22 SES 04 A, Management and Governance in Higher Education.
This paper presents findings from a case study of higher education leadership in Russia. The research was conducted as part of a British Degrees in Russia (BRIDGE) project, funded by the UK’s Department for Education and Skills, and Russia’s National Training Federation. The primary purpose of BRIDGE is to develop collaborative partnerships between British and Russian Higher Education Institutions and thus facilitate the creation of new, professionally-orientated postgraduate dual-awards, validated by both institutions. The BRIDGE partnership underpinning this particular study developed a postgraduate course in educational leadership for Russian school leaders, university academic-managers, and Ministry of Education officials. Teams from both universities have met regularly since June 2005, when the BRIDGE project started, and have continued to collaborate even after the BRIDGE funding ended in September 2008. The co-authors of this paper are a Russian BRIDGE team member, who is also a Head of Department, and the UK BRIDGE project leader.
The research presented in this paper investigates the roles of Russian academic-managers and the impact of new managerialist trends on Russian higher education leadership. It addresses the following four research questions:
a) How are Russian academic-managers selected and supported?
b) How do academic-managers at one Russian university describe and understand their role?
c) How are their professional identities formed and developed by becoming an academic-manager?
d) To what extent does the ideology of new managerialism shape their professional identities, roles, and practices?
The paper argues that higher education leadership is a situated phenomenon, conceptualised and practised in context. It is influenced by multiple factors including socio-economics, race, gender, ethnicity and culture, as well as organisational structure, size and orientation. In some respects, therefore, the way higher education leadership is conceptualized and exercised is very contextually-contingent, and potentially very divergent. However, there are also a number of common, interrelated socio-economic trends, political discourses, and technological advances permeating education systems, all around the world. These include the rise of human capital theory and the reform of public services through the ideology of new managerialism. As a result, certain, potentially unifying, similarities, that span international boundaries, are emerging in the way educational leadership is understood and enacted. Thes paper debates leadership theory and practice using empirical data and previous scholarship from two relatively different national contexts (Russia and the UK) in order to explore how these diversifying and unifying pressures interact.
In particular, the paper debates the relevance to the Russian context of Deem’s (2000) three-fold typology of the “career-track” academic-manager, the “reluctant” academic-manager, and the “good citizen” academic-manager. It also considers the extent to which the “Janusian” and “values” conflicts identified in UK universities by Sotirakou (2004) are discernible in the work of Russian academic-managers.
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