Leadership in educational settings has been established as a key factor that impacts student learning outcomes, consequently it is important to understand how academic leadership is conceptualised and enacted. The paper aims to discuss this issue.
This qualitative study investigated the nature and demands of academic leadership in the New Zealand polytechnic sector by analysing documentary evidence and investigating the perceptions held of the role by 15 academic leaders in four institutions who were interviewed.
Findings of the study highlight the four roles of organisational leadership, curriculum leadership, academic management and academic currency. Participants confirmed that they struggle with ambiguity and tensions. The importance of teams, collaboration and communication are established and the study concludes that an understanding of role complexity to reduce ambiguity and provision of support to perform the role should be key institutional concerns.
This is one of very few research studies into conceptualising and researching the enactment of academic leadership in a polytechnic setting. The findings could impact the design of future leadership development.
The author would wish to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of his colleague Dr Jo Howse who conducted interviews in two polytechnics.
Cardno, C. (2014), "The functions, attributes and challenges of academic leadership in New Zealand polytechnics", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 352-364. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-11-2012-0131Download as .RIS
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