Breaking News: USAID HELM Leadership Forum Supports Leadership Capacity and Network Development

On June 9-10, 2015, USAID HELM convened a Higher Education Leadership Forum in Tangerang to gather more than 50 leaders from HELM’s HEI partners, including Deans, Vice-Deans, Heads of Department, and Heads of Study Program. The two-day forum aimed to support leadership development by building a network among the HELM General Leadership and Administration (GAL) course participants and focusing on networking and training of trainers. The forum also aimed to further increase the sustainability and the expansion of HELM’s leadership and management program.

Explaining HELM’s primary reason for hosting a Leadership Forum, Chief of Party Dr. Andrea Bosch stated, “Managing large universities and polytechnics is complicated and dynamic work. Empowering current and future leaders in higher education and creating systems that support their access to resources, networks, professional development, and management is an important part of their success.”

The HELM Team was represented by Dr. Andrea Bosch (HELM Chief of Party), Dr. Parapat Gultom (HELM Deputy Chief of Party), and Mr. M. Iskandar Nataamijaya (GAL Specialist). In addition, HELM invited leadership and management experts in higher education to discuss key issues concerning their respective positions and organizations, including Dr. Peter Cronin (USAID Indonesia), Dr. Lukman (DIKTI), Deni Kurniawan (DIKTI), and Dr. Ir. Damat, MP (Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang). With participation from 59 leaders across all 50 of HELM’s HEI partners, the forum served as a place for participants to develop their leadership capacity by sharing their experiences and problems faced at their institutions and to develop strategic plans that could be reviewed by their peers to address them.

To support continued dialogue and interaction, HELM initiated the establishment of a Higher Education Leadership Network and began important discussions about the importance of a Leadership E-Journal/E-Magazine, a Teleconference Program in Leadership, and a Social Media channel with different working groups. By the end of the forum, it was decided that Prof. Dr. Nurhizrah Gistituati of Universitas Negeri Padang (UNP) and Prof. Sulistyo Saputro of Universitas Negeri Sebelas Maret (UNS) would lead the Higher Education Leadership Network; Dr. Harto Malik of Universitas Negeri Gorontalo (UNG), Mr. Gunawan Ariyanto of Unviersitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta (UMS), and Dr. Dedy Suryadi of Univrsitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI) would manage the E-Journal/E-Magazine; Nuardi of UIN Sutan Syarif Kasim and Tri Indah Rusli of Universitas Muhammadiyah Kendari (UMK) would organize the Teleconference Program; and Zulfikar of Politeknik Negeri Pontianak and Steify M.E.W. Sepang of Universitas Katholik De La Salle would manage the Social Media channel and its mailing list.

In addition to the four new initiatives, the HELM Leadership Forum also included a mini Training of Trainers (ToT) session that focused on adult learning and using interactive multimedia. Led by HELM’s Instructional Designer, Dt. Adie Erar Yusuf, the session encouraged participants to incorporate newly acquired skills into their own presentations. Selected presentations were filmed and edited live, and shown to the forum participants. Participants provided each other with feedback and discussed ways in which they would conduct trainings for their colleagues.

Vice Director of Partnership and Development at Politeknik Pangkep, Muhammad Adnan Baiduri, S.Pi., M.Si, shared his appreciation for the ToT session: “This forum presented activities that aren’t covered at other events, such as the ToT on developing presentations. While faculty and leaders may consider this simplistic, it is an important skill for us as institutions must market themselves to the public. All of the materials that were presented were useful, particularly the activities related to social media and developing multimedia presentations. It is indeed the case that HEIs must adapt to current conditions. I believe these education development models that USAID HELM has introduced should be adopted by HEIs in Indonesia.”

HELM plans to continue to engage with the Forum Communication Network by inviting members to HELM activities, monitoring the launch of the first HELM E-Magazine, conducting the first teleconference from Jakarta, and activating the Social Media channel and mailing list in the upcoming months.

Remarking on the importance of these new initiatives, HELM’s GAL Specialist, M. Iskandar Nataamijaya, stated, “We at HELM believe it is important to take these next steps in order to maintain the sustainability of these networks and ensure that we continue to develop the knowledge and skills of future leaders. Without gathering participants at events like the Leadership Forum or implementing these initiatives that target sustainability, it would be difficult for us to meet one of HELM’s key objectives—to have long-term impact on Indonesian Higher Education.”

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