In a not-so-shocking turn of events, Professor Evans Osabuohien has again proved to us the pertinence of professional development to our career success in his recent appearance at the DIES International Deans Course held between February 8 and 9 at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. The Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies (DIES) International Deans Course (IDC) is a rigorous international training programme for Deans, Heads of Departments, and tertiary institutions managers from top institutions across Africa, Asia, and Latin America (i.e. Global South). The training is aimed at preparing these managers of delicate and highly complex institutions in developing countries for the multifaceted changes that accompany higher education management. These management changes could be administrative, political, financial, or academic. The DIES meeting held at Addis Ababa sought to assemble participants from Africa to not only attend the highly intensive and demanding training programme, but also provide an opportunity to network with scholars and alumni from different higher institutions across Africa. Professor Evans thus had the opportunity to meet participants within and outside Africa.

Before this meeting, Prof Evans had applied for this opportunity, during his tenure as Head of Department (HOD), Economics and Development Studies, Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria. He got accepted but had to attend virtually due to the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic globally. Fortunately, when the window for the IDC conference was opened in for different cohorts, he was one of the few African academics invited to participate physically in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that held in February 2024.

The International Deans Course is funded and supported by five German international exchange bodies including the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Rector’s conference (HRK), the Osnabrueck University of Applied Sciences, and the Centre for Higher Education (CHE) in cooperation with experts from Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation. This support further espouses Germany’s dedication to initiating institutional change across universities in Africa.

Considering that, one of the graduations requirements from the IDC programme is participants’ implementation of individual reform projects in their home institutions, Professor Evans developed a PAP (Project Action Plan) poster on ‘Improving Postgraduate Research Supervision through the Development of Guideline Document for Faculty in Economics & Development Programmes’ at the IDC 2023/2024 conference. The PAP’s main objective is to provide solutions to the challenge of capacity and mentoring skills of faculty regarding postgraduate supervision during his tenure as HOD. By the end of his tenure as HOD, he successfully actualized the major milestones from this project which included decreasing the time for postgraduate students’ completion of research and providing a pipeline of mentorship and capacity building through the African Scholars Mentorship Network (ASMN) anchored by DePECOS Institutions and Development Research Centre (DIaDeRC), a fast-growing research centre that he founded and chairs.

Some of the highlights from the IDC meeting include paying an emissary visit to the German Ambassador to Ethiopia, meeting academics from different countries of Africa, and most importantly, meeting one of the ASMN members, Dr Konjit Hailu who also received other ASMN members – Dr Alhassan Karakara and Dr Solomon Okunade in 2023 when the duo visited for the Conference on Land Policy in Addis. 

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