Future-focused research for impact – growing leaders for social change
REGENT BUSINESS SCHOOL is on the cusp of a significant step change in its conceptualisation of its role in Higher Education in Africa. Since the institution has become a member of the Honoris United Universities, a network of Pan-African private higher education institutions, it has stepped up its innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership imperatives. The intention is to produce graduates who not only have the ability to shed light on the complex, interrelated and unpredictable nature of change we are experiencing in our world, but to adjust to, and take advantage of, a rapidly changing economy.
The accreditation of the Doctorate of Business Administration could therefore not have come at a better time: it provides an opportunity to identify a unique focus and identity for this degree.
Over the last weeks, REGENT BUSINESS SCHOOL has hosted webinars to help construct this identity. In the webinars preceding the launch webinar, we asked two questions: what should we do differently (epistemologies, designs and methodologies); and, what should we be researching (local, national and continental social and economic issues for sustainability). In the launch webinar we asked: given the social and economic contexts, what is the future that we need? And then, what role can the REGENT DBA play in helping to determine this future?
The REGENT BUSINESS SCHOOL Doctorate in Business Administration is therefore actively pursuing theoretical and conceptual frameworks to support social innovation, which signals the imperative to drive social change with transformational benefits to society.
Prof Ahmed Bawa, from Universities South Africa, responded to these questions by reminding us that, while Covid-19 is a major disruptor, it is evident that prior to the pandemic, there were many disruptions already underway: the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution; decolonisation; workplace transformations, and geopolitical changes to the world economy; to name only a few.
Thus, for the DBA, to make real contributions to the ‘renewal of humanity’, it must interrogate the perplexing socio-economic problems facing the country, the region, and the globe. These issues need new ways of thinking: innovative and creative approaches that will help solve the big socio-economic problems within the current contexts. Doctorate of Business Administration graduates should be ethical corporate citizens that will undertake research for impact.
Dr Ahmed Shaikh, the Managing Director of REGENT BUSINESS SCHOOL, largely agreed, and pointed out that the massive health, social and economic fall-out brought on by Covid-19 has also laid bare the deep structural challenges in the global Higher Education sector. Some of these challenges relate to unequal access and to the urgent need to transform the curriculum. Indeed, the question he asked is whether it isn’t time to completely reconceptualise the Higher Education system.
For example, Dr Shaikh is of the view that, in meaningfully combining the old with the new, especially with the use of appropriate technologies, Higher Education can help reformulate the curriculum to be more responsive to those skills and capabilities that will enable us to change the future for ourselves and our communities. The Doctorate of Business Administration, and Higher Education more generally, must respond with collaborative agility, and an openness to experiment with new ways of constructing knowledge.
REGENT BUSINESS SCHOOL therefore puts its stake in the ground with a Manifesto for a new era of development. The Manifesto calls for the Higher Education system to embrace a more fluid, more contingent world, to create more permeable and transformative relationships within their communities and beyond, to wider society. This will only be possible through imagination, creativity and critical thinking as key 221st Century skills at the core of its renewed curriculum, pedagogy, technologies and disciplines.
He concluded by saying that “we need to ensure that our students will graduate into a world that they can help shape with wisdom and skill, while building a future society we would want future generations to live in”.
By registering for the Doctorate of Business Administration, you are joining REGENT BUSINESS SCHOOL in our aspiration to grow leaders for social change by undertaking research for impact.