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Leadership in Higher Education

By Asomi College of Sciences

When it comes to higher education, leadership skills are unfortunately not always as appreciated as they should be. Academics suffer from wrong decisions taken by people with little or no competence in management. In their turn, the decision-making by the latter is limited by a series of restrictions and policies. By being passionate about one’s subject area and job, leadership can be developed with determination, discipline, and other similar qualities.

Research is more highly appreciated than teaching

Academics sometimes feel that leadership may be low, especially when not done correctly. Moreover, teaching is generally less appreciated than research. When it comes to academic careers, research-related works are given more attention which makes them more respected. This imparity primarily originates from the fact that research has its evaluation methods while teaching lacks such parameters by making the teaching quality not classifiable. Generally, academics perceive leadership as a movement with a clear goal and vision in mind, and a leader has to have clear sight and ideas. A good leader should moreover show respect to the team members by collaborating with them rather than just giving orders. Unfortunately, the ideal vision is far away from reality – several academics feel that poorly made decisions and bad leadership lead to malfunctioning of the academic sphere. Academics often feel the pressure of underestimation of teaching and bad leadership.

Management problems in higher education

Moreover, in the contexts like that of higher education, leading and management are often overlapping qualities. Being passionate about one’s subject is also a significant value, especially when talking about leadership. Even with little recognition on developing their leadership in learning and teaching, most academics still stick to their values and try to improve their teaching methods and, therefore, the student learning experience, day by day.

Managers in higher education are often perceived as unable to make the right decisions because the latter are obliged to follow policies and rules that, in their turn, are followed by staff. To improve as leaders and managers, academics are open to learning new skills, taking new responsibilities, leading teaching teams, and solving problems with team members and students. They believe that tutoring and learning from more experienced colleagues is an acceptable way in achieving their goal(s). Academics are ready to put up with extra tasks and roles for reaching their target in having better leadership and management skills.

Leadership skills in practice in higher education

But which are, precisely, the leadership skills that can be put into practice in higher education? First, discipline is an essential skill. However, many academics may love their job and their subject area. They will not get far as long as they do not practice discipline, which means doing everything in the proper order and at the right time.

Educators often encourage their learners to think big – and that is precisely the second skill that students and academics should possess. The less travelled a road is, the more satisfaction it gives to whoever will be travelling on it.

Practical solutions

Moreover, since there are many financial challenges nowadays, the less traveled road should (or at least could) lead to entrepreneurship and solution-finding for unique and innovative needs. Developing leadership qualities through mentoring and following experienced people in one’s field is, once again, an important feature.

ACS ASOMI College of Sciences is assuring that all of their educators and academics would have the necessary knowledge for teaching leadership to the learners and being good leaders themselves. 

Conclusion

Leadership and management are two qualities that are not always easy to have but can be developed through time and experience. Tutoring is the most relevant solution, but also other skills such as discipline are of value.

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