Day two – Thursday 28 July

Plenary 2 – Universities, faith and tolerance


Do universities hold common views of tolerance and freedom of expression? Leaders of faith-based universities from Africa, Asia, and Europe discuss how their work can contribute to common understanding.

Prof Sebastian Kim

Sebastian KimProf Sebastian Kim is Chair in Theology and Public Life at York St John University, UK. He is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and the author, co-author, and editor of many publications, including Cosmopolitanism, religion and the public sphere. Prior to joining York St John University, he was Director of the Christianity in Asia Project and taught World Christianity at the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge, UK. He was previously Visiting Lecturer at Union Biblical Seminary, India, and Henry Martyn Lecturer at the Cambridge Theological Federation.

Prof Gerald Pillay

Gerald PillayProf Gerald Pillay is Vice-Chancellor and Rector of Liverpool Hope University, UK. He is a citizen of New Zealand and the UK, and was born in South Africa. He is widely published and has a distinguished academic career, with teaching experience in South Africa, New Zealand, and the USA. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy and Theology degree, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by Hope College, USA. He is a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Deputy Lieutenant for Merseyside.

Dr Ahmad Kawesa Sengendo

Dr SengendoDr Ahmad Kawesa Sengendo has been Rector of the Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) since 2003 – the first Ugandan to serve in this post. He has had a distinguished career at IUIU, which he joined when the university opened its doors in 1988, serving as University Secretary from 1988-2001, and Vice-Rector from 2001-2003.

Prior to joining IUIU, he was a Lecturer at Makerere University, Uganda. Dr Sengendo holds a BSc and MSc from Makerere University, and a PhD from the University of Kansas, USA, where he was a Fulbright Scholar.

Ven Prof Gallelle Sumanasiri Thero

Ven Prof Gallale TheroVen Prof Gallelle Sumanasiri Thero has been Vice-Chancellor of the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka since 2014. Previously, he was Dean of the Faculty of Buddhist Studies and Head of the Department of Religious Studies. Prof Thero is an esteemed scholar and researcher who has published widely in several languages. He studied Buddhist Philosophy at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, and obtained his MPhil and PhD from the University of Delhi, India. He is a member of the Presidential Advisory Board on national peace and reconciliation, and of the Presidential Intellectual Advisory Board on religious affairs.

Concurrent session C1: Responsibilities in international partnerships


Prof Jan Thomas

Prof Jan ThomasThere's much work to be done: international partnerships as a foundation for a peaceful and prosperous global community

In 1927, the great American philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey published a book titled The Public and its Problems. In this work, he tackles problems and challenges arising from social and political considerations, which have remained relevant into the 21st century. His line of reasoning led him to describe his vision for a global 'Great Community', composed of democratic, participatory, collaborative, and interdependent societies coexisting peacefully and harmoniously. While still struggling to be realised, Dewey's great vision remains potent and relevant to our contemporary trouble-torn world.

As major institutions of the societies they serve, universities have an important role to play in forging the global community. Transnational dialogue, networks, partnerships, and mobility all serve to break down barriers and create interdependencies based on mutual benefits and respect.

This presentation will examine how the opportunities provided by the unique international network that the Association of Commonwealth Universities represents can contribute to the foundations for a peaceful and prosperous global community.

Prof Jan Thomas is Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. Prior to this, she was Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Notre Dame Australia from 2010-2012, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Murdoch University, Australia, from 2003-2010. She is Chair of the ACU Council and of the Regional Universities Network, and Chairperson of the State Library Board of Queensland. Prof Thomas is a strong advocate for the transformative role of education, both as a mechanism for social justice and as a key driver for national productivity and innovation.

Dr Peter Mascher

Peter MascherThe McMaster model for global engagement - forward with integrity

Global engagement is a response to the complex ways in which globalisation has changed the world we live in. It sees the many challenges of the contemporary world – climate change, poverty, health, human rights, peace, and justice – as requiring a form of global responsibility. Global engagement also speaks to the emergence of new institutional spaces through which this responsibility can be realised.

As part of its vision for internationalisation, McMaster University is developing a transformational model, based on the following principles:

  • Engagement with the global community and establishment of partnerships guided by integrity, reciprocity, reflexivity, sustainability, and transformation
  • Support of research and academic excellence through strength and selectivity in international partnerships
  • Fostering of global citizenry among students, faculty, and staff through institutional participation in global initiatives
  • Integration of globalisation in the student experience, both on campus and through international mobility

This presentation will report on the progress that McMaster has made towards achieving these goals, and discuss the impact on both the university's international partnerships and the local community.

Dr Peter Mascher has been Associate Vice-President of International Affairs at McMaster University, Canada, since 2014. He obtained a PhD in Engineering Physics in 1984 from the Graz University of Technology, Austria, and joined McMaster University in 1989. He is a Professional Engineer and a Professor in the Department of Engineering Physics, having chaired the department for six years. Previously, he served as Associate Dean (Research and External Relations) of the Faculty of Engineering, with responsibility for coordinating major research initiatives. He is an Honorary Professor at Nanjing Tech University, China, and Vice-Chair of Nano Ontario.

Further speakers TBA

Concurrent session C2: How far can universities meet labour market needs?


The world of work is changing at an ever-increasing pace and in ways that are hard to predict. At the same time, the number of university graduates is expanding, and the relationship between students and universities is becoming more 'customer' driven. How can and should universities respond to these shifts? What responsibility do they hold to students, the private sector, government, and society?

Prof Jonas Redwood-Sawyerr

Jonas Redwood-SawyerThe changing dynamics of the university and job market partnership: The University of Sierra Leone experience

There is increasing disenchantment among employers, concerning the mismatch between graduates' qualifications and their on-the-job performance. This has lead to a crisis of confidence about the relevance of university programmes to the world of work, and the development of a qualified cadre of leaders for the future.

The lack of soft skills taught in most of our curricula fuels the inadequacy of our graduates to meet the expectations of employers for an immediately productive engagement upon employment. This disconnect in the students' ability is also lamented by tertiary institutions. The certificates students are required to submit to gain admission often bear little ressemblance to the initial competence of its holders during their studies, thereby bringing into question the authenticity of the certificate or the genuineness of the holders.This situation therefore presents a double jeopardy, both at the entry and exit points of our educational system's value chain, and a worrisome concern about the quality of our potential leaders.

The paper will discuss this situation in general, drawing from the University of Sierra Leone's experience, and present steps being taken to address these challenges.

Prof Jonas Redwood-Sawyerr is former Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sierra Leone, and served as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Fourah Bay College, one of the constituent colleges of the university, prior to that position. He now lectures as Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Fourah Bay College. He served as Chairman of the West African Examinations Council from 2009-2012. He is a Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, UK. He is also a Fellow of the Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers.

Lynette Ntuli

Lynette NtuliLynette Ntuli is Chairperson of the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs – Southern Africa, which formed earlier this year. She is passionate about youth development and leadership, and is one of the Founding Directors and Chair of IgniteSA – a youth-orientated digital platform that curates content about education, skills, and entrepreneurial development. Lynette is also CEO of Innate Investment Solutions, a South African company that manages property, infrastructure, and other assets. She is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper.

Ashwin Fernandes

Ashwin FernandesAshwin Fernandes is Regional Director for the Middle East, Africa and India at QS Quacquarelli Symonds. QS runs the World, Asian and Arab University Rankings, as well as various key regional events, such as QS-MAPLE, which brings together delegates from across the region to focus on key issues in the higher education sector.

Concurrent session C3: Ensuring that research benefits society: institutional approaches


For research evidence to have the greatest possible social impact, universities worldwide are striving to better institutionalise research uptake strategies, systems, and processes. In this session, university leaders from four partner universities in the DFID-supported Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRUSSA) programme share their insights and approaches to embedding research uptake in their own institutions and bringing university research into wider use.

Ernest AryeeteyProf Ernest Aryeetey

Prof Ernest Aryeetey is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana and a Professor of Economics. He was previously a Senior Fellow and Director of the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution, USA. He was also Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana from 2003-2010. Prof Aryeetey's research work focuses on the economics of development with an interest in institutions and their role in development, regional integration, economic reforms, financial systems in support of development, and small enterprise development.

Celestino ObuaProf Celestino Obua

Prof Celestino Obua has been Vice-Chancellor of Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Uganda, since 2014. He is a renowned physician, pharmacologist, and academic. Prior to his current post, he was Deputy Principal of Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Uganda.

Romeela MoheeProf Romeela Mohee

Prof Romeela Mohee is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mauritius – the first woman to hold this post. She has 26 years of academic experience as a Professor and Head of Department in the field of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, and was Dean of the Faculty of Engineering from 2009-2012. She holds a personal Chair in Chemical and Environmental Engineering; is Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineers, UK; and is a member of the ACU Council. She has received a number of prestigious awards, the latest being the conferment of the National Order of Merit from President of the French Republic.

Dr Prins Nevhutalu

Prins NevhutaluResearch uptake at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology: producing knowledge outputs which make a difference

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) is a young institute, which has firmly established a path towards our vision 'To be at the heart of technology education and innovation in Africa'.

This is underpinned by our long-term strategy, which seeks 'To unlock the potential of staff, students and partners to excel in research, technology and innovation that offer solutions to the needs of society'. CPUT's recently adopted research uptake strategy and policy framework consolidates a number of interventions and actions, stemming from our involvement in the Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRUSSA) programme. It directs us to develop our human resource capacity, institutional policies and systems, to ensure our research output is communicated effectively and applied within appropriate societal contexts.

In the South African context, the higher education mission is underpinned by the long term goals of the National Development Plan (NDP) – Vision 2030, which encourages universities to ensure knowledge outputs have a greater impact on economic and social transformation, and play a more active role in development.

This paper will discuss CPUT's transition to a research uptake ethos, which will enable CPUT to contribute to the economic and social development of South Africa and the African continent.

Dr Prins Nevhutalu has been Vice-Chancellor of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa, since 2014. Prior to this, he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at the University of Zululand, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Partnerships at Tshwane University of Technology, both in South Africa. He was also Executive Director of the National Research Foundation, where he developed programmes to build research capacity for women and black researchers. Dr Nevhutalu carried out groundbreaking biochemical research for his PhD in the USA. He has published in scientific journals, and currently serves on several boards and trusts.

Concurrent session C4: The future of Commonwealth Scholarships


This session will explore future developments of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP), as it approaches its 60th anniversary, and report on the work of the CSFP Taskforce.

Prof Crispus Kiamba

Crispus KiambaProf Crispus Kiamba is former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He has also previously served as CEO of Kenya's Commission for Higher Education; Permanent Secretary of the Kenyan Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology; and Member of Kenya's National Economic and Social Council. He is presently Chair of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) Taskforce, and a Board Member of the UNESCO-affiliated International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation. He has been an Evaluator for the World Bank African Higher Education Centres of Excellence Project, and continues to serve as a member of a consultative advisory group.

Richard Middleton

Richard MiddletonRichard Middleton was appointed Chair of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC) in 2015, after serving as a Commissioner and Chair of the CSC's Finance Committee. He has extensive experience of leading change management projects in the university, health, and charity sectors. Richard was previously Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services) at Middlesex University, UK, and held executive-level positions at several UK universities. He also led the Accident & Emergency, Emergency Care, and Medical Specialties teams at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, UK, and was Director of Operations at the Medical Research Council Laboratories in the Gambia.

Concurrent session D1: Ensuring that research benefits society


This session will examine how universities can maximise the social impact of their research, featuring examples from Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Prof David Morrison

David MorrisonProf David Morrison is Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation at Murdoch University, Australia. He is a registered Organisational Psychologist, and holds postgraduate degrees from universities in the UK. Prior to his current appointment, he was a Winthrop Professor at the University of Western Australia, and Head of the School of Psychology in the Faculty of Life and Physical Sciences. He has been a Chief Investigator on a range of Australian Research Council research grants, is a Chartered Member of the Australian Human Resources Institute, and sits on the steering committee of the Australia-Africa Universities Network.

Prof Cheryl Potgieter

Cheryl PotigieterProf Cheryl Potgieter is Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa. She is widely respected as an academic and psychologist, and is well-known for her work as an advocate for gender equality and women's empowerment.

Prof Potgieter has held the positions of Director and Head of the Department of Women and Gender Studies at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa; Founding Director and Head of the Gender and Development Research Unit at the Human Sciences Research Council; and University Dean of Research at UKZN.

Concurrent session D2: New directions for undergraduate education


Universities are faced with increasing tensions in maintaining the integrity of the undergraduate curriculum. This session, along with E4, will explore how these tensions might be balanced – between the merits of a traditional liberal arts education and increasing demand for applied and career-focused courses; between teaching and scholarship; and between financial sustainability, student demands, and academic rigour.

Dr Ralph Nilson

Ralph NilsonCommunity-university-industry collaborations for reconciliation: the Shqwi qwal for Indigenous Dialogue at Vancouver Island University

Vancouver Island University (VIU) is a national leader in advancing reconciliation with First Nations communities through partnerships and transformative collaborations. VIU established the Shqwi qwal (speaker) for Indigenous Dialogue initiative to support the implementation of the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) 2015 report.

The mandate of the Shqwi qwal is to develop and increase knowledge, while fostering understanding between indigenous peoples and the public, private, and corporate sectors, through dialogue sessions, research, public policy papers, and partnerships, especially in the areas of education and the economy.

The Shqwi qwal supported four major dialogues in 2015 between industry, university, and First Nations leaders. These roundtables were an overwhelming success, helping to foster meaningful partnerships between industry and First Nations leaders, and provide an exchange of ideas on an emerging economic model based on respect and recognition of First Nations title and rights.

This presentation will highlight how the establishment of the Shqwi qwal supports reconciliation. This evolving model invites industry to be collaborators and enhances their responsiveness to First Nations communities. The university serves at the nexus of these dialogues, supporting capacity building for members of the First Nations communities and aligning education with industry needs.

Dr Ralph Nilson has been President and Vice-Chancellor of Vancouver Island University (VIU), Canada, since 2007. Under his leadership, VIU is evolving as a values-based institution and has become recognised as a national leader in advancing reconciliation through partnership with indigenous communities, and advocating for and investing in transformational change. He has worked at various universities in the USA and Canada, and his continued engagement with issues of population health supports the developmental focus of his work on the social determinants of health, and in particular his emphasis on education as key to addressing issues of inequity.

Dr Robert Campbell

Robert CampbellMaintaining the integrity of the undergraduate curriculum: squaring the circle

Traditional liberal arts and science universities such as Mount Allison face a dilemma. They must provide an undergraduate curriculum that maintains academic quality, while satisfying contemporary socioeconomic expectations.

Canadian enrolments in traditional areas such as the humanities are falling, while increasing in career preparatory, applied areas, and contemporary issues. Can one 'square the circle' and maintain traditional high-quality arts and science programming that appeals to contemporary students, parents, and governments? Universities should address this challenge from all angles.

Firstly, universities should develop a coherent suite of 'experiential' programmes that extend learning from the classroom into society, including international exchanges, internships, placements, and research projects. These programmes should be coordinated and evaluated centrally for quality assurance, involve coherent connection to the core curriculum, and comprise a reflective student evaluation.

Secondly, university departments should establish why they are losing enrolments and adjust their curriculum content and teaching methods to address this. This does not require dumbing down. Rather, it should comprise an honest, tactical process that ensures students, parents, and governments understand why this material is important in preparing students for life beyond university.

I predict that universities which square this circle will flourish.

Dr Robert Campbell CM has been President and Vice-Chancellor of Mount Allison University, Canada, since 2006. He was previously Dean at Wilfrid Laurier University and Trent University, both in Canada. He has been Chair of the Atlantic Association of Universities, and on the Board Executive of Universities Canada. Dr Campbell gained his doctorate at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. He is the author of nine books focused on Canadian political economy and public policy, and most recently on postal policy. He edited and chaired the board of the Journal of Canadian Studies. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2015, in recognition of his contributions to academia.

Further speakers TBA

Concurrent session D3: Working with Africa: barriers and opportunities


This session will feature perspectives from funders and African institutions on the principal incentives, barriers, and opportunities for establishing and maintaining successful partnerships with universities in Africa.

Prof John Grainger

John GraingerA new, effective model of international tertiary education in Ghana

Lancaster University Ghana is the only UK branch campus in sub-Saharan Africa and is already offering genuine benefits to the tertiary sector in west Africa. The Accra campus, established in 2013, provides a unique opportunity for talented students and academics who might not otherwise have engaged with overseas higher education. In addition, this new model of tertiary education provides novel research and mobility opportunities,, and offers all the strengths and benefits of the home campus to African students.

The significant annual outflow of students has a proven negative effect on development in Africa – many future leaders remain overseas on graduation, contributing to 'brain drain' effect. The outflow of education-related expenses also poses a challenge to local economies and a drain on foreign exchange reserves.

Studying for a UK degree in Ghana allows students to remain within their comfort zone and support group, while achieving significant savings for their parents or sponsors. Student exchange and faculty research programmes help build positive and enduring relationships between the UK, the Commonwealth and beyond.

This paper will demonstrate that the international branch campus model is effectively developing the skilled leaders of tomorrow by engaging the university, government, and corporate sectors in a dynamic partnership.

Prof John Grainger is Provost of Lancaster University Ghana (LUG). His alma mater is Murdoch University, Australia, and he has been teaching for almost 30 years at universities in Australia, Singapore, the UK, Dubai, and now Ghana. He is passionate about teaching, a life-long learner, and an early adopter of technology in education. He was previously Pro Vice-Chancellor of Murdoch University Dubai, and moved to Ghana in 2013 to assume his present role. LUG is the only UK branch campus on the sub-Saharan African mainland, and the optimistic pacesetter for new, efficient, quality university opportunities in Africa.

Prof Michael Faborode

Michael FaborodeProf Michael Faborode, a registered Professional Agricultural Engineer, is Secretary-General of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities. He was Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, from 2006-2011, and President of the West African Society for Agricultural Engineering from 2002-2004. He received his BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) and his PhD from Newcastle University, UK. Prof Faborode is a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering. His research interests include biomaterial properties and bioprocess engineering, technology policy, technology, gender, and development.

Prof Hannah Akuffo

Hannah AkuffoProf Hannah Akuffo is Deputy Head of Unit and Senior Advisor (Research Cooperation) at the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), where she is charged with improving bilateral research cooperation within universities in partner countries. She is also the Swedish representative within the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), Board Member of the Training and Research in Tropical Diseases (TDR) programme, Chair of ESSENCE on Health Research, and Adjunct Professor of Parasitology at the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. Prof Akuffo is passionate about research capacity and is convinced of its key role for countries to define and address their own questions.

Concurrent session D4: Visions of social responsibility


Prof Olawale Moronkola

Prof MoronkolaUniversities in Africa: a call for utilisation of potential for impactful social responsibility for sustainable growth

African universities often concern themselves with training young people and developing human capital in their countries. However, many do not seem as concerned about the realities that their host communities face on a daily basis.

If universities in Africa have to create a brand, and have a vision and mission, they must see social responsibility as a core value that can help them stand out. It pays in the short, medium, and long run to make a commitment to social responsibility. Universities must foster corporate social responsibility through their various programmes and action plans, and clearly define who really benefits, while developing new strategies to broaden their activities for the good of society.

Corporate social responsibility can focus on contributing to the emergence and sustaining of democratic governance; shaping public policy; contributing to the health and educational needs of the people; providing flexible training opportunities for human capital development; and strengthening civil society activities.

Universities have great potential to contribute to society through such corporate social responsibility activities. This presentation will address how to overcome the potential obstacles, and how engaging in these activities can help universities be seen as responsible – rather than elitist – institutions across Africa.

Prof Olawale Akanbi Moronkola is Professor of Health Education and Curriculum Studies, and former Dean of Education, at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is also currently the National President of Nigerian School Health Education, and Chairman of the Nigeria Visitation Panel at Bowen University, Nigeria. His teaching, research, publications, and consultancy are in the areas of school health education, teacher capacity building, special education, curricula, and higher education.

Prof Arun Diwaker Nath Bajpai

Prof BajpaiEthics, freedom and responsibility: a holistic vision of a university

It is well known that knowledge is power. In fact, it is not just power but, as Mahatma Gandhi pointed out, 'it...ultimately gives salvation'.

Defining a responsible university, therefore, would entail the idea of an institution which lives up to the ideals of social responsibility and sustainability. A responsible university must strive to create an innovative environment and efficient organisation, which together contribute to the discovery and transfer of new knowledge, where the economic, social, environmental, and ethical dimensions of sustainable development are ensured.

The environmental dimension includes not only the consumption of energy and water, but also measures to ensure a pollution-free environment, waste reduction, proper land use, and cultivation practices. The economic dimension is equally important; this is reflected in financial management and cost reduction activities, obtaining research and development funds, and procuring environmentally-friendly services.

Promoting human values, cooperating with the wider community, ensuring social cohesion, and raising awareness about the environment are values that a responsible university must promote.

This presentation will discuss how these dimensions overlap and influence each other, representing a common platform which is of the utmost significance to the wellbeing of mankind.

Prof Arun Diwaker Nath Bajpai is Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University, India. He is a renowned academician who has exercised his academic and administrative expertise at two other Indian universities: Awadhesh Pratap Singh University and Mahatma Gandhi Chitrakoot Gramoday University. Prof Bajpai was Secretary General of the Association of Indian Universities, and is presently a Member of the ACU Council and of the Executive Council of the International Economic Association. His areas of specialisation are development economics, economic theory, and spiritual dynamics, and he is associated with a number of reputed academic bodies at national and international level.

Prof Sokkalingam Arumugam Dhanaraj

Dr S A DhanarajSix pillars of a responsible university

In the race to stand out in the rapidly-growing education sector, having well-defined policies, with a clear vision, mission, and goals, can help showcase a positive image to various stakeholders.

It is the responsibility of a university to design strategic plans, pillars, and guiding principles that envisage excellence in education and the development of tomorrow's leaders.

Based on JSS University's experience, this presentation will highlight the challenges faced during the development phases of the university. The following six pillars can help maintain good governance, while enhancing excellence in education, research and innovation, sustainable growth, community engagement, and branding:

  1. Education and lifelong learning
  2. Research and innovation
  3. Good infrastructure, governance, and financial management
  4. Globalisation and international initiatives
  5. Stakeholder satisfaction, including fulfilling social responsibility
  6. Entrepreneurial development and industry collaboration

The short and long term goals needed to execute these strategic plans and achieve the university's vision and mission will be discussed.

This presentation will help start-up and developing universities plan their goals and objectives, and learn how to create effective branding and a corporate identity. Examples from JSS University's experience will show how linking with various sustainable programmes can help reach the community and society at large.

Prof Sokkalingam Arumugam Dhanaraj is Professor and Dean at JSS University, India. Over the past 29 years, he has held several academic and university administrative positions. He played an instrumental role in establishing a new specialisation – Pharmaceutical Biotechnology – at JSS University, and established the Faculty of Pharmacy at AIMST University, Malaysia, which is fully accredited and offers programmes at undergraduate and graduate levels.

Concurrent session E1: Ensuring that research benefits society: case studies


How can universities maximise the impact of research on policy and practice? This session presents learnings from case studies, drawn from universities across the Commonwealth, which illustrate how research can benefit society.

Prof George Kanyama-Phiri

Kanyama-PhiriTransforming the agriculture sector through university engagement: the case of Lilongwe University of Agriculture and National Resources

In Africa, universities' impact on society has typically been questioned. In contrast, this presentation will explore initiatives undertaken at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) that have directly benefited society.

Examples include increasing riparian communities' earnings, through the USAID-funded Agriculture Improvement Programme (AIP) in which nearly 500 farmers grew bean seeds during the 2014/2015 growing season; and a programme to increase the number of dairy farmers within the vicinity of LUANAR.

In addition, the socioeconomic status of fish farmers has been boosted through the Community Action Research Programme (CARP), which enabled farmers to double their yields. This translated into a gross annual income of USD 481 per person, in a country where the majority live on less than USD 1 a day.

Farmers' crop yields have increased due to the development and implementation of soil fertility enhancement programmes. The impact of young LUANAR alumni who formed the Foundation for Sustainable Development, which has supported more than 1,000 farming communities through its irrigation programmes, will also be discussed.

The presentation will argue that universities do play a key role in transforming the landscape of agriculture in African countries through their research, outreach work, and alumni.

Prof George Kanyama-Phiri is Professor of Crop Science and Vice-Chancellor of Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Malawi. Previously, he was Chairman of the South African Development Community (SADC) University Deans of Agriculture Committee; Vice-Chairman of the RUFORUM Board of Directors; Chairman of the Council of Exploits University, Malawi; and Principal of Bunda College of Agriculture, Malawi. He has been published widely. He received a Freshman Academic Scholarship in 1978 and was featured in an edition of Who's Who, an annual list of outstanding students in the USA. In 2000, the International Biographical Centre included him among 2,000 outstanding intellectuals.

Dr Michael Owen

Michael OwenDr Michael Owen is Vice-President (Research, Innovation and International) and Interim Dean at the Faculty of Education at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Canada. He has been involved in research and technology management in Canadian universities for more than 30 years, and has served on the management committee of the consortium of Ontario technology transfer offices to invest in and promote knowledge mobilisation. He was Chair of the Ontario Partnership for Innovation and Commercialization, and served on the board of the Innovation Durham Northumberland/SPARK Centre initiative. He has published on technology transfer, research administration, research ethics, and university-industry corporate relations.

Prof John Wood

John WoodProf John Wood CBE FREng is Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). He graduated from the University of Sheffield in Metallurgy and studied for his PhD at the University of Cambridge, and has held academic posts at the Open University and the University of Nottingham, where he was Dean of Engineering. From 2001-2007, he was seconded to the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils as Chief Executive. He then joined Imperial College London, as Principal of the Faculty of Engineering, and subsequently as Senior International Advisor. Prof Wood is Chair of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) Europe, and Co-Chair of the RDA Council.

Concurrent session E2: Social responsibility of the private university


Are the social and economic responsibilities of private universities the same as those of public ones? A panel of leading private universities will explore the issue.

Speakers TBA

Concurrent session E3: Universities, access and inclusivity


What strategies are universities using to improve equity of access and the inclusive participation of students? Speakers will discuss various strategies, including tackling gender discrimination and ensuring safety on campus.

Prof Mohan de Silva

Prof Mohan de SilvaProf Mohan de Silva was appointed President of Sri Lanka's University Grants Commission (UGC) in 2015. Prior to this, he was Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka. He graduated from the Colombo Medical Faculty, Sri Lanka, in 1978, where he also undertook his Master of Surgery. A leading surgeon and medical educator, Prof de Silva is active in surgical evaluation and training. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, UK.

Prof Jan Thomas

Prof Jan ThomasProf Jan Thomas is Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. Prior to this, she was Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Notre Dame Australia from 2010-2012, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Murdoch University, Australia, from 2003-2010. She is Chair of the ACU Council and of the Regional Universities Network, and Chairperson of the State Library Board of Queensland. Prof Thomas is a strong advocate for the transformative role of education, both as a mechanism for social justice and as a key driver for national productivity and innovation.

Prof Tim Blackman

Prof Tim BlackmanProf Tim Blackman was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University, UK, in 2015. Prior to this, he was Acting Vice-Chancellor and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research, Scholarship and Quality) at the Open University; Dean of Durham University's campus in Stockton; and held professorial appointments at Teesside University and Oxford Brookes University, all in the UK. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and served on the Social Work and Social Policy Panel for the Research Excellence Framework in 2014. Prof Blackman has held various advisory and consulting roles in urban renewal, health and wellbeing, and research methods, which are his main teaching and research areas.

Concurrent session E4: Defining the value of undergraduate education


Dr David Docherty

David Docherty

Balancing teaching and scholarship in an undergraduate university

Mount Royal University is one of several new universities in western Canada, achieving the ability to provide undergraduate degrees in 2009 – 98 years after being founded. The transition to university status was a long process and, while Mount Royal did have academics with strong research profiles, the emphasis on teaching meant that the majority of faculty were not considered research active.

Like many new universities, Mount Royal maintains higher teaching loads, offers smaller classes, and does not use teaching assistants to provide tutorials and grading relief. This is a delivery model that has found support among most faculty.

The result is a number of competing tensions. Government funders have no desire to support pure research, yet intellectually curious faculty continue to seek opportunities. Ensuring the financial viability of smaller class sizes requires coupling class size with higher teaching loads.

The challenge for academic leaders is two-fold. Firstly, how do you provide the framework for both teaching and research excellence within this model? Second, how do you attract young academics knowing that their research challenges will be greater at a new university than at a school with greater research opportunities? Mount Royal serves as a case study of how to address these questions.

Dr David Docherty has been President of Mount Royal University, Canada, since 2011. He previously taught at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, from 1994-2011, serving in a number of capacities including Chair of Political Science, Dean of Arts, and Special Advisor on multi-campus governance. He is the author of Mr Smith Goes to Ottawa: Life in the House of Commons and Legislatures, as well as numerous articles and chapters on Canadian legislatures. He is a recognised expert in parliamentary government in Canada.

Dr Vianne Timmons

Vianne Timmons

Maintaining the integrity of the undergraduate curriculum in times of growth

All would agree that, in times of both growth and restraint, universities must do their utmost to maintain the integrity of their curricula. However, few agree on what the integrity of the undergraduate curriculum actually is.

Some faculty members might argue that curricular integrity entails a strict adherence to academic rigour and the traditional tenets of their discipline. Others advocate for curricular or pedagogical innovation in areas such as testing or grading. Some administrators may believe that classes and programmes which are financially sustainable should be a priority. Students and their parents emphasise the relevance of the undergraduate curriculum, particularly in light of today's job market. Funding agencies often cite 'learning incomes' as integral to the curriculum, and employers frequently indicate that they are looking for 'career-ready' graduates.

Above all, we must pay careful attention to our students' needs. Students are increasingly asking for experiential learning opportunities, relevant education that looks beyond the classroom, and interdisciplinary curricula that prepare them for future employment.

If we ignore the factors that our students believe are integral to the undergraduate curriculum, we will be doing so at everyone's peril.

The universities which excel will be those that successfully balance all of these points of view.

Dr Vianne Timmons is President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina, Canada, and maintains a wide-ranging research programme, with particular emphasis on family literacy and inclusive education. She is active in the academic community regionally, nationally, and internationally. She is currently President of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Chair of Universities Canada's Standing Committee on International Relations, and a member of the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Prof Michael Mahon

Michael MahonEstablishing an integrated structure to promote the value of liberal education

At the University of Lethbridge, liberal education has been a community tradition since our founding in 1967. We know there is great value in a liberal education, but ensuring that the public we serve understands this is a challenge. To do this, I believe that university leaders need to provide structure and institutional direction to the liberal education experience.

Our liberal education philosophy guides the academic and research activities which support students to cultivate critical and creative thinking skills, communicate clearly, work collaboratively, solve complex problems, and contribute fully to society. As enrolments grew and graduate education and research became a significant part of our strategic direction, it became apparent there was a need to revitalise and articulate the meaning and outcomes of our liberal education philosophy.

In 2014, we developed a student-focused, integrated strategic direction to inform and educate the population at a community level. This was accomplished using a three-prong approach:

  1. Achieving consensus and support within the academy
  2. Developing a communication strategy
  3. Creating a sustainable governance structure

This presentation will highlight how establishing a clear organisational structure and direction can help ensure that various public constituents clearly understand the value of a liberal education.

Dr Michael Mahon has been President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lethbridge, Canada, since 2010. During his first term, he introduced the university's strategic plan, 'Destination 2020'. Under this plan, he initiated the Destination Project, a monumental construction project to develop innovative academic and research facilities. Dr Mahon is a Professor of Kinesiology, holding a PhD in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. He studied Physical Education at the University of Alberta and the University of Manitoba, both in Canada.

Further speakers TBA

Plenary 3 – Addressing historical injustice: from Rhodes to reparations


How responsible should universities be for addressing historical injustices that are beyond their control? Two vice-chancellors discuss the topic, presenting examples from South Africa and the Caribbean.

Prof Sir Hilary Beckles

Hilary BecklesReparatory justice: the critical role of universities in a growing movement

Despite the harsh legacies of enslavement and its detrimental effects on the peoples of the Caribbean, there are still some who have yet to see the necessity for reparations. But, reparatory justice is not a backward call for handouts, instead, it must be seen as a renewed call for development cooperation between Britain and the Caribbean. It is a call which involves different players, each with their own unique role and one which is now long overdue.

This paper will critically assess the unique roles universities must play in the growing movement demanding reparatory justice throughout the Caribbean. Focusing on issues of inequality, the legacies of slavery and how this has hampered development, particularly in the systems of education, it will call for renewed development cooperation. The paper further points to a ten point action plan and the role of universities in garnering the support needed to develop the strategy towards reparative justice.

Prof Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, is a distinguished university administrator, economic historian, and specialist in higher education and development. He is also Vice-President of the International Task Force for the UNESCO Slave Route Project, Advisor to the UN World Culture Report, Member of the UN Secretary-General's Scientific Advisory Board on sustainable development, Vice-President of the Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport, and Chairman of the Caribbean Community Commission on Reparation and Social Justice. He has lectured in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, and has published various academic books.

Adam HabibProf Adam Habib

Prof Adam Habib is Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He has more than 30 years of academic, research, institutional and administration expertise, spanning five universities and multiple local and international institutions, boards, and task teams. His professional involvement in universities has always been defined by three distinct engagements: the contest of ideas, their translation into actionable initiatives, and the building of institutions. He is well published and renowned as a key leader in higher education and political studies in South Africa and around the world.

Gala dinner


The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC

Baroness ScotlandThe Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC became the sixth Commonwealth Secretary-General in April 2016. She was born in Dominica and grew up in the UK. She trained as a lawyer, and was the first black woman and the youngest woman to be appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1991. She joined the UK House of Lords in 1997, going on to serve as a minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Home Office, and Lord Chancellor's Department. Baroness Scotland was appointed Attorney General for England and Wales in 2007, and Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to South Africa in 2012. Her other offices include Chancellor of the University of Greenwich, and Patron of the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence and the Caribbean Science Foundation. 

Co-hosted by

Vice Chancellors' Ghana

Sponsored by


Advanced Secure Technologies

Tailor & Francis

National Research Foundation


University of Ghana

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