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