Wilfred Brewer, an international leadership consultant and President of Performance-Solutions-Group, Inc.
According to Brewer, who has worked with all four cohorts of WISE leadership program participants, the program acknowledges that most higher education leaders are trained in a particular academic discipline, rather than in leadership or management. In order to be effective in their new roles, they need to cultivate new habits of mind – emotional intelligence and, above all, self-awareness –, while unlearning habits that may have served them well as teachers and researchers.
Brewer said, “Our hope is that these leaders will apply what they have learned to their diverse institutional contexts, and that they will themselves serve as more effective coaches and mentors to their own executive leadership teams and junior administrators.”
Each participant participated in an emotional intelligence assessment, designed to identify behavioral strengths and weaknesses. Program Participant Shawn Chen, President of SIAS International University in China, said, “My [emotional intelligence] assessment was remarkably accurate, supplemented by the valuable one-on-one feedback and coaching from Wil [Brewer] to provide additional insights and recommendations. The follow-up training for all participants linked the self-awareness flowing from the assessment and coaching to key leadership concepts that are relevant to my role as a university president.”
For the first time, the idea of “innovation” served as an overarching theme of the leadership program, which is part of the Qatar Foundation’s WISE Initiative. Immediately following the leadership program, participants attended the 2013 World Innovation Summit on Education (WISE), a leading showcase for innovations across education sectors, including higher education. IAUP and IIE have served as WISE partners from the start of the initiative in 2009.
According to IAUP President Neal King, the WISE Program for Education Leadership, like IAUP itself, offers participants safe space for candid discussions of shared challenges. King said, “This program was very much the brainchild of [former IAUP President] Michael Adams, who recognized the importance of peer mentorship for university leaders. He wanted all university presidents to know that they are not alone.”
2013 Program participants included:
José Cyrano Ruiz Cabarrús
Universidad da Vinci de
Sias International University
Saint Joseph University of Beirut
Samdani Golam Fakir
Green University of Bangladesh
Principal & Chief Executive
Rongo University College
Sadhna Devi Juwaheer
Fashion and Design Institute
Bangladesh Open University
Ghana Institute of Management & Public Administration
The Copperbelt University
University of Karachi
Erbil Polytechnic University
Acting Vice Chancellor
Institut Teknologi Brunei
Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi
Rungano Jonas Zvobgo
Great Zimbabwe University