Leadership Development & Governance

Leadership Development

Why is Leadership Development Essential in Higher Education?

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. 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. John Kotter (1990) defines three critical leadership functions which are 1) being able to establish direction by developing a vision of the future and strategies for producing changes needed to achieve that vision. 2) Aligning people, via communicating direction to influence the creation of teams and that ensure people are working in the same directions 3) Motivating and inspiring, concerned with energizing people to overcome barriers. 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. 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. According to Kouzes and Posner (2002), effective leaders understand the people with whom they work – their roles, the function of their specific jobs and the larger organizational structure. This is especially true in higher education. Leadership in academia is complicated by the dynamic social, economic and policy contexts in which most colleges and universities operate (Goldring and Greenfield, 2002). 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. 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. They must place quality and excellence at the core of all they do. Educational leaders are further challenged to be more effective in strategic planning while understanding and considering risk management and the effective use of institutional resources. They also must keep up to date with latest trends and developments in the field and understand the impact of technology and globalization on the future of higher education.

How we can help you?

Capacity Building Programs

CLICKS offers a wider range of training opportunities to both new and experienced  leaders. These programs range  from a short 3- day program to 6 months programs and cab be offered either public programs announced at the beginning of each academic year or could be delivered ‘in-house’ to suit the specific needs of a particular university or college. View this academic year schedule of Public Programs | Request an in-house program

One- to- One Leader Mentorship Program

The Center offers one-to-one mentorship services tailored to address the particular needs of leaders within their institutions. The Leadership mentoring program is a formal arrangement in which a highly qualified mentor is assigned to work closely with a leader in a series of interactive and confidential sessions designed to establish and achieve specific goals related to individual capability and institutional strategic goals and challenges.

Consultancy Activities

The Center works closely with higher education institution on developing strategies, frameworks and policies for grooming new leaders and for ensuring succession planning. In addition, CLICKS may support institutions with developing or reviewing selection, recruitment, development, evaluation and promotional policies for leadership positions and faculty members. The Center can support with performance reviews for senior executives based on 360-degree assessments and with establishing subsequent developmental strategies. For more details contact us at

Leadership Development Toolkit Suit

The Center developed a ‘toolkit suit’ consisting of a compilation of ‘in-depth’ resources and materials to strengthen and develop leadership skills for higher education. The toolkit suit involves short training videos; leadership related training materials; a compilation of best practices and case studies of relevance to the field and a set of checklists to self-assess your readiness for different leadership positions.

The MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum (MENA-HELF)

A dynamic network that gathers leaders of higher education and experts from across the globe to discuss pressing higher education issues and develop strategies for the future.  Know more about the MENA- HELF


Governance and Higher Education

Closely tied up to leadership development is governance. In general, governance is defined as a system through which decisions are made and the performance of institutions is guided and supervised so as to achieve the required objectives with the purpose of protecting different stakeholders via creating:

  • Accountability
  • Credibility
  • Transparency
  • Responsiveness
  • Effectiveness and efficiency
  • Consensus orientation
  • Participatory and inclusiveness
  • Integrity

Good governance aims at avoiding ‘mismanagement’ within institutions. The arrangements emphasize the need for clear delineation of responsibilities within institutions. Governance in higher education refers to the means by which higher educational institutions are formally organized and operated this includes looking closely at the role of their governing bodies and that of their executive management. In other words, and as defined by OECD in 2008 Governance encompasses the structures, relationships and processes through which, at both, national and institutional levels, policies for tertiary education are developed, implemented and reviewed. Governance comprises a complex web including the legislative framework, the characteristics of the institutions and how they relate to the whole system, how money is allocated to institutions and how they are accountable for the way it is spent, as well as less formal structures and relationships which steer and influence behavior. The governance arrangements of higher education institutions are becoming more complex since institutions themselves have become increasingly interdependent with external forces and accountable to external organizations governmental and market based. The emergence of new dynamics such as open and collaborative educational systems, globalization and privatization of higher education poses additional complexity on creating effective governance systems. In the current political and financial environment, the establishment of effective governance in higher education institutions has become a critical issue which captured much attention over the last decade. In addition, most national accreditation bodies within the region have been emphasising the importance of governance by crafting clear requirements and guidelines by which HEIs must comply. Every institution of higher education is expected to periodically assess the effectiveness of its governance system.

How we can help you?

Capacity Building Programs

CLICKS offers both a 2 day program on Governance in Higher Education catered at various leaders and members of the executive management of Higher Education Institution. In addition it offers a range of programs which are related to governance including policy development, risk management, etc. Each of these programs may be offered as part of  CLICKS’s Schedule of Public Programs or could be contextualized and delivered ‘in-house’ to address the staff of a particular university or college. View this academic year Schedule of Public Programs | Request an in-house program

Governing Board Exclusive Workshop

CLICKS offers a successfully and  exclusive program designed to enable Governing Boards from both private and public universities to increase their knowledge and understanding of their roles and responsibilities and how they can guide, support and assess the institution effectively and efficiently. This high level program is exclusively offered once every academic year. For more details, visit our Schedule of Public Programs

Consultancy Activities

Our consultancy services include a range of activities among which are:

  • Developing or reviewing institutional governance frameworks and systems
  • Assessing, developing or redesigning organizational structures, job descriptions, delegation matrices, etc. to eliminate redundancies and clarify roles and responsibilities of each party.
  • Creating toolkits and mechanisms to monitor and assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the institutional governance arrangements

For more details contact us at

Executive Coaching Program

Executive Coaching Program (Level of Deans & VPs and their equivalents)

CLICKS’s professional coaches are committed to helping academic and administrative leaders working in the higher edcuation sector achieve their personal and institutional development goals through helping them discover what leadership means within their specific context and they can unlock their leadership potential. Our coaching program is designed specifically to address both personal and institutional needs.

Overall, the Executive Coaching Program (ECP) aims at addressing executive challenges, organizational behaviors, and effective leadership through assigning coaches that facilitate a confidential, learning conversation, in which leaders are involved in articulating the impact they want to make at their institution, develop visions to achieve their goals, and overcome obstacles preventing them from achieving their leadership potential.

The coach acts as a neutral and independent “thinking partner”, using effective questioning and listening skills, and both encouraging and challenging the leader in order to develop understanding and commitment to action.

More specifically the ECP is designed to support individuals by:

  • Helping them recognize their own personal strengths and overcoming any weaknesses they may have
  • Expounding their values and beliefs
  • Helping them create a leadership vision
  • Assisting them in unlocking their leadership potential and capabilities
  • Supporting them in linking their institution’s strategic objectives to their work and own personal goals
  • Listening deeply and asking powerful questions
  • Engaging them in practicing reflection, self-observation, and self-correction
  • Helping them learn how to “champion” their team members
  • Aiding them to build consensus and negotiating difficult interactions
  • Overcoming challenges they may encounter (both personal or institutional level) and managing changes

Structure of the Program

The Executive Coaching Program runs for 12 weeks once during the Fall semester (October) and once during the Spring Semesters (March). A minimum of 10 participants is required to start the program- these may be from within the same institution or from across different institutions. Special sessions may run in summer upon request if the minimum number needed is achieved.

The Program includes:

1) Weekly coaching virtual meetings during which participants meet one-on-one for one hour each week with their Coach. During the first couple of meetings goals and outcomes for the entire program are determined.

2) Small-Group Interactive Webinars:  4 skill-based interactive coaching webinars for small groups of university leaders to learn and support one another to practice the skills needed to become effective leaders.

Program Individual Faculty Institution Cost (group of 10)
12-Week Leadership Coaching Program 2,300 USD 20,500 USD

Leadership Mentorship Program

A great deal of our learning and development at work happens outside formal training. In fact several studies suggests that managers and leaders learn more than 70% of their role on the job, 20% through networking and just 10% through formal training and coursework Coaching and mentoring provide alternative and highly effective development opportunities for staff to work through knotty issues, gain insights and achieve goals.

Leadership Mentorship Program (Level of Heads of Departments and Deans)

The aim of the one to one mentorship program is to provide confidential, non-judgmental and constructive support to enable the mentee to develop  and grow their leadership skills in whatever way they perceive to be most appropriate to their specific context and circumstances (both personal and institutional). Mentorship helps filling skills gaps rather than teaching specific new skills through exposing mentees to the mentor’s experiences and way of thinking and provides them with insider tips at a personal level.

Mentoring brings several benefits not only to the mentee but also to the institution as the whole as good mentorship program lead to higher job satisfaction, better job retention, more confidence among staff, etc.

Mentors assigned by CLICKS are usually experts from among its international network of associates who have been appointed in the past in a similar position, or who were or are working at a more senior role. They are carefully selected on the basis of the significant contribution and track they possess as well as the accumulated reservoir of knowledge and expertise to guide and provide assistance to his or her mentee.

The mentorship program involves specific sessions where mentors and mentees meet virtually to discuss specific issues and matters using various virtual platforms provided by the Center or other communication tools such as Skype. The mentoring program follows a ‘pull-system’ and is thus based on the needs of the mentees.

Mentoring programs may also be appropriate for future leaders being groomed to assume a leadership role.

Mentors are assigned for durations of 3, 6 or 9 months as per the following:

Mentorship Duration No. of Dedicated Hours Cost
3 months mentorship program An average of 8 hours a month 3,000 USD per participant
6 months mentorship program 10 hours a month 5,000 USD per participant
9 months mentorship program 12 hours a month 7,500 USD per participant

Table: Mentorship Program Average Rate

Leadership Summer Institute

Leadership Summer Institute (LSI)

Develop your team’s leadership knowledge and skills with our flagship Summer Leadership Institute organized in either the UK and USA

If you are looking at grooming new leaders or broadening the skills and insights of your exsistig leadership team, CLICKS can work with your institution to organize Leadership Summer Institutes (LSI)in either the UK or the USA through leveraging with its different international partners.

The LSI is a unique comprehensive leadership program designed to address the needs of Higher Education Administrators from University Vice Presidents, Provosts and Deans to Heads of academic support and administrative departments.  It is focused on exploring what is required to be an effective leader within the specific context of higher education and helping participants meet those needs.

The LSI program consists of four day of intensive interactive sessions that cover five modules followed by a two day visits to specific HEIs.

The various modules serve at equipping participants with the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence that will help them unlock their leadership potential and adopt new creative approaches; learn about strategies to address the 21st century trends and challenges facing the sector today; enable them to lead their institutions and departments more effectively and aid them transform culture to achieve better results.

The five modules are designed in a flexible manner that enables the Center to tailor them as required to the specific needs of the group attending the LSI based on the different leadership needs as well as issues they face in accordance to their positions. Similarly the site visits are scheduled to particular institutions to ensure these allow participants to learn from other experiences and perspectives. They may involve visits to a range of institutions including large comprehensive universities, community colleges, small specialized institutions, etc. based on the needs of the group.

Broadly the LSI aims at:

  • Providing an overview of the leadership landscape in 21st Century Higher Education and understand various trends and challenges impacting Higher Education today including those related to technology advancements, globalization, high competitiveness, greater accountability, etc.
  • Equip participants with the necessary skills as well as tools to enable them to reflect on, evaluate, and develop their leadership style and approaches
  • Appreciate key factors and requirements that help create excellence in academic leadership
  • Help participants lead with vision, purpose, and strategic insight their institutions and units
  • Aid participants in understanding and overcoming the challenges of organizational change
  • Work closely with participants in identifying practical strategies for establishing, organizing, and maintaining an effective working environment
  • Improve talent management and team-leading skills.
  • Comprehend what effective and ethical leadership in higher education entails
  • Develop and benefit from sit visits and learning from other institutions and colleagues in similar positions.

Main Modules:

The flagship LSI development program is delivered by a number of eminent experts and scholars and caters usually for groups of no less than 10 participants and no more than 15.

There are three choices annually for the SLI to be organized and institutions may choose the most suitable one based on its staff summer plans.

The dates and deadlines for application for SLI for the next summer are listed below:  

Summer Institute I (UK)

June 21- 26, 2019

Application Deadline

21st  March, 2019

Summer Institute II (USA)

July 10- 15, 2019

Application Deadline


1st April, 2019

Summer Institute III (UK)

August 15- 20, 2019

Application Deadline

15th April, 2019