When is a leader not a leader? Experiences of programme leadership in a post-92 university.

  • Rebecca Sanderson
Keywords: programme leader, leader, post-1992, Leadership Foundation, Dr Karin Crawford, Ros Pepper, LFHE, Developing Academic Leadership and Innovative Practice


This paper explores the experiences of a group of eight Programme Leaders at a ‘modern’ or ‘post-1992’ university which was formed following the amalgamation of several technical colleges after the introduction of the Further and Higher Education act of 1992..  The primary research sources were drawn from a Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) funded project.  The original, larger project comprised a case study evaluation of a pilot support initiative for Programme Leaders (Sanderson, Crawford & Pepper, 2017) and a subset of findings from the qualitative data were worthy of further consideration. These findings relate specifically to an area of interest in contemporary higher education research: academic leadership. This paper considers these findings in the context of contemporary literature on academics’ experiences of leadership within Higher Education institutions in the UK and further afield, seeking to establish a greater understanding of this little studied but influential academic community and their experiences of leadership within a 21st century HE institution.