Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Leadership in Australian university colleges and halls of residence: a model for the future
    Nethercote, Robert Giles ( 1988)
    This study examines Australian university colleges and halls of residence (collegiate residences) at a time of pressure and change and proposes a leadership model for success into the future. In 1995, a survey of members of the Association of Heads of Australian University Colleges and Halls Incorporated indicated that 39% of residences were operating at less than full capacity and since that time two residences have closed and others are contracting which indicates a significant problem exists. Pressures on Australian universities are forcing changes which impact upon collegiate residences. Changes to government funding arrangements, increased demands for accountability and better performance, more direct competition, increasing internationalisation, proliferation of institutions providing tertiary education, a rapidly changing working, teaching and learning environment due to new information technology and methods of communication and increasing expectations of students , academic and general staff are pressures on universities. These, together with further residence specific pressures are requiring universities and collegiate residences to respond with strategies and management practices which uphold their mission and are accountable and responsive to their immediate and wider communities. An analysis of the two relevant strands of literature on collegiate residence and leadership theory led to the adaptation of a conceptual framework which Caldwell and Spinks (1992) had developed to apply to self-managing schools. As university colleges and halls of residence arc both university and privately owned and have leadership needs similar to other educational institutions including schools, the CSER n10dcl of collegiate leadership was proposed as presenting an ideal where that collegiate residence leaders would have understanding and expertise in the four domains of strategic, cultural, educational and responsive leadership. The methodology of a questionnaire surveying heads of residences and case study visits to twelve residences and consultations with university and residence professionals with specific knowledge and expertise led to development of profiles of contemporary collegiate residence and headship together with insight into the research question how future leaders will need to operate to be successful in future. From this, a guide for use in self-eval uation within a collegiate residence was developed. The thesis that future leaders will require expertise in the four domains is tested and the significant finding is that the greatest area of weakness is in strategic leadership and development on this domain will be the greatest need of future leaders, particularly those in residences whose survival is threatened. There will also be a need to develop entrepreneurial abilities together with specific components of responsive leadership. As surmised, the strengths of residences and their heads lay within the cultural and educational domains. The CSER model of collegiate leadership proved to be a sound framework for the study and, together with the findings, provided an important contribution to the literature on university residence and leadership theory and practice.