Vice-Chancellor speaking at the RUFORUM in Benin

The University of Zambia (UNZA) Vice-Chancellor, Prof Luke Mumba, has indicated that a transformational leader was expected to be a role model, to intellectually stimulate the people they work with, to have a sense of inspirational motivation and to tailor-make their leadership style along the path which takes into account the individualized needs of customers and individual members of staff.

Prof Mumba said this when he delivered a paper titled Transformational Leadership in Higher Agricultural Education on Monday 6th December 2021 at the ongoing 7th Higher Education Week and the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) Triennial Conference in Cotonou Benin.

The Vice-Chancellor emphasized the need to ensure that employees embrace and buy into the vision of the University and the leader. With regards to Transformational leadership & Strategic Partnerships, he highlighted that the role of the leader was to build networks in Government, in Industry, with Alumni

and internationally which when brought to bear, help to resolve the challenges the institution is faced

with while building the synergies that the University requires. The UNZA chief acknowledged that the University of Zambia had a dedicated strategic direction on fostering community outreach and beneficial partnerships which had resulted in over 300 strategic partners who in the School of Agricultural Sciences included both the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and indeed many other agribusiness companies.

On Transformational Leadership and Organizational Politics, Prof Mumba said “I believe from a leadership perspective that we will successfully deal with this challenge by starting from having an institutional vision which must be shared with internal and external stakeholders. The vision must include how the people aspects will be addressed knowing fully well that the success of the vision depends on human capital implementing the different strategic initiatives in the university. This vision must also include how the University will build research capacity and foster partnerships, address knowledge generation challenges and foster skills development.”

The Vice-Chancellor also discussed the role of Transformational leadership in Skills Development and Employability. He acknowledged that there was a contention between Universities and industry to the extent that graduates who came out of universities were perceived as not able to fit into the job market. He highlighted UNZA’s interventions which included the development of demand-driven programmes, implementation of a rigorous process for programme accreditation with the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and with relevant professional bodies, partnerships for hands-on one year practical advanced agricultural training using Israeli technologically supported agricultural models and also the leverage built with very strong partners in China led by Jilin Agricultural University who were anchoring UNZA’s collaboration around the Agricultural Technology Demonstration Centre (ATDC) in Zambia.

Prof Mumba also mentioned that the University of Zambia had started work in partnership with the Commonwealth of Learning (CoL) to develop an Employability Framework and the Employability Policy. This was in response to the need for industry and academia to work through the integration of technical training with soft skills such as communication, critical thinking, agility, innovation and entrepreneurship.