Colleges as Anchors in Their Spaces: A Study in college leadership of place


This is a timely report that examines college leadership through the lens of the changing role of colleges as leaders of place. As the authors note, the past decades have been ones of nearconstant turbulence in the further education sector, creating new challenges for college leaders, in terms both of managing cycle after cycle of sometimes ill-conceived change and of rethinking their mission and approach to survive and succeed in a brave new world in which collaboration rather than competition is becoming key.

The college sector looks very different today than it did when I first joined it. Part of this process of change has been the deepening of colleges’ role in their communities, as well as a growing recognition, regionally and locally, that further education has something significant to contribute to the economic, social and civic growth of their localities.

It is important that we understand these changes, the impact they are having on the ground, and how – and with what values – leaders are responding. For that reason, I am particularly pleased to find that this report begins in listening mode. What strikes me from the very detailed interviews conducted with colleagues in each of the four nations is the thoughtful and serious-minded contribution college leaders are making at local and regional levels, while remaining clear and clear-sighted about their own mission to lead learning.

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