Part 2: “Leadership Styles – What works in Higher Education?”

Welcome to the second DIES web seminar 2022 in the series “University Leadership in Challenging Times”, organised by the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

This international DIES web seminar will focus on the theme “Leadership Styles: What Works in Higher Education?”.

To the same extent that universities have had to respond to new challenges and difficult framework conditions in recent years and find suitable answers, the spectrum of tasks of university leadership has changed. Consequently, there is a new awareness for the requirements of these positions, expectations have grown steadily, and the aspects of leadership competences have come into focus. While in the past, administrative and representative tasks often predominated at university management level, today strategically experienced university leaders are in demand who can further develop their institution in a forward-looking way and develop persuasive power both internally and externally.

But what constitutes good and effective leadership in the university context? What are decisive aspects for successful action? Are there differences between regions regarding leadership styles? Do cultural framework conditions play a role? Can leadership be learned? In the first part of the seminar these and other topics will be discussed by university leaders of different regions who will be sharing their experiences and observations on the multiple aspects of leadership in different settings. The second part of the seminar offers all participants the opportunity to discuss these and further questions in breakout sessions to deepen the exchange and to share experiences from different parts of the world. The sessions aim not only to explore whether there are specific characteristics of (fe)male leadership, but also ask whether and if yes, in how far cultural circumstances have an influence on leadership styles and whether a training for leadership is possible.

The German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) organise this series of web seminars in the framework of their joint DIES Programme.

DIES Web Seminar

Please join the DIES Web Seminar by clicking on the button,
 starting on November 30 2022, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CET) / 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm (UCT)


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Prof Dr Peter Mayer

Professor, Faculty of Business Management and Social Sciences Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Prof Dr Peter Mayer is Professor of International Economics. After obtaining his doctorate degree from Goethe University in Frankfurt, he worked for the German NGO “Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation” in Ghana (1994-1997) and South Korea (1997-2001) before he joined the University of Applied Sciences in Osnabrück. He served in various functions in higher education management: He was Vice-President for International Affairs, he was dean. He was a member of the University Senate. From 2007 – 2021 he was the head of the International Deans Course, a training program for deans from Africa and Asia. He currently manages a program to push the frontiers of research management at 25 universities in the Mekong-region. In his research he focusses on regional integration and on higher education management. He was the author and the editor of a series of publications on higher education management and on European integration.

Panel Speaker Dialogue Round:

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Prof Dr Nana Aba Appiah Amfo

Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana, Ghana

Prof Dr Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, is the (first female) Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana. She is a Professor of Linguistics and an experienced university administrator, with over 20 years’ experience in the higher education sector.

Prof Dr Amfo has built her experience in governance through attendance of formal management and leadership programs as well as on the job training. She brings a lot of innovation and resourcefulness to her leadership positions and is adept at change management. As Vice-Chancellor, she’s leading her university to uptake technology in all its operations, while keeping people as the focus. She recently launched a seven-million-dollar digitalization program to enhance the experience of the University’s students, faculty and staff.

Prof Dr Amfo previously served as the Pro Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for Academic and Student Affairs, the Dean of the School of Languages and the Head of the Department of Linguistics, of the same university. Her masters and PhD degrees, both in linguistics, are from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and her Bachelors in French and Linguistics is from the University of Ghana.

She is a member of many prestigious societies and organizations such as the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, Commonwealth Professionals Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) and the International Women’s Fellowship Leadership Program. She is a pioneer fellow of the African Humanities Program (an American Council of Learned Societies Program, funded by the Carnegie Corporation). She currently serves as an assessor and a mentor on that program and has recently been elected as the inaugural President of the African Humanities Association. In 2021, Professor Amfo was awarded as the GUBA (Grow Unite Build Africa) Nana Yaa Asantewaa Woman of Enlightenment for her resilience and work in academia which has created knowledge, built confidence and broken down barriers to opportunities.  

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Prof Dr Diep Tuan Tran

Chairman, Board of Trustees, University of Medicine and Pharmacy HCM City, Vietnam

Prof Dr Diep Tuan Tran is the President, Board of Trustees of University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City (UMP)iversities of Vietnam. Under his tenure, the UMP has demonstrated its strong commitment for innovation and quality improvement. 

Prof Dr Tran received his M.D. training at UMP with excellent qualification (1989), and then specialized in pediatrics (1990-1993) and later in pediatric neurology.  He got his Ph.D. training at Tokyo University (1998-2003) and post-doctoral training at National Institutes for Physiological Sciences of Japan (2003) and at University of Michigan (2003-2005).  He was a fellow of Asian Youth Fellowship (1997), Monbusho Fellowship (1998), John J. Bonica Award (2002), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (2003), International Brain Research Organization (2003), WHO/NINDS International Neurological Science Fellowship (2003), International Dean’s Course in South East Asia (2010), Program for Leading Innovation with Harvard Macy Institute (2013), and Leadership Development Program (2016). His research interest is pain imaging, pediatric neurology, and children quality of life.  He has published more than 50 articles in international peer review journals. His main agenda is to make UMP a leading health profession university in Vietnam and an internationally recognized institution in the region. 

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Prof Dr Marcelo Knobel

Former Rector, University of Campinas (Unicamp), Member of the governing council of the Magna Charta Observatory, Brazil

Prof Dr Marcelo Knobel was the 12th Rector of the University of Campinas (Unicamp), in Brazil, where he is a Full Professor of Physics. He held other leadership roles, including: Executive Director of the Unicamp Exploratory Science Museum, Vice-Rector for Undergraduate Programs, Vice-President of the Brazilian Physics Society and Executive Director of the Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory (LNNano). He has already published more than 300 scientific papers, in addition to numerous opinion pieces in both national and international newspapers and magazines. Prof Knobel is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (Elsevier). He is an Eisenhower Fellow (2007), Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2009) and Lemann Fellow (2015). He is Member of the Governing Council of the Magna Charta Observatory.

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Prof Dr Eva Asselmann

Professor, Faculty of Health, Health and Medical University, Germany

Prof Dr Eva Asselmann is a Professor of Differential and Personality Psychology in Potsdam. Her research focuses on personality development, health promotion, and prevention. In particular, she examines how personality and mental health change before and after becoming a leader. Her research revealed that emergent leaders experience substantial changes in personality traits (e.g., extraversion and risk affinity) as well as both favorable and unfavorable changes in subjective well-being. Moreover she develops targeted trainings and has many years of practical experience in consulting and coaching for individuals and larger organizations. She is certified in Systemic Coaching, Change Management, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. In 2022, she published her popular science book “What We Grow From” to disseminate her latest research findings on personality development around major life events. 

Breakout sessions:

Breakout Session I

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Dean, School of Mines, National University of Colombia, Colombia

Prof Dr Verónica Botero-Fernández is the Dean of the Faculty of Mines at Universidad Nacional de Colombia since 2018. She manages 12 undergraduate engineering programs, and 44 graduate programs with a student population of about 7000 students. She is an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences and Environment. She holds a Ph.D. in geography from Utrecht University, an M.Sc. in Geological survey from the International Institute for Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (Univ. of Twente, Netherlands), and a B.Eng. in Civil Engineering from Universidad EAFIT. She has been Head of several graduate and undergraduate programs, Head of the Department of Geosciences and Environment, Vice-dean of Research and Extension, Director of Research and Extension for the Medellín campus (5 faculties), Vice-rector (interim) of the Medellin campus in several opportunities. She has participated in more than 90 research and extension projects, has supervised more than 30 M.Sc. and Ph.D. thesis, and is the author or co-author of more than 85 papers, proceedings, book chapters, and books.

Breakout Session II

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Prof Dr Bassey Edem Antia

Former Chairperson, Department of Linguistics, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa

Prof Dr Bassey E. Antia teaches in the Department of Linguistics at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. An alumnus (first cohort) of the International Deans’ Course (IDC), he has been a regional trainer on the course since 2009. He is also a fellow (and a recently appointed advisor) on a national South African initiative on building capacity for teaching at universities (the Teaching Advancement at Universities – TAU – scheme). A DAAD alumnus and Humboldtian, he holds a PhD from the University of Bielefeld in Germany. He has held teaching or fellowship positions at universities in Canada, Germany, Spain, UK, and Nigeria. He has received various awards, including the Prize for Excellent Doctoral Dissertation of the University Society of Westphalia & Lippe, and the International INFOTERM Award for Outstanding Achievement in Applied Research & Development in the Field of Terminology (co-sponsored by the European Commission and the European Association for Terminology).

Breakout Session III

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Prof Dr Duu Sheng Ong

Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Multimedia University, Malaysia

Prof Dr Duu Sheng Ong earned his PhD in Electronics Engineering from the University of Sheffield, UK and his MPhil and BSc(Hons) in Physics from Universiti Malaya, Malaysia. He is currently a professor at the Faculty of Engineering, Multimedia University (MMU). His research interests centre on THz electronic devices, device modelling and simulation of novel low-dimensional materials. He served MMU as the Director of Research Management Centre, Dean of Institute for Postgraduate Studies and Vice President from 2008 to 2014. Since 2014 he has been serving as a resource person for higher education leadership and quality assurance training programmes like DIES International Deans’ Course SEA, ASEAN-TrainIQA, ASEAN-EU SHARE, SEAMEO-RIHED, DIES NMT and AKEPT IDC Malaysia Chapter. He is a MQA auditor, MyRA assessor and ASEAN QA Association advisor. He is a Fellow of Institute Physics Malaysia, Chartered Physicist of IoP and Chartered Engineer of EC UK. He is an DAAD alumnus and Humboldt Research Fellow.


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Iris Danowski (HRK)

Iris Danowski, M.A. is Head of Section Latin America within the International Department of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK).

Iris Danowski studied Spanish and French Language and Literature and History of Art at the University of Cologne and the University of Seville, Spain. In 1991, she started her career as ERASMUS coordinator of the University of Cologne. In 1994, she changed to the German Rectors’ Conference as Head of Section for Europe. In the second half of the nineties, she started building up the cooperation with Latin American partners for the HRK and has been coordinating that field since then. In recent times, she has been involved in several multilateral cooperation projects with Latin America. Iris Danowski is member of the Steering Committee of the International Deans’ Course for Latin America.

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Tobias Wolf (DAAD)

Tobias Wolf, M.A. is Head of Section for Development Cooperation: Partnership Programmes, Alumni Projects and Higher Education Management at the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). In this role, he is responsible for the overall coordination of the programme “Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies (DIES)” funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

With training courses, dialogue events and regional sustainability activities, the programme offers a bundle of measures with which higher education institutions in the Global South can align their education programmes with international quality standards, expand their research capacities, develop their organisational structures competitively and strengthen the competencies of their university leaders. DIES offers training courses, dialogue events and regional sustainability activities that enable universities in the Global South to align their education programmes with international quality standards, expand their research capacities, develop their organisational structures competitively and strengthen the competencies of their university leaders.

In addition, he has been involved in the implementation of several EU-funded projects dealing with quality assurance and harmonisation processes in higher education in countries of the Global South.

Tobias Wolf joined the DAAD in 2002, initially working at the National Agency for EU Higher Education Cooperation. He holds a Magister Artium in Spanish and Latin American Studies, Literature and Sociology from Bielefeld University, Germany. Tobias Wolf spent one year of his studies at the University of Cádiz, Spain.


"Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies" (DIES)

Universities throughout the world are operating in an increasingly dynamic environment characterised by global challenges. They face intense competition for students, highly qualified researchers and third-party funding. This holds true for developing countries too, where the demand for tertiary education has been skyrocketing over the last decades.

In light of these developments, higher education management in all its particulars is becoming more and more important in the field of international development cooperation. The programme “Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies” (DIES) has been jointly developed and coordinated by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) since 2001. DIES is strengthening capacities in higher education management, both on individual and institutional level. It offers a wide range of tailored activities training courses, dialogue events and university partnerships. – These activities not only foster the competences of academic staff, but also contribute to the enhancement of institutional management at universities in developing countries. DIES focuses on three key partner regions: Africa, Spanish-speaking Latin America and Southeast Asia. Funding is provided by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

German Rectors’ Conference (HRK)

The German Rectors‘ Conference (HRK) is the association of state and state-recognised universities in Germany. The HRK currently has 269 member institutions, in which over 90 per cent of all students in Germany are enrolled. The HRK functions as the voice of the universities in dialogue with politicians and the public and as the central forum for opinion-forming in the higher education sector. The HRK cooperates with universities and corresponding organisations all over the world. Its aim is to represent the interest of German universities at an international level and to support German universities in their internationalisation process.

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

The DAAD is a joint organisation of German institutions of higher education and their student bodies, devoted to internationalising the academic and scientific research system. With its broad range of scholarship programmes, the DAAD enables students, researchers and university lecturers to take advantage of the best study and research opportunities. Since it was founded in 1925, more than 2.5 million scholars in Germany and abroad have received DAAD funding. Apart from the scholar ship programmes the DAAD supports the internationalisation of German universities, promotes German studies and the German language abroad, advises decision makers on matters of cultural, education and development policy and assists developing countries in establishing effective universities by means of special programmes.