The state of play of Associate Deans, learning and teaching, in Australian universities, 30 years on

Article


Mason, Thembi and de la Harpe, Barbara. 2020. "The state of play of Associate Deans, learning and teaching, in Australian universities, 30 years on ." Higher Education Research and Development. 39 (3), pp. 532-545. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2019.1685944
Article Title

The state of play of Associate Deans, learning and teaching, in Australian universities, 30 years on

ERA Journal ID20348
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsMason, Thembi and de la Harpe, Barbara
Journal TitleHigher Education Research and Development
Journal Citation39 (3), pp. 532-545
Number of Pages14
Year2020
PublisherRoutledge
ISSN0729-4360
1469-8366
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2019.1685944
Web Address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07294360.2019.1685944
Abstract

Learning and teaching leadership by Associate Deans has struggled for effective acceptance in universities for decades. Various Government reviews, policy changes, and reward and recognition systems have been implemented to encourage universities to focus on learning and teaching leadership, and to assure quality outcomes in a changing global landscape. The role of the Associate Dean was created to lead learning and teaching strategically in local university contexts. Despite many recommendations to support the role, it has been reported for almost three decades that Associate Deans struggle to bring about change in the enhancement of learning and teaching. So, have things changed for the Associate Deans, are they more equipped to lead learning and teaching in university contexts now? In this article, through interviews with 25 Associate Deans, and through a Bourdieusian lens, we explore the Capital they possess in their leadership roles. Such Capital is considered against 35 Hallmarks identified in the literature as key to fully equipping Associate Deans as learning and teaching leaders. Both individual Capital and Capital deriving from how the Field is enabling or inhibiting Associate Deans are explored. It is revealed that many Associate Deans may not have the Capital necessary to fully equip them for their leadership of learning and teaching role, and that the traditional university culture, or Field in which they operate, either purposefully or unconsciously may be contributing to inhibiting their leadership. This article provides a timely opportunity to pause and contemplate the Capital that is required for Associate Deans in their role. It highlights for university administrators and leaders what is required for Associate Deans to be fully equipped to fulfil the role and to lead the learning and teaching change that is necessary for universities to thrive.

KeywordsAssociate Dean; Capital; leadership; Learning and teaching
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Byline AffiliationsRoyal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)
University of Southern Queensland
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