Blog

The latest insights on narrative, storytelling and leadership in higher education.

Category: Guest blogs

Narratives and the student experience

“There isn’t a homogenous student experience”, so how do we capture the experiences of our students to enable them to excel? Shân Wareing makes the argument for finding the patterns – where groups of students harmonise and where they diverge – to uncover how, when and where we can make an empowering difference to students’ lives. Is ‘the student experience’…

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‘Liven up’ leaders: Time to inoculate against zombification. Or not?

What is zombie leadership and what does it look like? Stella Jones-Devitt and Liz Austen examine what we risk if we endorse this cultural status-quo, and guide us through how we might spot it so that we can choose our fate – either to conform and comply or to do something different. There’s no bravery in zombie leadership.” You may…

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Leadership for middle managers: Technical University Denmark

What is a lead university and what does it mean to work in one? Anders Jacobsen writes about the experiences of the Human Resources team at the Technical University Denmark (DTU) in realising a vision to embed leadership as the foundation of their institutional culture. Anders takes us through the challenges the team faced to reach those in the middle,…

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Navigating the McNamara Trap

Metrics govern so much of how we interpret the success of what is important in higher education. Yet what do we miss if we only focus on the things that can be counted? Drawn from evidence from a QAA (Scotland) collaborative cluster project ‘Beyond the metrics: the intangibles’, Fiona Smart, Alastair Robertson and Liz Cleaver look beyond number-crunching to evolve…

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Professional Purpose image

Who am I now? A journey to find professional purpose

In November 2015, Coach and Consultant Maeve Lankford took a leap and left her job to start up on her own. This radical shift encouraged Maeve to consider her professional purpose: who is she now? At the same time, higher education in Maeve’s native Ireland was also facing considerable change brought about by a new national strategy published in 2011…

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A sonnet to science

A Sonnet to Science

Drawing on his new book, science communicator and lecturer Dr Sam Illingworth explains how poetry can help bridge the divide between disciplines and help us to make better sense of the world we live in. In late 2016 I won a small Research Grant from the Royal Society to conduct an investigation into famous scientists who wrote poetry, why they…

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Just being

Just being: the leadership journey of a Deputy Vice-Chancellor

What can we learn from others about the intricacies and opportunities of leadership? Dr Jane Rand, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at York St John University, tells the story of her leadership journey; from completing a diploma at night school to her most recent appointment working alongside colleagues to shape the future direction of her institution. Education is transformational: for individuals, communities…

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The Lonely King part III

The Lonely King part III

A way forward This is the final instalment of the journey of King Philip. Told as a story, this three-part blog series explores the challenges of leading at the top. Through King Philip, we experience the anxiety of losing a vision, the challenge of reconnecting back to a greater purpose, and the intricacies of balancing viewpoints different to our own.…

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The Lonely King seeks help

The Lonely King part II

The Lonely King seeks help In the first instalment we met King Philip of Mantava. Philip has been King for many years now, and yet he has a disquieting feeling that he could, and should, be doing more. We met King Philip as he began to ask himself, where did he lose his vision? And how had this happened? This…

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