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Leading and Supporting Change in Higher Education

May 1, 2020
Tamara Leary

Teaching and learning in digital spaces are not new phenomena. The expertise in the development and delivery of course content – be it academic or not, continues to evolve. Understanding the needs and experiences of digital learners has long been and continues to be a topic of significant research interest.  Content on how to teach or how to learn in an online environment has always been plentiful, whether it is offered in print or digitally, with cost or for free. COVID 19 has not thrown the education sector into a completely foreign world – expertise and content in digital learning is plentiful across the sector. Educators and students have ample resources to draw upon to develop their online teaching and learning abilities respectively – although times are trying for both groups right now, they will be OK. Educators will educate, and students will learn during COVID 19 and well beyond.

Of interest is how leaders are faring during the pandemic. In the higher education sector, leaders have had to rely more than ever on a systemic and holistic approach as they engage and communicate with the different stakeholder groups. Functioning effectively as a team has never been so crucial as institutions respond to the immediate changes in course delivery, the needs of students, faculty and staff, and institutional operations. Recovery planning is well underway at many institutions despite not knowing where the finish line will be. Leaders are tasked with the responsibility of leading their institution through a period of uncertainty and change- and, rest assured, the ways in which they are doing so are being observed. Knowing who you are as a leader, having positive working relationships with others, knowing when to consult and with whom, thinking holistically and strategically, instilling confidence and reassurances, and being an effective communicator are among the top skills and traits a leader within higher education will be expected to have and demonstrate right now.

Royal Roads University offers a rich suite of academic programs, courses and professional development resources focused on the development of leadership skills and knowledge.  The Masters of Arts in Higher Education Administration and Leadership (MAHEAL) offers current and aspiring leaders and administrators within the sector a graduate program informed by theory, research and practice. If you’re interested in learning more about MAHEAL and the courses and certificates within it, visit our website or request more info.