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Have your say – Advance HE global leadership survey

14 Nov 2022 | Professors Richard Watermeyer and Richard Bolden, lead researchers, say, “Whatever your leadership role, complete the survey to help create the richest picture of ‘what works’ in higher education leadership.”

Advance HE’s global survey for leadership in higher education, research institutes and related organisations is live. It’s a survey for “all leaders at all levels in all areas, in both formal and informal leadership roles.” The aim is to create the “richest picture of what works in contemporary higher education leadership.” So say, Professor Richard Watermeyer, Professor of Higher Education and Co-Director of the Centre for Higher Education Transformations (CHET), University of Bristol, and Professor Richard Bolden, Professor of Leadership and Management and Director of Bristol Leadership and Change Centre, University of the West of England, who have led the scoping study research for this project. We talked to them about the survey and the value of input from every level and experience of leadership.

Setting the scene, Richard Watermeyer, described the sector as being at “peak point of leadership changes and challenges internationally” particularly in working to recover from Covid, the digitalisation of our universities as well as some of the changes to the nature of work and ‘work reorganization’, in terms of the embrace of hybrid forms of working and high-flex forms of teaching. This, coupled with local contextual challenges, for example in the UK that includes tensions around pensions, pay, and general working conditions, all of which present significant challenges for leadership and how leaders will take the higher education sector forward through increasingly turbulent times.

During the scoping study to develop the survey, the research team was careful to take a whole community approach. As Richard Bolden explains, “...leadership occurs at all levels – how it's experienced, how it's engaged with, how it's enacted varies depending on the kind of role where you're at - strategic or operational - and context is really important too.”

Not only is the team looking for experiences from different institutions, departments and divisions and professional services, they are also particularly keen to get an international comparative dimension as well.

Richard Bolden added, “So it's really an opportunity for people to have their voice heard, to express their opinions and views, so that we can have a really rich, balanced overview of the whole field.”

Concluding the discussion, Richard Watermeyer said, “The value of the survey and its findings will be in facilitating a whole community approach to thinking through the challenges and the context in which leadership operates, and to help ignite an inclusive and respectful whole community discussion around the kinds of leadership that we want, the kinds of leadership that we aspire to within the higher education sector.”

You can hear the full conversation here, where Professor Watermeyer and Professor Bolden try to anticipate some of the survey responses: things they would, perhaps, expect and also things that might surprise them in the results.

Have your say - complete the Advance HE Global Leadership Survey to help create the richest picture of ‘what works’ in higher education leadership. The survey closes 22 November.

We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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