Disruption and change at the new global university

02 September 2020 | Story Staff writer. Photo Zan, Unsplash Read time 3 min.

“Covid-19 is not an indiscriminate assassin of Higher Education. It is a disruptively creative change management consultant working pro bono.” So says Professor Monica Kerrets-Makau, academic director and professor of practice in global leadership & management, Thunderbirds Center of Excellence Africa Hub in Nairobi.

Kerretts-Makau is one of the four speakers at the next, and final, instalment in the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) series of challenging conversations – How does changing the medium change the way of doing things? – which takes place on Monday 7 September 2020.

It is the culmination of all the discussions so far, and the intention is to push the boundaries even further in reimagining the global university.

COVID-19 has radically changed the ways that universities do everything: from research and teaching, to social responsiveness and internationalisation. But ironically, the lockdown has seen an opening up of connections, as distance ceases to be a barrier.

While the opportunity to tangibly experience an international location has been temporarily suspended, there have been many positive aspects to these changes, which universities have embraced, and are looking to take into the future.


“Covid-19 is not an indiscriminate assassin of Higher Education. It is a disruptively creative change management consultant working pro bono.”

The great hope has been that we can use the new technologies on which we are now relying during the pandemic to be more creative in the ways we shape international experiences and collaborations, and to do so in ways that lessen the negative characteristics of the old model.

How will changing the medium challenge the nature of global relationships? What opportunities now exist to decentre and disturb existing internationalised power relations?

UCT vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng will host the event, which will be moderated by professor Laura Czerniewicz, director of the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT).

The final event has a lineup of deeply thoughtful, charismatic participants who are prepared to challenging conventional thinking:

  • Achille Mbembe, professor in history at the Wits Institute for Social & Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • Monica Kerrets-Makau, academic director for Africa, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Kate Bowles, associate dean international, Faculty of the Arts, Social Science and Humanities, University of Wollongong, Australia
  • Nagla Rizk, professor of economics and founding director, Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D), School of Business, the American University in Cairo, Egypt

Sign up to participate in the final of these compelling conversations about the new global university. Join us at 17:30 (CAT/SAST) on Monday, 7 September.


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