Leadership from within: Empowering curriculum transformation amongst higher education teaching staff.

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Curriculum Transformation Vol. 40

June, 2017, 455 pages
Published by
Ruth Walker & Simon Bedford

This paper is constructed on the premise that higher education teaching practice is best conceived, not just as a set of standards but as a dynamic and inherently human practice that is distributed amongst all members of teaching practice communities and transformed through individual and collective practices over time. The findings of a phenomenological study that aimed to develop deeper and richer understandings of how practice-based education learning and teaching strategies are implemented in a contemporary university context are reported. Eight academics representing a range of disciplines including health, environmental science, education and creative arts were recruited to the study. Data was collected via semi-structured and photo-elicitation interviews and all data generated including researchers’ observations, field notes and interview transcripts were coded within a phenomenological tradition including holistic, selective and detailed readings of and reflections on the text (Van Manen, 2014). This study revealed the challenging, rewarding, creative and inherently human nature of university teaching. Using the concept of Uplifting Leadership (Hargreaves, Boyle & Harris, 2014) and the study findings, conditions that need to be cultivated to best empower ongoing innovation and curriculum transformation amongst university teachers were identifed. Innovative and leading teaching practices are best undertaken in an educational ecosystem where the embodied and emotional aspects of teaching are honoured; a spirit of co-operation and partnership is privileged; teachers learn to practice by actively doing and own responsibility for innovation; passion for teaching is reignited alongside creativity and above all teachers’ work is sustainable, rewarding and lifegiving.

Keywords: curriculum transformation, leadership

Leadership from within: Empowering curriculum transformation amongst higher education teaching staff.

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Patton, N. & Sutton, K.