The University of Alabama is hosting a two-week higher education leadership training experience for 25 women from 15 Pakistani universities as part of a five-year, $19 million project by the U.S. Agency for International Development and in collaboration with the University of Utah.
The Higher Education System Strengthening Activity, awarded to Utah last year, aims to address Pakistan’s mismatch in supply and demand of workforce development by increasing the employability of the Pakistani workforce through trainings to improve higher education graduate capacity, relevance, adequacy and inclusivity. One component of the grant is leadership development, part of which UA is offering through the Women’s Leadership in Higher Education exchange program.
Dr. Susan Carvalho, associate provost and dean of the UA Graduate School, is leading the efforts and says the exchange program aims to provide training and support to aspiring and current women leaders in a higher education system where leadership has been historically driven by males, discuss aspects of U.S. higher education and what transferable models can be offered to the Pakistan context, provide insight into potential U.S.-Pakistani partnerships, and provide guidance as each participant implements a project designed for her home campus.
“Our visitors are meeting with prominent women leaders across the UA campus, both as a group and also in pairs as they shadow 14 different women administrators,” said Carvalho. “Activities include workshops on communication with the Speaking Studio and working sessions to advance their campus-based projects. In addition, they have cultural and historical visits to Greensboro, Selma and Birmingham, largely focusing on the racial justice issues of this region and the transferable lessons that holds for women leaders in Pakistan.”
The exchange visit to UA is one of three parts of the training for the first cohort of women. Additional parts include a six-month online course taught by UA faculty and workshops in Pakistan.
“We hope that additional cohorts will visit annually and that this initial group of women will serve as mentors for the future cohorts,” said Carvalho. “The exchange visit will not only provide information to the women but will also heighten their visibility as experts on their home campus, since they will have obtained privileged insight into how decisions are made at UA, both generally and in terms of women’s leadership.”
Assisting Carvalho with UA’s efforts are Drs. Steve Burian, Karri Holley, Claire Major, Dana Patton, Lisa Pawloski and Delores Robinson.
Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org