Tertiary Education and Management

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 186–199 | Cite as

Leading learning and teaching: an exploration of ‘local’ leadership in academic departments in the UK

  • Kate IrvingEmail author


This paper reports on a small-scale longitudinal study of ‘local’ leadership roles at two UK universities. The research explored perceptions of the leadership provided by a specific group of staff who held roles for enhancing learning and teaching. Based on ethnographic design principles, the study was based at one UK higher education institution with another as a comparator. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and focus groups with ‘local’ leadership role-holders and their colleagues. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with academic managers. Analysis of the data was based on grounded theory and thematic analysis. The discussion and conclusion suggests that, to maximize the impact of these roles, the leadership aspects of them should be made explicit, recognized by colleagues at all levels and supported by leadership development. Further investigation into local leaders’ career progression may provide valuable insights for the relatively limited body of knowledge and practice of leadership within professional teams.


leadership enhancement learning and teaching grounded theory thematic analysis 


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Copyright information

© The European Higher Education Society 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ChesterUK

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