1st Edition

Leadership Transitions in Universities Arriving, Surviving and Thriving at the Top

By Tom Kennie, Robin Middlehurst Copyright 2021
    358 Pages 83 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    358 Pages 83 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Combining expert knowledge, experience and reflections from senior leaders to distil collective leadership experiences, this book explores the realities of leadership at universities rather than the imagined and often-unrealistic expectations and perceptions of how leaders should act. This key text is an informed insider’s guide to leadership transitions that will assist talented individuals in considering whether to apply for, how to prepare for and how to take on the task of leading a university. The collection of leadership experiences provided will help universities to be more successful, students to have great educational experiences and staff at all levels to have more-fulfilling working environments. It will also consider how to avoid the emotional pain and suffering that can arise when leaders find themselves poorly equipped, unprepared, unable or unwilling to provide the sound and competent leadership that universities deserve.

    Centred on the practice and experience of leadership, this book will be a must-read for all new and existing heads of universities. It will also provide useful insights to those actively involved in the recruitment and development of senior leaders, members of senior leadership teams and those who hold governance roles in universities. Further updates and details about the application of the ideas in the book in practice can be found at www.leadershiptransitionsatthetop.com/.

    PART 1: SETTING THE TRAJECTORY  1. Transitions: Concepts connections, challenges  2. Understanding the Role: The delicate balancing act  3. Understanding the Environment: Context and culture  4. ‘Being there’ and routes to ‘there’: Patterns and pathways  5. Undertaking the Journey Up: Motivations and making the cut  PART 2: LEADING THE UNIVERSITY  6. Early Days: Surprises and sense-making  7. Senior Leadership Teams: It’s more than you  8. Working on the Agenda: Do strategy and planning really matter?  9. Leading change: From ‘launch pad’ to ‘lift off’  10. Leading in a Crisis: Don’t forget BC, get through DC, focus on AC  11. Leading Externally: Concepts and cases  12. You and the Role: Surviving and thriving  13. Staying there: Most do, some don’t  14. The art and science of baton passing: Exiting well  PART 3: WE NEED TO CHANGE  15. Shaping new beginnings: When, what and how?  16. The Future: for universities, for the Head of University (HoU) role and for transitions  17. Integrated leadership transitions: Planning and action  18. Voices from the top: final reflections on the realities of leading


    Tom Kennie is a director of Ranmore (www.ranmore.co.uk). He has extensive experience, gained over 20 years, in working with higher education institutions and research bodies on leadership, management and governance activities globally. He was, with Robin Middlehurst, a cofounding programme director of the UK Top Management Programme (TMP), a leadership development programme for members of senior leadership teams in universities. In recent years his work has become increasingly focused on transition coaching for new heads of universities as they navigate through the many phases and issues outlined in this book. He is also an honorary senior fellow at the LH Martin Institute/Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne.

    Robin Middlehurst is an emeritus professor of higher education at Kingston University London and an independent scholar and consultant in higher education policy, governance and leadership (www.robinmiddlehurst.com/). She led the UK’s national development programme on academic quality and standards, was a founding director of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (with responsibilities for research and international engagement) and has promoted borderless education worldwide through research, consultancy and governance contributions. Robin has 25 years’ experience in working at director and senior management levels in national policy agencies and universities, building effective relationships with senior government officials, stakeholders, clients and partners. She is a senior associate of Ranmore (www.ranmore.co.uk).

    "There aren’t that many people who aspire to be Vice-Chancellors and even fewer who actually succeed in being appointed. This is an excellent book for those seeking appointment but also for those who make it to the top. Whilst it is presented as a handbook for aspiring and current VCs I do think there is also much of value in here for other senior leaders too. The book draws on the wide and deep experience of the authors in university leadership development which is usefully supplemented by a number of first hand accounts from current and previous Vice-Chancellors. It’s a comprehensive survey ranging from an exploration of the role and characteristics of  VCs to how individuals end up getting themselves appointed to such positions." - Paul Greatix, Association of Heads of University Administration