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Enabling Leadership Capacity


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ALARA Webinars

Enabling leadership capacity for higher education scholarship in learning and teaching (SOTL) through action research

Presenters: Dr Marina Harvey and Professor Emerita Sandra Jones

Presentation Date: Friday 14 May 2021 (Australian Eastern Standard Time)

This webinar has now concluded. A recording of the webinar is available.


Action research (AR) offers an ideological fit with the culture and the work of the academy - they share a culture of collegiality, evidence- and theory-based practice, and a focus on reflection and evaluation to inform change and innovation. An AR approach and methodology are also integral to the development of leadership capacity for learning and teaching. This workshop focuses on a distributed leadership approach for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) enabled by, and researched through, AR. Discussion and findings are presented through the lens of 20 funded Australian AR projects that used distributed leadership to build capacity for SOTL. These projects have made contributions to SOTL that extend the boundaries of pedagogical AR to a new area of focus: that of a distributed leadership approach to SOTL. An AR meta review of the projects revealed a synergy between AR and distributed leadership. The review generated evidence-based good practice actions for AR that also enable a distributed leadership approach for SOTL. These good practice action statements, together with illustrative vignettes, are presented in this workshop. The intention is that the statements can provide a simple guide to using an AR approach to facilitate distributed leadership for higher education SOTL.

The workshop aims to:

  • Share authentic examples of funded higher education AR projects
  • Outline the key concepts of Distributed Leadership (and the six tenets of DL), Action Research and SOTL
  • Explore the relationship between DL and AR
  • Examine the good practice action statements (to enable DL for SOTL AR) in relation to the practice and context and of participants

About the Presenters

Marina Harvey

Marina is a higher education scholar and past President of CAULLT (Council of Australasian University Leaders of Learning and Teaching). She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, an Australian National Teaching Fellow and has also received national and university citations for outstanding contributions to student learning. She has contributed over 90 learning and teaching publications. Marina’s work in enhancing quality learning and teaching is underpinned by, and focuses on, reflection for learning. Other scholarly interests include distributed leadership, sessional staff, and mentoring for learning and teaching in higher education, all of which are examined through Action Research.

Sandra Jones

Professor Emerita Sandra Jones has over 30 years’ experience in leading change in the Australian higher education sector. Based in her commitment to the paradigm of collaboration, Sandra has researched and practiced a distributed leadership approach to learning and teaching coupled with a focus on action research methodology. Her research co-collaboration with Dr Marina Harvey has enabled her to practice and reflect on the impact of a distributed leadership approach in underpinning change in learning and teaching.

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