"But We've Got No Power": The Leadership Role of the Program Director
Program directors are academic leaders at “the coal-face” of a university's teaching activities. Responsible for curriculum design and co-ordination of the programs into which students enroll, program directors play a crucial role not only in the success of the programs offered, but potentially, in the survival of their respective faculties/schools. As oftentimes occurs in university settings, appointment to leadership positions is made on the basis of academic, rather than leadership, expertise – program directors are no exception. Hence, some program directors arrive into their leadership role with little or no experience/knowledge of leadership strategies. Lack of leadership skills aside, program directors are additionally challenged by the current ‘difficult' state of higher education. Interestingly, although the importance of the program director's role is being recognized and institutions are beginning to invest in developing program directors leadership skills, there remains relatively little literature surrounding program directors' leadership. The present chapter thus seeks to raise discussion around leadership and program directors. Challenges are identified and useful theoretical frameworks to guide leadership development for program directors are explored. The chapter serves as a primer for establishing foundational understanding of what the program leadership entails and for identifying the key capacities of a program director.
Encyclopedia of Strategic Leadership and Management
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