Academic Leadership Module

Moving into Academic Leadership – an autoethnographic approach

The autoethnographic approach allows the participant to focus on their academic leadership by exploring their personal academic identity and leadership approach.


This online module aims to:

  • Encourage participants to reflect upon their own academic history and professional activity as a way of contextualising their development and professional identity as a ‘leader and developer of others’.

The module focuses on providing a structured yet flexible approach to allow participants to reflect on their role as a developer of others and to articulate an explicit conceptual foundation upon which they can build future professional development. As there are no set routes into academic leadership, the trajectories for colleagues entering this field are personal and idiosyncratic. This module will, therefore, focus on participants’ auto-ethnographic analyses of their academic journeys. This will be considered in the context of professionalism, expertise, culture, and gender, discipline etc.so that participants may better articulate the origins of their identity as a ‘developer of others’ and how this contributes to their perceptions of their development role. This module focuses on leadership through academic activity not on formal management roles.


By the end of the module you will be able to:

  • Analyse your own trajectories into academic leadership through a process of autoethnography, enabling you to articulate your developer identity
  • Critically reflect on the role of the academic leader in a disciplinary and interdisciplinary context
  • Place the role of the academic leader into your own national Higher Education context and regulatory frameworks where they exist, e.g. UKPSF
  • Examine the role(s) of the academic leader as a support service; change agent; advocate and scholar - at the level of the individual and the institution
  • Critique the utility of the concept of ‘communities of practice’ in the context of academic leaders as ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’

Over the 15 weeks of the module (12 teaching weeks) you will develop your autoethnographic academic leadership case study. You will be encouraged to consider your leadership development through disciplinary and interdisciplinary lenses, within your national context and the communities of practice you belong to. Using a series of formative assessments, guided study and appropriate articles/ readings, you will be provided with ample feedback and direction on how to critically reflect and explore how your past and current events shapes your leadership approach and how you can strengthen your leadership in the future.


  • Reading

    Required Purchase:
    Chang, H. (2008) Autoethnography as method. Left Coast Press Inc.

    Essential Reading:
    Winkler, I. (2013) Moments of identity formation and reformation: a day in the working life of an academic. Journal of Organizational Ethnography, 2(2): 191-209.

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Key Information

  • Start date

    Start Date - February 2016


  • Duration

    Duration: 15 weeks/150 hours (12 teaching weeks)


  • Cost

    Cost: £440 (UK/EU) /£1000 (Overseas)


  • Credits

    Credits: 15 / ECTS 7.5 / Level 7 (Masters)


  • Delivery of module

    Delivery of Module: Online lectures and discussion; synchronous virtual seminars; small group work; online design workbench. Delivered via SurreyLearn virtual learning environment.


  • Assessment

    Assessment: An autoethnography of 3000 words.

Entry Expectations

This is a postgraduate level course. Applicants should normally be a member of staff (e.g. tutors and lecturers) or academic-related staff at an educational institution. This is a postgrduate level course. Minimum English language level of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

Module Leader

Ian Kinchin

Professor Ian Kinchin

Head of Department of Higher Education

Module Administrator

Chris Dexter

Department Coordinator

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Page Created: Monday 13 July 2015 17:25:09 by as0038
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