Higher Education Leadership and Management (HELM) was formed in 2002 with funding from the Mellon Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies. Over the course of the next four years, it expanded its programmatic offerings to address a number of skill/opportunity gaps within the sector. In particular:

  • The Fellows Program of the American Council on Education (ACE) in which selected senior leaders who had the potential of becoming university Vice-Chancellors are placed in an internship programme “shadowing” the President of a US university.
  • The Women in Higher Education Executive Leadership (WHEEL).
  • The Thematic Workshop Series focused on special topics of high interest to higher education managers and leaders such as third stream income or new higher education policies and laws.
  • The Higher Education Management Certificate offered by the School of Public Management and Development of the University of the Witwatersrand with full student funding from the ETDP SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority).
  • The Heads of Schools and Academic Departments Programme offered special seminars to middle managers on topics like financial strategies in higher education, organisational development, quality assurance, and strategic planning.
  • The Vice-Chancellors Programme brought together the leaders of universities to deliberate on special topics concerning the mission of higher education institutions in society and the environment within which such missions are to be fulfilled.

After 2009, the ACE Fellowship was insourced and selected future leadership were given mentoring and learning opportunities within South Africa universities. In 2018 HELM again achieved external funding and support from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and it is developing a range of programmes that are currently been developed and implemented.

The Fellows programme was documented each year and provides narratives of the impact of the programme on those who benefited from the experience.

Some of our past participants

Year of fellowship | 2003

Current designation | Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic

Host institution during the fellowship | University of Missouri-Rolla

Professor Rocky Ralebipi-Simela, Central University of Technology

Designation | Director: School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Host institution | University of Cape Town

Mentor | Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo

Area of specialisation | Higher Education Leadership and Management

Professor David Modise, University of South Africa

Designation | Director of the School for Continuing Professional Development, Faculty of Education

Area of specialisation | Leadership within the context of change

Outcomes | Enabled work as Director of the School, stimulated thinking, practice and awareness; created effective community of practice; helped envisage her future course