Vajna, Christine
Programme-Management UNILEAD

T +49(0)441 798-4340

Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
C3L - Center for Lifelong Learning

Ammerlaender Heerstr. 136
26129 Oldenburg



The University Leadership and Management Training Course (UNILEAD) was developed in 2008 in cooperation with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). UNILEAD is part of the DIES programme (Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies), which is jointly coordinated by the DAAD and German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) since 2001 and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

UNILEAD is aimed at prospective young managers in higher education institutions from South East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle-, South America and Mexico, Northern Africa and the Middle East who are employed in central administrative bodies at their universities. Since 2008, nearly 450 university managers from a total of 50 countries have already participated.

The objective of UNILEAD is the development, organisation and implementation of an innovative project within the frame of organisational or personnel development. The course takes a blended-learning approach and covers three modules on the topics of Project Management, Strategic Management & Academic Leadership and Human Resource Management.

Since 2012, the University of Oldenburg is also offering UNILEAD international Training Courses. These are similar to the UNILEAD Training Course in Oldenburg, but differ in that they address university managers from specific regions or countries and also have an individual content focus that meets the needs of the participants in the respective regions or countries.  

The UNILEAD international Training Courses are held on a rotating basis in Latin America, the Middle East, Sub Saharan Africa and South East Asia.

In addition to the training courses, UNILEAD also offers alumni workshops

Conception of UNILEAD

Target group

Participants are young university leaders aged between 30 and 40 years and hold at least a Master’s degree.
They have been holding a university management position with managerial and personnel responsibilities for no more than four years in one of the following fields:

  • Managers of central university departments (Planning, Quality Management, Human Resources, Continuing Education, International Offices, Technology Transfer etc.).
  • Task force managers for university reform projects.
  • Managers of staff development units or programmes.
  • At universities in: South East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle-, South America, Mexico and Northern Africa

Learning Outcomes

After having participated in UNILEAD, the participants

  • know different instruments, methods and procedures of Higher Education Management
  • are able to design, develop, implement and evaluate projects
  • are able to adapt their field of work to strategy of the Higher Education Institution
  • are capable of taking on personnel responsibility and leading teams
  • know what digital transformation means and how to implement it in Higher Education Institutions
  • know the international Higher Education landscape
  • have acquired managerial, intercultural and communication skills


Design of the course

The methodology of the course is strictly practice orientated and is based on case studies or questions derived from the particular job situation of the participants. It is expected to bring in personal experience and to share this knowledge with the group of around 25 participants from all over the world. High personal motivation, the willingness to get actively involved during the online and contact phases and English language skills on an advanced level are essential for the successful completion of this course. Each course will have the following blended-learning design, combining online and contact phases:

Phase 1

Online phase with a duration of 8 weeks (January-February) prior to the contact phase/ respective online session. During this phase the participants prepare the project draft for the contact phase via the online learning platform C3LLO. They are asked to read the course materials for the first two modules (Project Management, Strategic Management & Academic Leadership) and to work on online tasks, including the draft of a project action plan. These documents are meant to describe the individual work experience at the home university and to identify problems and obstacles referring to the topics of the course. Feedback will be given by mentors.

Phase 2

3 weeks contact phase at the University of Oldenburg in Germany (in March)/resp. online session. During this phase, lectures will be held to introduce the participants to both the first two topics Project Management and Strategic Management & Academic Leadership and different topics related to the implementation of the individual project. Problems and questions arising during the online phase will be discussed. During the first contact phase the personal action plans will be adjusted and fine-tuned; the milestones of the project and action plans will be monitored by lecturers and mentors. Workload: approx. 40 hours per week.

Phase 3

Online phase from April - August mentored phase for the implementation of the project plans online course and both preparation for module 3 “Human Resource Management” and 2nd contact phase/ resp. online session.

Phase 4

2 weeks contact phase in Oldenburg (September)/ resp. online session. Lectures will be held concerning the last and third module, Human Resource Management and other input. There will also be the opportunity to reflect on the implementation of the individual projects and to discuss on next steps.

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