22 SES 13 C, Coming In From The Cold? Women Leaders In Higher Education
The Australian higher education sector continues to undergo major changes and policy reforms. This study reports on an inquiry into leadership models that met the social challenges of women academic leaders to counter social disadvantage. The study was conducted by a newly-appointed Head of School in Teacher Education based in a rural campus of a research intensive university in Australia (Author, 2012). The inquiry focused on the demands that a differentiated and locally responsive higher education model required, and the networks and collaborative strategies adopted, with a particular focus on new partnerships. The study involved a mapping of the particular policy reforms in higher education, teacher education and schooling. An exploration of leadership models in the three areas was also conducted. The author used actor network theory (Law and Hassard, 1999) to analyse the networks and community partnerships formed, with the changes made in seeking a more socially inclusive higher education environment. Largely, the study found that the new reforms offer women academic leaders the opportunity to rethink and re-position the existing resources and harness new opportunities for themselves, their staff and their communities, with implications for professional learning and career trajectories of aspirant female academics to leadership positions.
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