Exploring the role of unit coordinators within universities

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Enhancing Higher Education, Theory and Scholarship Vol. 30

July, 2007, 651 pages
Published by
Geoffrey Crisp & Margaret Hicks
0 908557 72 8

A high level of professional competence is required for leaders within academic programs. Such leaders are required to be competent in teaching, learning, management, and administration, and yet there appears to be little or no training for these positions. Unit coordinators are responsible for managing the units within a university course. This paper notes the current lack of research into the leadership role of unit coordinators and investigates current university policy and the role of unit coordinators. A pilot study was conducted to explore the role of unit coordinators in order to develop an understanding of their experiences and needs. The participants in the study were 19 lecturers recruited from randomly selected Schools within the Faculties of Edith Cowan University. All participants coordinated large units with more than 75 students and were responsible for at least three staff within the unit. Using a grounded theory framework, semi-structured interviews were used to elicit the required information and data were thematically analysed. Findings identified that the key aspects of the role include responsibility for overall quality of the unit, curriculum design, managing staff teaching into the unit, supporting students and becoming familiar with university systems. This paper will present an overview of the pilot study, emerging areas of responsibility as well as insights into the challenges faced by unit coordinators.

Keywords: Unit coordination; Leadership.

Exploring the role of unit coordinators within universities

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Cohen, L., Bunker, A. & Ellis, R.