Part 1: Female Leadership in Higher Education

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

This international DIES web seminar will focus on the theme “Female Leadership in Higher Education”.

Female rectors and university presidents – this is no longer a rare exception but has become encouraging normal in higher education institutions worldwide. However, women yet continue to be underrepresented in leadership and senior academic positions in universities, and they are often confronted with different conditions and challenges than their male colleagues when assuming leadership positions. In this web seminar, female leaders from universities will be sharing their experiences, realities, and views of and on female leadership.

On the one hand, it will be discussed what female leadership actually means and how societal and institutional expectations differ in comparison to male leaders. What learnings can be identified from female leaders and serve as recommendations for future leaders? On the other hand, this seminar focuses on effective strategies for strengthening gender equity in higher education leadership. Are there regional or national strategies for increasing (real) gender equity in leadership positions in universities? What success stories and impact can be achieved here? And looking into the future, what is needed on institutional and/or national level to increase the number of female leaders as well as strengthening and supporting them?

Based on the input by expert speakers the web seminar will offer room to share experiences from different world regions on these and further questions.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) 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 14 June 2022, 12:15 UCT


Photo: © Universität des Saarlandes/Jörg Pütz

Prof Astrid M. Fellner

Astrid M. Fellner is Chair of North American Literary and Cultural Studies at Saarland University, Germany, where she also was Vice-President for Europe and International Affairs from 2014-2017. Since October 2020 she has been Dean of Studies of the Faculty of Humanities. She has been part of the International Deans’ Course Latin America since 2017. She is co-speaker of the DFG-funded IRTG “Diversity: Mediating Difference in Transcultural Space” (Saarland University, University of Trier, and Université de Montréal) and project leader at Saarland University of the EU-funded INTERREG-Project “UniGR-Center for Border Studies.” She is the founder of the Forum Gender Studies at Saarland University and the Coordinator of the Gender Certificate Program. Her publications include Articulating Selves: Contemporary Chicana Self-Representation (Braumüller 2002), Bodily Sensations: The Female Body in Late-Eighteenth-Century American Culture (WVT), and several edited volumes and articles in the fields of Border Studies, U.S. Latino/a literature, Post-Revolutionary American Literature, Canadian literature, Gender Studies, Queer Studies and Cultural Studies.

Panel Speaker Dialogue I:

Photo: © Private

Prof Verónica Botero Fernández

Dean, National University of Colombia, Colombia

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.

Photo: © Private

Prof Leenawaty Limantara

Rector, Pembangunan University Jaya, Indonesia

Leenawaty Limantara is a researcher and a woman leader at a higher education institution in Indonesia. She obtains B.Sc in Biology (1990) from Satya Wacana Christian University, Indonesia; M.Sc in Chemistry (1994), and Ph.D. in Chemistry (1998) from Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan. She pursued postdoctoral study at Department Biologie I, Munich University, Germany in 2001 with Bioscience Special Programme from German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and 2004 with the Georg Forster Fellowship from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany. She started her career at higher education institution as a faculty member of Faculty of Science and Mathematics, Satya Wacana Christian University (1990 – 2007), Head of Magister Biology Department, Graduate School, Satya Wacana Christian University (2004 – 2007), Indonesia. She was the first rector of Universitas Ma Chung, Malang (2007-2015) and has succeeded to make the university is recognized by the Ministry as one of the top 5 private universities in East Java Province, Indonesia, during her leadership.  Then she moved to Universitas Pembangunan Jaya, a private university in Bintaro Jaya as rector for 2015-2023. She has succeeded in transforming Pembangunan Jaya University from a national 1932 ranking in 2015 to a national ranking of 92 according to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology (2020).  She is actively involved as an expert, resource person, and trainer in developing research capacity and higher education governance in various national and international activities. She is involved in several national organizations as chairwoman of the Indonesian Pigment Research Association, vice chairwoman of the Association of Indonesian Private Universities (APTISI) Banten Province branch, and vice chairwoman of the community development committee of the Indonesian Rector’s Forum (FRI). She is also active as a trainer for the capacity building program for young researchers in ASEAN in the DIES ProGRANT courses (from 2014-present), involved as a trainer for DIES NMT Indonesia and DIES Partnership Indonesia.  Her research works have been recognized by the scientific community in Indonesia and internationally. In the past, she received several prestigious awards, including the 1st Place Lecturer Award (2004) in Central Java Province, 2nd Place National Lecturer Award (2004), Toray Science and Technology Award (2005) from Indonesia Toray Science Foundation, and currently the Humboldt Alumni Award from Humboldt Foundation, Germany (2018).

Photo: © Private

Dr. Consolata Oloo Ngala

Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics and Associate Dean School of Graduate Studies

Dr. Consolata Ngala  studied, Bachelor of Economics at Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Master of Economics at  University of Nairobi and PhD in Sustainable development at Masinde Muliro university of Science and Technology. Dr. Ngala served as the Chairperson of the Department of Economics for 6 years. Since 2018 she has been working as Associate Dean at the School of Graduate Studies at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST). Dr. Ngala is a Manager, Trainer, Mentor, Higher Education Curriculum Developer and Researcher. She participated in the DIES International Deans’ course Africa 2021/2022, DIES National Multiplication Training on “Enhancing Change Project Management for Economic Sustainability in Higher Institutions in Kenya” in 2019. She also participated in Tuning Africa Programme sponsored by European Union ’Implementation of the Harmonization Strategies in African Higher Education’ from 2015-2018.

Panel Speaker Dialogue II:

Photo: © University of the Americas, Ecuador

Prof Mónica Alatorre

University of the Americas, Ecuador

Mónica M. Alatorre, MHM. Dean School of Hospitality and Tourism UDLA, Ecuador (05/2022). Associate Professor Services Marketing and Customer Experience Management. Master’s in hospitality management, Cornell University. Business Administration, I.T.E.S.M. – Mexico. Diploma in Tourism, University of Wisconsin – Stout. Consultant in service quality and marketing for numerous institutions and companies. Member of the BOD of Tourcert, ETICA, Casa Gangotena, Mashpi Lodge and Fundación Sembrar.
Founder School of Hospitality, Culinary Art and Tourism at USFQ, Marketing and Sales Director The Exotic Blends Co., Marketing Manager Kraft General Foods Ecuador, Assistant Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble Mexico.

Photo: © Private

Prof Nana Aba Appiah Amfo

Vice- Chancellor, University of Ghana, Ghana

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.

Professor 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.

Professor 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.  

Photo: © Private

Prof Zaidatun Tasir

Dean, University of Technology, Malaysia

Zaidatun Tasir is a Professor of Educational Technology at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities (FSSH), Department of Educational Science, Maths, and Creative Multimedia (UTM). She is the Dean of FSSH for the 2019-2022 academic year. She was the Chairperson of the Malaysian Deans of Graduate Schools Council (MyDEGS) from 2016 to 2019, the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at UTM from 2013 to 2019, and the leader of the CITE UTM research group. During the 2018-2019 academic year, she was a member of the Future Ready Curriculum taskforce and facilitator for the Ministry of Higher Education. She is also a Deputy Head of Education and Human Development Cluster (Higher Education) Academy of Professors Malaysia. Personalised learning, learning analytics, online and mobile learning, Education 4.0, and online social learning are some of her areas of specialisation. In 2019, she was named one of Malaysia’s Top Research Scientists and the AKRI Winner: Immersive Blended Learning.


Photo: © Private

Tobias Wolf (DAAD)

Tobias Wolf is Head of Section for Development Cooperation: Partnership Programmes, Alumni Projects and Higher Education Management at the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). 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). In addition, Tobias Wolf has been involved with the implementation of several EU-financed projects dealing with quality assurance and harmonisation processes in higher education.

Tobias Wolf joined the DAAD in 2002, initially working at the National Agency for EU Higher Education Cooperation. Prior to his current position he was assigned as DAAD programme manager for projects aiming at the internationalization of PhD programmes in Germany.

Tobias Wolf holds a M.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Bielefeld University, Germany. One year of his studies, he spent at Cádiz University, Spain.

Photo: © Private

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.

Photo: © Private

Marijke Wahlers (HRK)

Marijke Wahlers heads the International Department of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK). In this capacity, she has initiated various projects and activities that aim at enhancing the German universities’ framework for internationalisation and international collaboration. She also heads the Section Asia, Australia & Oceania within HRK’s International Department and is one of the members of the founding team of the DIES International Deans’ Course.

Before joining the German Rectors’ Conference, Ms. Wahlers was head of international relations at the Furtwangen University of Applied Sciences and coordinator of international relations at the Prefectural University of Kumamoto and the Kumamoto Prefectural Government Office in Japan. Ms. Wahlers holds a master’s degree in English linguistics, Japanese studies and business studies. She studied at the University of Duisburg-Essen, the University of Washington in Seattle (USA) and at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University in Great Britain.

You can download the program here

"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 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.

German Rectors’ Conference (HRK)

The German Rectors‘ Conference (HRK) is the association of state and state-recognised universities in Germany. The HRK currently has 268 member institutions, in which around 94 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.