Higher education administration is the provision of instructional leadership and the day-to-day management of colleges and universities.
Most higher education administrators begin their careers as teachers and prepare for advancement into education administration by completing a master's or doctoral degree.
However, due to the diversity of duties and levels of responsibility, educational backgrounds and experience vary considerably among these workers.
Professionals working in higher education administration set educational standards and goals. They also establish policies and procedures required achieving this. Their other duties include supervising managers, support and teaching staff, and other employees in the higher education institutions.
Responsibilities including preparing budgets, the development of academic programs, the monitoring of student educational progress and record keeping are divided among many administrators working in large higher education institutions.
Careers in higher education administration also require administrators to co-ordinate and interact with faculty, parents, students, community members, business leaders. As well as State and local policymakers. However, they are increasingly being held accountable for their higher education facility meeting State and Federal guidelines for student performance and teacher qualifications.
In the United States, advanced degrees in higher education administration, educational leadership, and college student affairs are offered in many colleges and universities.
Unlike other disciplines, doctoral programs in higher education administration can use a variety of departmental names. These range from departments of higher education administration to programs in educational leadership or educational administration with concentrations in higher education.
Education administration degree programs include courses in school leadership, school law, school finance and budgeting, curriculum development and evaluation.
In 2008, the number of American's working in higher education administration was 124,600, with a projected growth of two percent in the field expected by 2018.
According to the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, median annual salaries for selected administrators in higher education during the 2008-2009 school year were $158,000 for a Chief academic officer.
The role of the chief academic officer has evolved since the introduction of models and recommendations in the 1984 publication of David Brown's Leadership Role of Chief Academic Officers for the Jossey-Bass Series of New Directions for Higher Education. Modern academic officers, particularly those in chief roles, should now consider the emerging role of the chief knowledge officer as a model for modern leadership in higher education.
In general, they oversee an organization's knowledge infrastructure and manage the relationships within the organization to maximize business results, knowledge productivity and enterprise strategy.
Knowledge management is also a relatively new strategy for leveraging the intellectual capital in the modern learning organization, most notably characterized over a decade ago by Peter Senge (1990) in The Fifth Discipline. An excellent reference for organizational learning is work by Anthony DiBella and his colleagues at Massachusetts Institue of Technology.
It is used by academic deans who are paid an average salary of $150,000 to $92,622, depending on what department they work in. As well as other administrators including Chief development officer's who earn $141,712 and Director's of student activities who can make an average salary of $54,931.
Knowledge management can be helpful for formative and summative evaluation of benchmarking progress, continuous quality improvement and measuring performance as milestones in the administration of higher education.
Irma Becerra-Fernandez of Florida International University summarizes knowledge management as "an increasingly important new business movement that promotes the creation, sharing, and leveraging of knowledge skills within an organization to maximize business results."
In the United States, a career in higher education administration is viewed as having excellent prospects due to a large number of expected retirements and fewer applicants for some positions.
As well as the many benefits including many colleges and universities even offer free tuition to employees and their families, an average annual vacation allowance of four to five weeks, generous health and pension packages.
However, a career in higher education administration can be challenging. In 2008, 35 percent of higher education administrators reported working over 40 hours a week, as they were expected to supervise extracurricular school activities.
Whilst a study by Suzanne Campbell and Barbara Y Lacost into the barriers and/or obstacles women experienced during their transition from a career in clinical laboratory science to higher education administration concluded women paid a price for career advancement. They faced having to make personal sacrifices, struggled with gender stereotypes and had to find a balance between their career and family. Although, the majority believed there had been a slight increase in the number of opportunities for women seeking a career in higher education administration.