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Wednesday, July 3 • 1:30pm - 2:10pm
Educational leadership cosmologies: Autonomy of a Hybrid Mode conceptualisation

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Similar to the ‘range of stances’ that have been constellated around the term ‘student-centred’ learning and contrasted with another group labelled ‘teacher-centred’ (Maton 2014:155) this paper will develop the clusters and constellations around the emerging concept ‘Educational Leadership’ as contrasted with a term like ‘Traditional leadership’. Both concepts hold in themselves a cosmology of meaning that is critical to understand in the current higher education landscape that tries to escape (or not!) the neo-liberal drive towards the massification and consumerisation of higher education (Smyth 2017). The intellectual and even material conflict flowing from this dichotomy is fierce and asks for an urgent scholarly response.

To describe the cosmologies, but more importantly the power-dynamics present in the world of Educational Leadership in Higher Education, Autonomy will be used to analyse the organizing principles underlying the relations among leadership practices (Maton & Howard 2018) prevalent in an institutional initiative at a South African university around the conceptualisation of a new hybrid mode academic offering. 15 Interviews were done with leaders from three distinguishable power-perspectives in the university, namely the (a) institutional/ management, (b) the faculty leadership, and (c) the support services. The transcribed interviews were qualitatively thematically analysed with autonomy codes as lens.

Relational Autonomy indicates whether the idea comes from the inside of the university (stronger relational autonomy‚ RA+) or from the outside (weaker relational autonomy, RA-). Positional autonomy shows where the control of the idea resides. Again, if outside the university then it indicates weakened Positional autonomy (PA-) but when inside it shows stronger positional autonomy (PA+). The analysis uncovers differing autonomy profiles across the data, including different autonomy pathways across the autonomy plane (Maton & Howard 2018:8). It also shows differing autonomy pathways for the different groupings (management, faculty, support) but not consistently.

Looking at where the idea comes from and how a description of the leadership around the idea is crafted (i.e. the clusters and constellations), and who controls it (i.e. management, faculties or support) will contribute to a practice-based cosmological analysis of ‘Educational Leadership’ from the context of a research-led university in an ‘emerging market’.

This LCT analysis will contribute to our understanding of (technological) innovation and how it happens in universities in our current global climate through the lens of (and struggle for) (legitimate) Educational Leadership. It will also contribute to the field of Educational Leadership by theoretically analysing some of its core concepts in a cumulative knowledge building approach, and showing how and why there is so much potential for conflict between the different constellations.


Wednesday July 3, 2019 1:30pm - 2:10pm SAST
Room B45

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