Leadership skills in the higher education sector: a study of University of the West of Scotland

Christian Harrison*, Marco Gilardi, Stephen Collins, Christine Reilly, Stephanie Valentin, Pravin Balaraman, Constantina Papadopoulou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentationpeer-review


The dynamic environment of Higher Education (HE) driven by marketization and globalisation has led institutions to be more competitive in order to attract and retain students. This climate necessitates the need for effective leadership. Particularly within Scotland, there is a lack of rigorous research examining the impact of skills on leadership within HE. To address this gap, this multi-disciplinary study examines leadership skills within the Scottish HE context. Leadership in HE poses significant challenges, therefore this work suits the conference title “Bridging Boundaries: Connecting Learning, Teaching and Research” and would be appropriately presented under the conference theme “Meeting societal challenges: Health, Society and Sustainability”.
This collaborative project drew on the expertise of all the schools within UWS. In this presentation, preliminary results will be shared. In the first part of the study, a literature review and an analysis of the Scottish Government’s evolving policy on the HE sector were conducted, informing the development of a survey tool. Then, leaders (i.e. academics with line management responsibilities) were invited to complete the survey tool online to gauge views on leadership skills and how these relate to wider policy. In the second part of the study, interviews were conducted with selected sub-sample of respondents to provide a more in-depth understanding of the leadership skills required in HE.

This novel study provides useful insights and understanding of leadership skills in the HE sector. A conceptual framework on leadership skills in Scottish HEIs will be developed to inform policy-makers and key stakeholders in HE within Scotland and nationwide. The participants are all within HE; hence it would be a very engaging experience for the conference audience.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventUWS Annual Learning, Teaching and Research Conference 2019: Bridging Boundaries: Connecting Learning, Teaching & Research - UWS Lanarkshire Campus, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Jun 201927 Jun 2019
https://ltr.uws.ac.uk/ (Conference homepage.)


ConferenceUWS Annual Learning, Teaching and Research Conference 2019
Abbreviated titleUWS LTR 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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