Project approach

The leadership roles and practices of Research Education Coordinators are evolving as research education changes. Relatively little is known about these roles and how they might vary across disciplines and institutional contexts. This project will therefore draw on the growing body of work on leadership for course coordinators, who are at similar middle levels and face similar distributed leadership challenges. It will include an adaptation of  Vilkinas’ the Integrated Competing Values Framework (ICVF) for the research education coordinator context. This framework was adapted from an organisational management framework for the roles of course coordinators, with Vilkinas in 2002  using an early version to describe the roles of research supervisors. The ICVF includes the roles of Innovator, Broker, Deliverer/Monitor, Developer (of people) and Integrator (a role which includes selection and integration of the other roles and reflective learning), describing these roles in relation to internal-external and task-people oriented dimensions of leadership. In this project, it will be adapted to describe the leadership roles required of research education coordinators, drawing on the leadership issues described by Hammond et al (2010) and further exploration of leadership practice with research education coordinators. The project will focus on the collaborative activities of research education within and across departments and research groups where the responsibility for enriching the quality of the research education experience is shared.

The learning and development approaches used in the project to support research education coordinators in building their leadership capabilities will similarly be adapted from approaches found successful with program leaders in other ALTC distributed leadership projects. These will include community building and action learning activities that support research education coordinators to lead change in research education at the local level, reflect on their leadership capabilities and engage in peer learning. This approach is consistent with research supervisors’ preferences for learning in context and from peers.

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