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ERIC Number: EJ863452
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-1941-5257
Learning to Lead: Development for Middle-Level Leaders in Higher Education in England and Wales
Inman, Margaret
Professional Development in Education, v35 n3 p417-432 Sep 2009
There has been a significant increase in interest in the development of educational leadership in recent years, not least in the school sector. However, little research exists on how leaders in higher education have learnt to lead, particularly those in "middle-leadership" positions such as heads of faculties and departments. This study explores leadership development of 18 leader-academics within six chartered and statutory universities in the south of Wales and the west of England. Semi-structured biographical interviews were used between November 2005 and April 2006 to secure academics' perceptions of the development experienced to equip them with the necessary attributes to lead. The findings show that formal professional development for leadership was relatively uncommon. The majority of what leaders do is learnt, self-taught and acquired throughout their life history. This study captures insights which should inform the future research agenda in higher education and highlights the possible inadequacies of formal leadership development for leader-academics in higher education. The challenge is to bring the informal processes of learning gained throughout a leader's life history into a meaningful context for professional development. By doing so, training and development initiatives can be brought into the leader's real world in a structured way to become more relevant and productive to those who participate. Strategies include the establishment of formal mentoring systems, encouraging the formation of networks and providing guided critical reflection on practice, whilst promoting opportunities for collective articulation and sharing of experiences. A suggested framework for integrated leadership development is proposed to enable middle-level leader-academics to experience more planned and meaningful development. (Contains 1 figure.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England); United Kingdom (Wales)