Academic Leadership and Institutional Challenges
In the current context, all industries and organizations, including higher education institutions have faced challenges beyond any predictable scenario. Higher education institutions have always been main providers of general and advanced knowledge and research in society. Their engagement in community development is rapidly changing, and the civic institutional mission is more and more visible. Academic leadership plays a crucial role in the path and design of institutional development. Leadership’s role in finding the most efficient strategies in teaching and learning, advanced research and society engagement is of high interest, but concrete solutions are still a work in progress.
There are a wide range of challenges which have put a lot of pressure academic leaders, such as lack of resources, lack of student engagement, changing priorities in the decision-making, growing bureaucracy and the added pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic. In some cases, leaders have to make quick operational decisions for short-run actions which make them behave more like managers and move them away from their real leadership role.
When uncertainty is the main contextual feature, changing educational mechanisms while complying with the same quality standards becomes a provocative approach by itself. Finding the right strategies is not an easy task for academic leadership. They have to find the right balance between current needs and not only future vision of higher education institution, but immediate actions. Academic strategies must be a way of shaping the institutional behavior starting with concrete decisions today. Learning from experiences and good practices is a great opportunity in finding answers to academic leadership dilemmas.
Suggested topics include but are not limited to:
- Academic leadership role and specific challenges and decisions
- Planning, organization and adaptation in higher education
- Teaching and learning flexible strategies; opportunities and threats in academic research
- Academic leadership and societal engagement
- Higher education best practices in shaping future developments
- Increasing quality in education; current and future quality assurance strategies
Leadership ICT Programmes for Change Agents in the Present Knowledge Society
Mini Track Chair: Danilo Piaggesi, Knowledge for Development (K4D), USA
K4D recognizes a renewed interest in academic institutions around the world in incorporating ICT in academic programs. Although there is an emphasis on the technology industry, differences in academic focus and professional goals for graduates pose a challenge. Studies show the promise of ICT as an instrument to accelerate the pace and widen the reach of international development efforts in all academic programs. Unfortunately, the number of institutions that have integrated ICT into their curricula is still limited, and, consequently, the number of graduating practitioners is low.
Academic education in this field requires supplementary training to complete a student’s education with practical, job-related capacity-building to improve their effectiveness in international development work. It seemed clear to me that formal academic education in this field would benefit from supplementary training aimed at rounding up a student’s education with practical, job-related, additional capacity-building, for the purpose of improving their effectiveness and leadership in a development context.
The proposed mini-track would give opportunity to present hands-on, practice-oriented, cross-cultural leadership programs, for students and practitioners who want to employ ICT to boost international development and willing to engage in an innovative process.
Suggested topics include but are not limited to:
- Knowledge Economy
- Knowledge Society
- ICT for Development
- Sustainable Development Goals
- Innovation for Development
Using Evidence to improve Informed and Improved Decisions: Applying Evidence Based Management
Mini Track Chair: Ryan Azzopardi, Capital Alliance Ltd, Malta
Evidence based practice requires that decisions are taken following a critical review of the available data before being transformed into effective decisions. In organizations where risks are high and critical decision times are short, evidence requires a means through which it is sieved and refined to provide quicker and more reliable courses of action. Understanding the dynamics and the role that technology may play in this scenario contributes towards improving natural decision making in organizations thus facilitating managerial processes and attainment of goals.
- Suggested topics include but are not limited to:
- Decision making under stress
- Human and organizational dynamics for integrating new technology in the decision-making process
- Dashboards for Business management running on AI & Analytics
- Evidence based training to support quality making
- Cognitive Reflection in decision making on the strengths of quantifiable data