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They must place quality and excellence at the core of all they do.
Current leaders have to deal with a range of issues including increasing regulations, higher demand for quality, greater accountability, the need for ensuring competitiveness, stiffening competition, limited funding and new technologies which are reshaping education at all levels.
Leadership often requires a mixture of technical, conceptual and human skills.
In the increasingly competitive and financially constrained economy, leadership has become a key ingredient in the ultimate success or failure of any of institutions of all types.
In higher Education, the very complex nature of institutions of higher learning, the involvement of multiple stakeholders, the decreased funding, and the rapid pace of change occurring through the emergence of new business models have all led higher education to place much emphasis on leadership development.
Academic leaders face challenges that are quite different from those of working in other sectors of the economy and often must be responsive to these challenges and to the needs of its multiple stakeholders and the society at large.
Although many similarities exist between the characteristics and skills required for leaders in the business world and in higher education; there remain specific characteristics that are unique to those working in higher education which have implication on effective leadership.Most universities and colleges today operate as complex structure and entities which involve different types of stakeholders.Leaders must be able to maintain focus, provide direction and motivate people to ensure institutional sustainability, reach a ‘world-class’ status and support continuous growth.In addition, leaders of higher education need to enforce good governance and shall ensure that a transparent, effective, participatory, fair and democratic decision making process is adopted across the institution.Today, contemporary academic leaders need to be able to address the changing dynamics of higher education and lead organizational change.
They need to understand national and international regulations and accreditation requirements; be proficient in identifying society and employers’ needs; ensure prompt response to change by being able to motivate and embrace change, encourage innovation and creativity while ensuring the institution continues to deliver its strategic objectives in the most efficient manner.