Learning to Lead in Higher Education

By Gmelch, Walter H. | Journal of Higher Education, May 2000 | Go to article overview

Learning to Lead in Higher Education


Gmelch, Walter H., Journal of Higher Education


Learning to Lead in Higher Education, by Paul Ramsden. New York: Routledge, 1998. 288 pp. $75.00 (24.99)

Is academic leadership an oxymoron or a serious field of study? Until 20 years ago the major works on academic leadership focused on the roles of presidents and chief academic officers. The literature on academic department chairs was silent, with most of the information and attention coming from anecdotal speeches, professional papers, popular journal articles, a couple of text-type books, and a few data-based studies. Two decades ago the main reference for department chairs was Allen Tucker's Chairing the Academic Department (1981). Through the 1980s the academic department chair remained the least studied and most misunderstood position in the academy. Although many education scholars wrote about the organization and governance of higher education, relatively little was known about those who led and supported academic units. In addition, the management role of the department chair has no parallel in business and industry, or education for that matter. Typical faculty manuals at most colleges and universiti es provide a list of chairs' duties and responsibilities but do not provide insight into department leadership.

The 1990s brought an onslaught of new publications shedding light on the overshadowed role of department chair. In 1990 John Creswell and his colleagues introduced The Academic Chairperson's Handbook, followed by Gmelch and Miskin's Leadership Skills for Department Chairs (1993), Ann Lucas's Strengthening Leadership: A Team-Building Guide for Chairs in Colleges and Universities (1994), Mary Lou Higgerson's Communication Skills for Department Chairs (1996), and Irene Hecht and her colleagues' recently released The Department Chair as Academic Leader (1999).

Australian scholars extrapolated the role of the department head from English and American writings and studies until the release of Moses and Roe's (1990) ground-breaking work on Australian department heads and Sarros and Gmelch's replication of American department chair research in Australia (1996). Within this context Paul Ramsden's book Learning to Lead in Higher Education represents the second major work written for academic department leaders based on the Australian experience. Whereas Moses and Roe illuminated the world of the chair/head within the department, Ramsden looks at the role as part of a larger institutional nexus.

In the introductory chapter Ramsden posits a simple three-stage systems model of presage-process-product to understand the challenges faced by academic leaders. Chapter 2 empirically addresses the presage or environmental factors of changing external forces on higher education (knowledge differentiation, mass higher education, and reduced public funding) and internal characteristics of universities (academic values and culture). Chapter 3 explores aspects of the academic outcomes or products constituting the third part of the model, underscoring the leader's job to increase productivity. He follows up in Chapters 4 and 5 with evidence suggesting that departmental leadership and intellectual climate can influence the output of research productivity and effective teaching. Chapter 6 concludes Part I with an inconclusive exploration of whether there are any useful leadership principles common to both university and other organizations. Ramsden postulates a series of principles characterizing competent academic leadership: a dynamic process, an outcomes-focused agenda, a phenomenon of both personal and organizational development, a relationship between leaders and followers, and a personal transformation process through reflection and learning.

The second and third parts of the book attempt to demonstrate ways to manage in order to improve the context of academic work. Ramsden argues (unconvincingly in the opinion of this reviewer) that the framework for improving university teaching is similar to the practice of academic leadership. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Learning to Lead in Higher Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.