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

Category: Guest blogs

Leadership in Culturally Significant Times

When we can no longer lean on predictability and predictive analysis, we need courage to face ambiguity, trust in ourselves and others, boldness in business continuity and – most poignantly – cultural leadership.

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’…

Continue reading

‘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…

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading

Really looking blog

Really looking

‘A static body of knowledge on the shelf’ is how we might perceive the Humanities. But if we were to really look and examine the questions they confront us with, would we recognise this definition? Or would it encourage us, and our students, to look again? ‘Look,’ I say, pointing out of my bedroom window at a tree that is…

Continue reading

Do you speak Acabusinish?

Do you speak Acabusinish?

How to avoid the trappings of de-facto university language. Tom Scott, writer and university lecturer, examines the rise of Acabusinish, the unlovely hybrid of academic jargon and management speak. In this article, issues regarding approaches to written communication typically characterising academic discourses will be problematised, while it will be noted that the hybridisation of such discourses with linguistic features associated…

Continue reading