Research in Higher Education

, Volume 50, Issue 7, pp 715–740 | Cite as

Supporting Faculty Grassroots Leadership

  • Adrianna KezarEmail author
  • Jaime Lester


Various factors are making faculty leadership challenging including the rise in part-time and non-tenure-track faculty, the increasing pressure to publish and teach more courses and adopt new technologies and pedagogies, increasing standards for tenure and promotion, ascension of academic capitalism, and heavy service roles for women and people of color. This article focuses on describing actions taken by institutional agents and aspects of campus environments which are supportive of grassroots faculty leadership. While there are many conditions which inhibit faculty leadership (i.e., part-time and contingent faculty trends, rising publication standards, etc.), our study demonstrated certain campus conditions or characteristics can overcome the forces of change including counting leadership as service, creating campus networks, addressing dysfunctional department dynamics, fostering role models, supporting faculty who question or challenge decisions, ensuring flexibility and autonomy, and altering contingent faculty contracts to include service and leadership.


Leadership faculty development Faculty Change Administrative support 


  1. Allan, E. (2003). Constructing women’s status: Policy discourses of university women’s commission reports. Harvard Educational Review, 73(1), 44–72.Google Scholar
  2. Allen, E., & Estler, S. (2005). Diversity, privilege, and us: Collaborative curriculum transformation among educational leadership faculty. Innovative Higher Education, 29(3), 209–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Astin, H. S., & Leland, C. (1991). Women of influence, women of vision. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  4. Baldwin, R., & Chronister, J. (2001). Teaching without tenure: Policies and practices for a new era. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.Google Scholar
  5. Benjamin, R., & Carrol, S. (1998). The implications of the changes environment for governance in higher education. In W. Tierney (Ed.), The responsive university (pp. 92–119). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press.Google Scholar
  6. Birnbaum, R. (1988). How colleges work: The cybernetics of academic organization and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  7. Birnbaum, R. (1992). How academic leadership works. Jossey Bass: San Francisco.Google Scholar
  8. Brown, J. S., & Duguid, P. (1994). Organizational learning and communities of practice: Toward a unified view of working, learning and innovation. In H. Tsoukas (Ed.), New thinking in organizational behavior (pp. 165–187). London: Butterworth Heineman.Google Scholar
  9. Cooper, J., & Pagotto, L. (2003). Developing community college faculty as leaders. In W. E. Piland & D. B. Wolf (Eds.), Help wanted: Preparing community college leaders in a new century (pp. 27–37). New Directions for Community Colleges. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  10. Fairweather, J. (1996). Faculty work and the public trust: Restoring the value of teaching and public service in American academic life. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  11. Hart, J. (2005). Activism among feminist academics: Professionalized activism and activists professionals. Advancing women in leadership. Retrieved June 7, 2005 from http://www.advaningwomen/com/awl/social_justice1/Hart.html.
  12. Kezar, A. (2001a). Seeking a sense of balance: Academic governance in the 21st century. Peer Review, 3(3), 4–6.Google Scholar
  13. Kezar, A. (2001b). Understanding and facilitating organizational change in the 21 st Century: Recent research and conceptualizations. Washington, DC: ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Reports.Google Scholar
  14. Kezar, A., & Lester, J. (forthcoming). Enhancing campus capacity for leadership: Stories and lessons from grassroots leadership in higher education. Palo Alto: Stanford Press.Google Scholar
  15. Kezar, A., Lester, J., & Anderson, G. (2006). Lacking courage, corporate sellout, not a real faculty member: Challenging stereotypes that prevent effective governance. NEA: Thought & Action, XXII, 121–134.Google Scholar
  16. Lieberman, D. (2005). Beyond faculty development: How centers for teaching and learning can be laboratories for learning. In A. Kezar (Ed.), Organizational learning in higher education (pp. 87–98). New Directions for Higher Education. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  17. Lucas, C. (1994). American higher education: A history. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  18. Lucas, A., et al. (2000). Leading academic change: Essential roles for department chairs. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  19. Luna, G., & Cullen, D. (1995). Empowering the faculty: Mentoring redirected and renewed. ASHE-ERIC. Washington, DC: George Washington University.Google Scholar
  20. McDade, S. (2009). Higher education leadership development programs in the marketplace. In A. Kezar (Ed.), New Horizons for leadership development: Revolutionizing leadership development in higher education. Sterling, VA: Stylus Press.Google Scholar
  21. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  22. Neumann, A. (1987). Defining good faculty leadership: Interpretations of professors and presidents. Paper presented at the ASHE Annual Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.Google Scholar
  23. Safarik, L. (2003). Feminist transformation in higher education: Discipline, structure, and institution. The Review of Higher Education, 26(4), 419–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schuster, J., & Finkelstein, M. (2006). The American faculty: The restructuring of academic work and careers. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.Google Scholar
  25. Slaughter, S., & Rhoades, G. (2004). Academic capitalism. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Sorcinelli, M. D. (2007). Faculty development: The challenge going forward. Peer Review: Emerging Trends and Key Debates in Undergraduate Education, 9(4), 4–8.Google Scholar
  27. Sorcinelli, M., Austin, A., Eddy, P., & Beach, A. (2006). Creating the future of faculty development. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.Google Scholar
  28. Stake, R. E. (2005). Qualitative case studies. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 443–466). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  29. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  30. Sullivan, W. (2004). Work and integrity. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  31. Thomas, J., & Willcoxson, L. (1998). Developing teaching and changing organizational culture through grass-roots leadership. Higher Education, 36, 371–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Walvoord, B., Carey, A., Smith, H., Sled, S., Way, P., & Zorn, D. (2000). Academic departments: How they work and how they change. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  33. Wergin, J. (Ed.). (2007). Leadership in place: How academic professionals can find their leadership voice. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.Google Scholar
  34. Yin, R. (2003). Case study research: Design and methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

Personalised recommendations