Academic Leadership?

An interesting (short) article on where academic loyalty lies, and the need for academic managers to recognise the professionalism of academics, rather than viewing them as ‘products’ for students:

In conclusion, the study – titled Academic Leadership: Changing Conceptions, Identities and Experiences in UK Higher Education – offers a series of possible ways forward.

For example, university managers “anxious to encourage high levels of performance” would be best advised to “step back from mechanistic managerial approaches, and to emphasise instead the values associated with academic excellence”.

Other concluding principles include the need to “engage with academics as professionals” instead of as a human resource to be applied in the service of students or “customers”.

Universities are also advised to “safeguard ‘membership’ of the academic community”, a principle that may be at odds with the changing higher education landscape, the study acknowledges. “Competition between universities will become characteristic of the sector, driving attempts by management to emphasise academics’ loyalty to the institution rather than their scholarly disciplines and networks,” it says.

“However, we should reiterate that we found little sense that academics generally identify with their employing institution.

Read full article.

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