(November 16 – 26, 2015)
WOU was invited by the British Council, Pakistan to conduct a high-level 10-day leadership development training workshop for a group of 22 senior women academics from 19 universities in Pakistan. The participants were exposed to three universities in Malaysia, the other two being Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).
The workshop titled ‘Leadership Development for Women in Higher Education’ was conceptualised by WOU and organised in collaboration with the British Council, Pakistan and the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. It was coordinated by WOU Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic-ODL) Prof Madhulika Kaushik and Dr Barry Tan Kheng Cheok.
The objective was to enlighten participants about effective leadership in universities, particularly in the context of leadership styles, gender and work-life balance, developing skills for effective governance, and driving and managing change.
Accordingly, the training programme was divided into six themes: leadership concepts and theories; leadership and the gender dimension; operational challenges for women in leadership; managing change and innovation; managing environment and stakeholders; and managing good governance. Invited experts from USM, UKM, Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), and University of Nottingham Malaysia, along with key resource persons from WOU shared on the leadership roles they play and their work experiences.
Among them wereWOU Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan; Provost of Nottingham University Malaysia, Prof Christine Ennew; MQA Consultant Prof Zita Mohd Fahmi; Prof Dato’ Dr Susie See Ching May of USM; Tan Sri Dr Rafiah Salim of UKM; Prof Madhulika; and Dr Barry Tan. The workshop was provided academic and organisational support by WOU’s Dr Chong Fook Suan, Kajari Shankar and Cindy Tan.
On the first day, the participants from Pakistan visited USM’s Centre for Research on Women and Gender (KANITA), where they were briefed by KANITA Director, Associate Prof Dr Noraida Endut. They also had discussions on women’s leadership role in building bridges between university and community, and in research.
The first week of training was conducted mainly at the WOU main campus. Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye presented an overview of the University, while Prof Dhanarajan spoke on ‘The Leadership Challenge in Higher Education today: The Vision of the Leader’. In the second week, participants were taken to visit UKM’s Tun Fatimah Hashim Women’s Leadership Centre in Selangor.
Participants also divided into groups to discuss issues like effective leadership qualities and styles; identifying their own leadership style; and identifying leadership challenges along with the coping strategies and support systems needed.
Prof Madhulika remarked, “It was very gratifying to note that the University is being recognised as a provider for high end leadership training by international organisations. Working with senior women from another Asian country in the area of Higher Education Leadership was an enriching learning experience and should help the University in raising its profile as a knowledge provider.”