Intellectual Leadership in Higher Education: Renewing the role of the university professor, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Intellectual Leadership in Higher Education

Renewing the role of the university professor, 1st Edition

By Bruce Macfarlane


162 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415560825
pub: 2012-02-17
Hardback: 9780415560818
pub: 2012-02-17
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pub: 2013-07-03
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What is ‘intellectual leadership’ and how might this concept be better understood in the modern university? Drawing on research into the role of full or chair professors, this book argues that it is important to define and reclaim intellectual leadership as a counter-weight to the prevailing managerial culture of higher education. It contends that professors have been converted into narrowly defined knowledge entrepreneurs and often feel excluded or marginalised as leaders by their own universities. To fulfil their role professors need to balance the privileges of academic freedom with the responsibilities of academic duty. They exercise their academic freedom as critics and advocates but they also need to be mentors, guardians, enablers and ambassadors. Four orientations to intellectual leadership are identified: knowledge producer, academic citizen, boundary transgressor and public intellectual. These orientations are illustrated by reference to the careers of professors and show how intellectual leadership can be better understood as a transformational activity. This book tackles the question of what intellectual leadership actually is and analyses the questions most frequently associated with the role of senior academics, including:

  • How can intellectual leadership be distinguished from other forms of leadership and management?
  • How can professors balance their responsibilities both within and beyond the university?
  • How can universities make better use of the expertise of professors as leaders?

It concludes with recommendations for senior institutional managers on how to make more effective use of the expertise and leadership potential of the senior professoriate.


'This is a well-written, well-argued book about an under-researched but increasingly important topic.' - Justine Mercer, University of Warwick, UK

Table of Contents

Part A- Leadership and intellectuals 1. The leadership crisis 2. Beyond the caricature Part B- The entrepreneurial academy 3. The retreat from engagement 4. The corporatization of the research agenda Part C- Freedom and Duty 5. Becoming a Professor 6. Being a Professor 7. Two freedoms 8. Four Duties Part D- Re-engagement 9. Understanding Intellectual Leadership 10. Finding a Moral Compass 11. Reclaiming Professorial Leadership

About the Author

Bruce Macfarlane is Associate Professor for Higher Education at the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

About the Series

Research into Higher Education

Co-published with the Society for Research into Higher Education

This exciting new series aims to publish cutting edge research and discourse that reflects the rapidly changing world of higher education, examined in a global context. Encompassing topics of wide international relevance, the series includes every aspect of the international higher education research agenda, from strategic policy formulation and impact to pragmatic advice on best practice in the field.

For more information, or to express an interest in writing for the series, please contact Sarah Tuckwell, [email protected]

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Leadership
EDUCATION / Research