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Title: Enhancing teaching and learning through distributed leadership : a case study in higher education
Author: Edwards, Sarah
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis aims to identify how the Distributed Leadership approach may be evident in Higher Education and specifically how it may enhance the teaching and learning function in a specific Higher Education setting, for which the primary activity is teaching and learning. Whilst being atypical of many Higher Education Institutions, the case study institution is arguably facing the same challenges in terms of the need to enhance teaching and learning as other institutions in the sector. Uniquely the research aims to identify parallels of teacher leadership theory drawn from the schools sector with that of activity in a Higher Education sector setting. The research draws upon theoretical and empirical literature of the Distributed approach to provide a conceptual framework for the case study. An interpretivist stance is used to collect predominantly qualitative data through a mixed methods approach, which was used to engage with staff in both formal leadership and academic positions. Sixteen semi-structured interviews were conducted and data from these interviews, together with fifty two questionnaire responses and documentary analysis were used to elicit both qualitative and quantitative data. Findings indicate that formal leadership assumes that there is a fostered environment that facilities the Distributed approach and that specific activity allows for elements of distribution. However, there is a perceptions gap of how the overall vision, mission and teaching and learning strategy is communicated. This needs to be strengthened in order to provide an ‘Effective Leadership Framework’ in which leadership of teaching and learning may be enhanced. Many aspects of leadership activity among academics drew parallels with teacher leadership theory. Many staff undertook activities that it can be argued are leadership functions such as networking, developing subject expertise and initiating projects that arguably enhance the student experience. However, this was ‘pulsating’ in nature and not sustained activity. The research also identified that opportunities for leadership should to be extended to more academic staff, the majority of whom had considered applying for leadership roles. In order to facilitate leadership activity, the professional learning community needs to be considerably strengthened to allow for efficient networking, especially around pedagogic development. A model of an ‘Effective Leadership Framework’ is developed to illustrate the role that Distributed Leadership may take in enhancing teaching and learning.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB2300 Higher Education