Academic Dean and the Challenges of Meeting Changing Expectations within a Competitive Higher Education Environment in Africa
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This article looks at the challenges involved and seeks to provide guidelines for leadership decisions and practices for the Deans that can be effective in institutions of higher learning. This paper provides an overview of academic leadership by faculty deans, and assesses the degree to which deans exhibit the behaviors embedded in this leadership in addressing the challenges and expectations of this century. Deanship is therefore treated as the academic act of building programs and a community of scholars to set direction and achieve the expectations of stakeholders in the current challenging economic times. The need for transformational leadership is emphasized. The paper shows how academic leaders must be the purveyors of ideas and knowledge that shape managerial thought and practice. Further, academic leadership needs to develop a human resource network inside and outside the departments and university and at the local, national, and international levels. Academic leadership needs to have a clarified program for faculty and staff promotion and development, and it should be placed on a priority list and agenda. Deans will need to use technology effectively and communication innovations to improve access to knowledge. Keeping pace with change in the world of work means offering education programmes that are relevant, are of high quality and, increasingly, include practical or work experience, as well as working more closely with stakeholders such as employers in course design or delivery. They will also need significantly to streamline their operations by incorporating new teaching and learning delivery mechanisms. Finally it is observed that academic leaders should take the initiative by adopting measures of success that are truly useful management tools for their institutions and that have credibility with the institution’s external stakeholders.
- School of Education 
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