Leadership Development Experiences of Department Chairs at a Canadian University

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One of the many important debates in the post-secondary sector is whether scholars are fit to lead universities. Effective leadership is important in all settings but particularly at these institutions because of their size, complexity, and dynamic social, economic, and political contexts. Having a thorough understanding of this context is considered indispensable for leadership success. This qualitative study explores the leadership development experiences of 17 department chairs at one research-intensive university located in Alberta, Canada. Department chairs are key university leaders who are accountable for many education, service, and research activities; they act as crucial links between institutional strategy and its implementation. Their development merits careful attention because entry into these leadership roles requires no prior training or experience, making them the least prepared leadership group at universities. The study findings revealed that leadership networks play a central role in the development of these leaders. These networks serve as valuable instruments that help them to enter and understand their role, develop new skills, and practise self-reflection. Furthermore, these networks facilitate the transformation of these scholars from researchers and teachers to academic leaders. Prior to this study, the influence of leadership networks on the development of academic chairs was largely unknown and had been only marginally described in the literature.
leadership, management, post-secondary leadership, leadership development, academic leadership development, professional development, adult learning, transformational learning, transformational leadership, chairpersons, department chairs, department heads, leadership networks, teams, community of practice, case study, qualitative research
Stawnychko, L. (2021). Leadership Development Experiences of Department Chairs at a Canadian University (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca.