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ItemPractices and characteristics of principals in low educational advantage, improving Victorian secondary schools; contextually aware leadershipMccrohan, Kieran Matthew ( 2020)This study investigated the leadership of two secondary schools of low educational advantage on an improvement journey located in Victoria, Australia. This study provides further understanding of the ways school principals interact with specific contextual factors in order to support their school improvement journey. In both cases, the principals overcame their school’s challenging circumstances, defined by low performance and low advantage, by employing research based initiatives to drive improvement. Informed by a multiple perspective case study methodology, including interviews with the principal and other school leaders, teachers, parents, students and members of the school council, evidence found principals with a strong moral purpose and change leadership enabled long term, albeit slow improvement. This improvement was enabled by the principal’s navigation of a range of contextual factors that influenced, and were influenced by, the characteristics and practices of the school leader. Along with a strong moral purpose, the school principals had a relentless drive for change that enabled them to overcome great adversity within their school contexts. Employing practices such as increased accountability for teachers around their teaching and learning, implementing collaborative practices across many levels of the school and instilling hope through a strong vision, enabled transformation of these schools into a more desirable destination for students, teachers and the wider community.
ItemInteractions and collaboration in interdisciplinary teams undertaking project work in higher educationMiceli, Lucia ( 2019)This study investigates the interactions and collaboration that occur in interdisciplinary teams brought together to undertake project work in a higher educational setting. The aim of the study is to understand whether teams interact to collaborate across project stages to develop project solutions together. The study was conducted at a subject or unit level within a school of design in an Australian university using a qualitative case study approach. The focus was on the processes and interactions of four teams, all of which were undertaking the same project with the same tutor. Data were collected from a number of sources within each team, including pre project interviews with students and tutor, team Facebook transcripts, self reflection journals and assessment results. These data sets were triangulated for the analysis. The iterative analysis identified themes common across teams as well as variations unique to each team. The study found that three key factors, team leadership, emotional intelligence and curriculum development, consistently influence interpersonal interactions and collaboration in interdisciplinary teams. The findings indicate that the leadership role is critical and that the knowledge and personality of the individual who performs this role have the potential to influence the level of team interaction and to guide opportunities for collaborative engagement in the design thinking process. The research presented in this thesis suggests that leaders who are supportive and have the emotional intelligence to recognise and respect the individual value of team members are more likely to lead teams that interact collaboratively in design education. Conversely, a lack of discipline knowledge and low levels of emotional intelligence at the leader level limit the teams potential to interact collaboratively across all stages of the design process. These findings provide significant guidance for educators using interdisciplinary teams in problem based learning.
ItemEffective quality management in Vietnamese higher education institutionsPhan, Thi Kim Loan ( 2018)Given the current efforts of Vietnamese HEIs to increase quality and catch up with world-ranking universities, it is worthwhile to examine the nature of quality management (QM) implementation in the Vietnamese context and culture. In seeking to go beyond the previous scant research systematically examining the management of quality assurance (QA) in Vietnamese HEIs, this study aims to investigate the nature of QM in Vietnamese public HEIs. Using a sequential mixed methods approach, the study provides a comprehensive and systematic analysis of the topic by (i) developing a conceptually rigorous and empirically validated framework of QM for Vietnamese public HEIs; (ii) investigating the nature of QM in Vietnamese public universities; and (iii) examining implications for national policy and HEI practice based on the outcomes of the research. The study examines the context of Vietnamese higher education as a rationale for the research and higher education and HEI definitions and relevant characteristics as a background for the analysis. To guide the design of a conceptual QM framework, it explores the major concepts of quality, QA, QM, and a modified Deming cycle. The potential influence of the Vietnamese national characteristics on QM implementation in HEIs is also explored via Hofstede cultural theory. This theoretical understanding helped with the review of the six meta-analyses on QM in higher education to establish essential dimensions representing good practices in world higher education which would potentially work in the Vietnamese context. For empirical validation, a review was administered to international and local experts in higher education and QM in higher education through a two-round survey. The findings yielded an empirically validated conceptual framework. This framework, in turn, directed the location of the relevant documents and guided semi-structured interviews at three selected public HEIs to obtain stakeholders’ insights into QM implementation. The findings of this stage contributed to identifying the implications for national policy and institutional operations. Evidence from the study shows that Vietnamese public HEIs are still at an early stage in QM implementation. The recent efforts to improve QA that emphasise performance-based assessment solved many weaknesses and pushed these HEIs to a higher level. However, they insufficiently accommodated unique institutional requirements, did little to support improvement and ultimately enhancement, and seemed to be underdeveloped in some essential dimensions such as information management and benchmarking. Not surprisingly, they met some resistance. The findings advocate the idea that QA is contextually and culturally dependent. To help make the QA system more consistent and supportive of sustained improvement and innovation, the study suggests a QM framework consisting of nine dimensions, namely, continuous improvement, leadership and management, information management, resource management, education and research management, stakeholder focus and satisfaction, partnership development and management, benchmarking within the institution and beyond, and healthy relationship management. The thesis recommends a compliance culture for the initial stage to develop a full commitment to QA from all stakeholders. For long-term strategies, trust and transparency should be strongly established through quality practices with a focus on national culture.
ItemA study of successful principal leadership: moving from success to sustainabilityGoode, Helen Margaret ( 2017)As part of the International Successful School Principalship Project (ISSPP) the researcher revisited successful school principals five years after the initial study. This paper reports on three of these principals in Victoria, Australia and examines the extent to which they were able to maintain both the success of their school and their success as a leader. It focuses particularly on their attitudes to change, how this influences their leadership practice, and ultimately its contribution to improving school performance. A multiple perspective case study methodology was used. Data were collected through individual or group interviews the principal, members of the school board, president, senior staff, teachers, support staff, students and parents. The researcher attended several school functions, examined school documents and shadowed each of the principals for four days. The study found that sustainability of success was an outcome of the principals’ personal qualities, their attitude to change and the strategic interventions they made in response to external and internal environmental influences. These principals demonstrated different attitudes to change both in their capacity to continue to improve the school and to promote exemplary development. As leaders of change, the three principals were characterised as restorer-builder, strategic-builder, and visionary-driver. Whilst all principals were found to have continued to lead successful schools, their attitudes to change were found to influence the pathway of success.