Leading within Higher-Educational Institutions
Leading within higher-educational institutions is usually complex and challenging. Several important factors influence it and create some difficulties. In this paper, these factors will be described, and some examples of the challenges I have encountered while working in a leadership position will be provided.
Modern higher education is developing very quickly as the environment is changing. Therefore, higher-educational institutions should teach specialists about working effectively in a new environment under new requirements. Due to that, the leaders of those institutions face with different challenges. There are many factors, but several of them are especially important. The first one is the need of workforce development in a changing environment. As requirements for jobs are changing, education should be changed as well in order to teach students, who will be able to work under new requirements, and remove possible “skill gaps” in labor markets (Ebersole, 2014). Thus, new jobs and skills are needed, and higher-education employees should be trained how to teach in a new way. This is a challenge for the leaders, and I faced with it while working in a leadership position. We had a situation when new skills were required for teaching, but old employees did not have them. Therefore, we had to train them and hire several new people with new skills and knowledge to teach students.
One more challenge for leaders in higher-educational institutions is related to the use of innovative technologies in educational processes. More and more students have a desire to use new technologies for their education, and educational institutions should respond to these needs and create such opportunities (Bryant, 2013). The use of new technologies is very important for the education efficiency and image of the university. The universities that use new technologies are usually considered better for modern high quality education, and students are more willing to study in them, compared to ones that do not use new technologies. New technologies can be various. For instance, they may include using social media, different software and hardware tools, Internet, and so on (Technology Tools | Tools you can use, n.d.). In my practice, I had similar challenges because students required the use of different software tools that had not been used before in our institution. Thus, managers decided to purchase some of those tools to satisfy students’ needs and make education modernized.
Finally, an important challenge for leaders in higher-educational institutions is connected with the communication skills, related to HR management and wider academic community. For such establishments, communication is vital because thanks to it, employees can obtain new knowledge and skills, which can be used to improve the education quality. Thus, educational institutions should stimulate desire of their employees to communicate by creating appropriate environment for communication and organizing different events and meetings. It can be done within the institution as well as by inviting specialists from the other academic communities (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2008). In our institution, we also had such challenges, and we tried to train the employees to be more communicative with each other and the other specialists. Such training helped them become more sociable and acquire new knowledge and skills for better work.
To summarize, leadership in higher-educational institutions faces some challenges. They are usually related to changing environment and satisfying new requirements for using new technologies and making communication efficient for employees. In my practice, I faced such challenges and successfully coped with them.
Bryant, S. (2013). Challenges facing higher education institutions. Retrieved from https://beyond2015.acu.ac.uk/submissions/view?id=106
Ebersole, J. (2014). Top issues facing higher education in 2014. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnebersole/2014/01/13/top-issues-facing-higher-education-in-2014/
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (2008). Leading HR for high performance in higher education. Retrieved from http://www2.cipd.co.uk/NR/rdonlyres/4AD775C1-3621-4D8B-9262-0DE659C9395D/0/leading_hr_performance_higher_education.pdf
Technology Tools | Tools you can use (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/archives/tools.shtml