USIU chooses the best British company to lead the global hunt for vice chancellor

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USIU chooses the best British company to lead the global hunt for vice chancellor


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VIP students celebrate during a past graduation ceremony at USIU. PHOTOS | DAVID KARIITHI | NMG

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Summary

  • The private institution has hired UK-based Oxford HR to lead the international process of hiring a replacement for Professor Paul Zeleza, which came out in early August after a five-year period.
  • Oxford HR has a maximum of nine months to identify the ideal candidate.
  • The mandate of the previous substantial VC, Professor Zeleza, was marked by a clash with faculty over pay cuts and a union over plans to lay off non-teaching staff.

United States International University-Africa (USIU-A) has hired one of the UK’s top companies to lead its vice-chancellor’s global search, a sign that the institution is looking beyond Kenya for the new boss.

The private institution has hired UK-based Oxford HR to lead the international process of hiring a replacement for Professor Paul Zeleza, which came out in early August after a five-year period.

The exit of Malawian historian Zeleza prompted the USIU-A Board to recall former Vice Chancellor Freida Brown from retirement to serve on a nine-month interim contract that will expire in June next year.

Oxford HR has a maximum of nine months to identify the ideal candidate, increasing the chance that Prof Brown’s contract will be extended up to three months.

“The new vice chancellor is expected to bring a track record of successful leadership and academic achievement, as demonstrated in a PhD and ideally at full professorship level,” Professor Brown, who led the institute for 21 years before going retired in early 2016, said in a statement.

The successful candidate will achieve the university’s 2021-2026 strategic plan goals with “energy, common sense and integrity,” he added.

The potential VC will also need to “think creatively about income growth and diversification opportunities” by working with the institution’s board of directors.

USIU-A, which has been present in Kenya since 1969, initially as Nairobi before becoming a full-fledged university in 1999, wishes to strengthen its national, regional and international positioning in higher education.

The mandate of the previous substantial VC, Professor Zeleza, was marked by a clash with faculty over pay cuts and a union over plans to lay off non-teaching staff.

In October last year, the labor and labor relations court suspended USIU-A’s plans for cutting teachers’ salaries, pending the determination of the request presented by the tutors.

In May, the university denied violating a court order preventing it from firing non-teaching staff pending the ruling of a case filed by the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions and Hospital Workers (Kudheiha).

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