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Supporting the Role of Associate Dean in Universities: an Alternative Approach to Management Development

Preston, Diane and Floyd, Alan (2016). Supporting the Role of Associate Dean in Universities: an Alternative Approach to Management Development. Higher Education Quarterly, 70(3) pp. 264–280.

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Located between senior management and academic staff, the role of the Associate Dean in universities appears to be growing in number, complexity and importance in recent years. A role arguably fraught with complexity, it remains largely undefined and under-researched. While little is known about the role in general, less still is known about their leadership development experiences. This paper reports on a Leadership Foundation funded UK study to explore what training and role preparation Associate Deans have had. Data was collected from 15 interviews with Associate Deans from five different institutions and a follow-up online survey of Associate Deans (n = 172) throughout England and Wales. The study found that 60 per cent of respondents had received little or no formal management training and that 24 per cent of those who had received training reported it to be only moderately useful or of little or no use. In contrast, however, the respondents identified the establishment of informal learning and support networks with other Associate Deans as being a vital source of support. The paper argues that an alternative model of management development, based on relational and social learning theories, might be a more appropriate way to help support this group of academic middle leaders.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN: 1468-2273
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Exploring the role of Associate Dean in UK Universities (B-13-028-DP)RE001792Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE)
Keywords: associate dean; training; development; management; leadership; learning
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Education Futures
Item ID: 46109
Depositing User: Alan Floyd
Date Deposited: 23 May 2016 13:50
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2016 09:28
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