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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Educational Management, Volume 25, Issue 7
Welcome to the last issue of 2011, which contains six international papers from Hong Kong, Norway, Jordan, the USA and China. In the first, Shun Wing Ng of the Hong Kong Institute of Education has submitted a paper on “Managing teacher balkanization in times of implementing change“. The author states that globalisation has exerted a significant impact on educational change, and Hong Kong has been no exception for the previous two decades. This does bring challenges, however, as with school-based management there are increased powers to parents, principals, and teachers. The study concludes that the process of including parents’ participation in school is more complicated than expected but they did have an influence on the thinking. Three “balkanised” groups of teachers with different ideological orientations were identified. The first welcomed parental involvement, the second resisted change and isolated themselves from this “imposed innovation”. The majority of teachers did not withdraw and need to be provided with incentives and support for the implementation of change. To better manage teacher groups involved in the implementation of change, school leaders need to understand why some teachers will resist innovation. Professional development training in specific areas when properly focussed will help teachers address the innovation effectively.
Next, Kare Skallerud of Tromso University, Norway, contributes on “School reputation and its relation to parents’ satisfaction and loyalty”. Building upon previous work examining corporate reputations, a new measure of school reputation as viewed by parents was developed. Relationships linking school reputation to parents’ satisfaction and loyalty were tested after reporting the findings of a survey of 325 parents from three primary schools across Norway – the author recognises the need for further validation.
In the third paper, Samer Khasawneh of Jordan has written a piece called “Cutting edge panacea of the twenty-first century: workplace spirituality for higher education human resources”. It is unusual for an author to appear in consecutive issues of IJEM, but in this case the subject of spirituality is not one that has been linked to educational management to my recollection. The primary purpose of the study was to determine the level of spirituality in the workplace for faculty members at public universities in Jordan. A sample of 610 faculty members participated in the study by completing a five-dimensional questionnaire. The study indicated that participants perceived an overall moderate to high level of workplace spirituality without significant differences in faculty members’ perceptions based upon gender, experience, academic rank and university applications. The conclusions indicate that the practice of spirituality is well on its way to joining other organisational paradigms including the learning and performance paradigms. If used jointly they can be a key to future success, and the paper gives practical recommendations.
Kerry Roberts of Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas, contributes work on the “School board member professional development and effects on student achievement”. The author begins by stating that the public opinions of the American public school are low, and then questions how excellence can be reinstated. School board professional development may be one solution, and Texas has laid down requirements for professional development, particularly as boards are being held more accountable for school improvement. In the study a questionnaire was distributed to State Directors, of whom 26 (52 per cent) returned. The returns showed state requirements (if any) of board membership and professional development. Interestingly, there seems to be a link between overall state educational performance and board member professional development, although this area requires further study. The recommendations from this study make sound sense in the educational standards debate.
From the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Tongwei Xie presents a study of “inter-provincial disparities of China’s rural education and convergence rate”, in which it is argued that the coordinated regional development of education is a reflection of educational justice and equality. However, uncoordinated educational development among provinces in China has become one of the significant issues of regional development. The research shows that after the investment for reform in rural compulsory education in 2001 rural education has developed significantly and rural education inequality has been greatly improved.
From Penn State Altcona and Valparaiso University, four authors – Musa Pinar, Paul Trapp, Tulay Girard and Thomas E. Boyt – give a study entitled “Utilizing the broad ecosystem framework in designing branding strategies for higher education”. It would be true to say that the last few years has seen a great increase in papers arguing for marketing strategies in HE and especially when taking into account student views and perceptions. The key elements of the framework outlined in this paper include:
student experiences as driving force;
academic services as the core value in the creation of student learning experiences jointly between faculty and students; and
supporting activities that are important in creating the core value.
The framework suggests that both core and supporting value-creating activities are dynamically interrelated and work jointly in creating student learning experiences, and ultimately a strong university brand.