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CercleS Focus Group on Management and Leadership: Preliminary findings of a 2015 Survey of Language Centre Directors

A presentation given at the 17th Association of University Language Centres Conference on 7th-8th January 2016.

1 of 25
∂
CercleS Focus Group: Management and Leadership:
Preliminary findings of a 2015 Survey of Language
Centre Directors
Mark Critchley, Director
Centre for Foreign Language Study
mark.critchley@durham.ac.uk
∂
The focus group aims at creating a low threshold network for
directors for sharing challenges and questions and, by doing
this, provides collegial support in management and
leadership. Expected results are an intranet for directors to
exchange experiences, workshops and webinars for directors
and a mentoring system for new directors.
CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
∂
Members:
Heidi Rontu, Convenor (Aalto University, Finland)
Debbie Coetzee-Lachmann (Universität Osnabrück, Germany)
Mark Critchley (Durham University, UK)
Marta Estella (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
Daniela Forapani (Università degli Studi di Parma, Italy)
Petra Gekeler (Universität Basel, Switzerland)
Cristina Pérez Guillot (Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain)
Ulla Kristiina Tuomi (University of Helsinki, Finland)
CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
∂
Purpose of survey:
To learn about management and leadership challenges faced by
Directors of language centres, to identify common themes, and to
develop recommendations for future support
14 questions. Circulated through national associations (including
AULC) in March 2015
65 responses received
CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
∂
Questions:
1.What is the status of your centre in the university?
2.Do you have other duties in addition to management?
3.As a language centre director, in which areas do you
particularly wish to improve your skills?
4.From a list of core skills a manager should have, choose the
ones you feel you need to enhance in order to lead your
language centre
5.As a language centre director, in which areas would you like
to share experiences with colleagues?
CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
∂
6. Does your institution have an official deputy director?
What are his or her tasks and responsibilities? How do
you communicate with him or her: do you have regular
one-on-one meetings/discussions?
7. In case you have division heads (e.g. for languages) at
your institution, how do their roles and responsibilities
relate to those of the lecturers in their language groups and
to those of you as the director?
8. Can you delegate any of your work tasks? Which ones?
9. What would you consider your greatest challenge at the
moment? Why?
CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership

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CercleS Focus Group on Management and Leadership: Preliminary findings of a 2015 Survey of Language Centre Directors

  • 1. ∂ CercleS Focus Group: Management and Leadership: Preliminary findings of a 2015 Survey of Language Centre Directors Mark Critchley, Director Centre for Foreign Language Study mark.critchley@durham.ac.uk
  • 2. ∂ The focus group aims at creating a low threshold network for directors for sharing challenges and questions and, by doing this, provides collegial support in management and leadership. Expected results are an intranet for directors to exchange experiences, workshops and webinars for directors and a mentoring system for new directors. CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 3. ∂ Members: Heidi Rontu, Convenor (Aalto University, Finland) Debbie Coetzee-Lachmann (Universität Osnabrück, Germany) Mark Critchley (Durham University, UK) Marta Estella (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain) Daniela Forapani (Università degli Studi di Parma, Italy) Petra Gekeler (Universität Basel, Switzerland) Cristina Pérez Guillot (Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain) Ulla Kristiina Tuomi (University of Helsinki, Finland) CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 4. ∂ Purpose of survey: To learn about management and leadership challenges faced by Directors of language centres, to identify common themes, and to develop recommendations for future support 14 questions. Circulated through national associations (including AULC) in March 2015 65 responses received CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 5. ∂ Questions: 1.What is the status of your centre in the university? 2.Do you have other duties in addition to management? 3.As a language centre director, in which areas do you particularly wish to improve your skills? 4.From a list of core skills a manager should have, choose the ones you feel you need to enhance in order to lead your language centre 5.As a language centre director, in which areas would you like to share experiences with colleagues? CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 6. ∂ 6. Does your institution have an official deputy director? What are his or her tasks and responsibilities? How do you communicate with him or her: do you have regular one-on-one meetings/discussions? 7. In case you have division heads (e.g. for languages) at your institution, how do their roles and responsibilities relate to those of the lecturers in their language groups and to those of you as the director? 8. Can you delegate any of your work tasks? Which ones? 9. What would you consider your greatest challenge at the moment? Why? CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 7. ∂ 10. Do you get sufficient support from the University in challenging leadership situations? 11. What kind of support would be helpful in coping with challenges? 12. What does well-being at work mean to you? 13. Do you have support for well-being at work at your institution? 14. What makes you happy at work? CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 8. ∂ Questions and responses, when analysed, fall into 4 broad categories: CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 9. ∂ Of institutions responding: •32% are autonomous institutions within the University •60% are part of other University structures (e.g. academic departments) •5% are private enterprises Broad range, very little commonality CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 10. ∂ Structures of language centres vary widely, according to: •Number of languages •Number of courses •Number of students •Number of staff and grade profile •Proportion of freelance teachers •Budget control •Range of stakeholders •Institutional policy However, a common theme for Directors is empowerment CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 11. ∂ • 23% of Directors are full time • 77% are lecturers, professors and teachers with Director responsibilities 48% have a formal deputy; 29% have an informal deputy Most commonly delegated tasks are QA, exams, pedagogical development, and “admin tasks” … - or “nothing” “… there is one person I trust…” “we have a sort of deputy director” “we have a Directory Board” “in practice, I have to mainly work alone ….” CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 12. ∂ Director’s role is influenced by: •Clarity of structures •Connectivity within the institution •Authority and responsibility •Autonomy and support •Communication skills •Inter-cultural skills •Attitudes and values •Balance between management and administration (i.e. workload) CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 13. ∂ 3 core skills that Directors need: •Project management 68% •Collaboration 54% •Leadership and people management 48% CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 14. ∂ Top 3 skills that Directors want to develop: •Entrepreneurship 68% •Networking and lobbying •Strategic/organisational planning 65% •Team building •Financial management 48% •HR management CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 15. ∂ Main challenges facing Directors: •Staffing (recruitment, training, team building, motivation, workload, skills, conflict, change management, …) •Funding (constraints, income generation, cost control) •Profile (internal visibility, networking, policy, competition, marketing, internationalisation) •Other • Individual challenges • Student issues (numbers, diversity, on-line learning) • Organisation (premises, structure, pace of change, survival) CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 16. ∂ The main issue challenging Language Centre Directors? Support CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 17. ∂ Is support generally available? •HR? Yes (for problem solving) No (for resources) •Finance? No •Estates? occasionally •Innovation? sometimes CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 18. ∂ Is support generally available? •From senior management? depends •From line manager? frequently •From colleagues? not always CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 19. ∂ CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 20. ∂ Well-being: •A reasonable and manageable workload •Trust and support from above and below •Recognition •Good atmosphere •Work/life balance “Well-being at work is generally associated for me with the notion that we are making progress in solving problems, improving relations between colleagues and delivering better teaching to students” CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 21. ∂ According to the survey, what experiences do Directors want to be shared? •How to improve the profile of the Language Centre • internally • externally •Quality assessment •Facing up to leadership challenges CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 22. ∂ According to the survey, what support do Directors want to be provided? •Coaching •How to enhance visibility of issues to senior management •Workshops •Mentoring – sharing of experiences and know-how CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 23. ∂ Suggestions and recommendations from the Focus Group: •Dedicated fora for interchange of ideas between Directors (via CercleS website?) •Website with documents and resources (e.g. organisational models, standard job profiles for key roles) •Workshops in key skills development for Directors, for deputy directors, or division heads •Mobility – exchange visits •Mentoring and coaching CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 24. ∂ Personal reflections •We’re all in this together – collaboration not competition •In absence of support from others, let’s support each other •HEA learning & teaching resources in the disciplines •AULC Management SIG CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership
  • 25. ∂ Thankyou! CercleS Focus Group: Management & Leadership