Professor John Goddard, CURDS, Newcastle University
Mrs Lynne Howlett, Newcastle University
Dr Paul Vallance, CURDS, Newcastle University
Dr Tom Kennie, Leadership Foundation for Higher Education
Final Report, March 2010
Our research forms part of the Leadership Foundation membership benefit. Hard copies of this Review Paper have been distributed to all member institutions and the PDF is available for members to download by clicking the image below.
Read the revisited November 2016 Leadership Insight - Civic Leadership and Higher Education - Where are we now?
This report outlines the findings of a 12 month research and scoping project, funded by the Hefce Leadership, Governance, and Management Fund, to explore the case for a leadership development programme to support partnership working between universities and cities.
The project is situated within a context of current trends affecting higher education and local governance in the UK that have increased levels of interdependence between universities and their cities. This has created new collaborative leadership challenges to effectively working across the boundaries between universities and other large organisations, which current development programmes do not address.
The research took place in three of the English Core Cities (Bristol, Newcastle, and Sheffield), and consisted mainly of in-depth interviews with university leaders and CEOs or directors of organisations like local authorities, NHS trusts, and business or economic development agencies in the cities.
The key messages that emerged from these interviews were:
On this basis, a collaborative and problem focused approach with an emphasis on real city challenges began to emerge as the way forward for a programme. Almost all the interviewees felt that an appropriately pitched programme with tangible outcomes would be of great value to the next generation of strategic city leaders, and that delivering the programme to people who filled boundary spanning roles in universities and their city partners would add great value. Above all there was a sense that, whatever the prospective programme looked like, it needed to be challenging and to add real value to extremely busy and able participants if they were to justify attending.
A proposed programme design, developed with the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, is included in this report. The key difference between this leadership development and many others is that it will be tailored for each city with the input of its most senior leaders, and a major beneficiary of the programme will be the city itself. As suggested by the interviewees, participant nominations for the programme will come from vice-chancellors and CEOs of each city, the City Leadership Group, who will also be fully involved in agreeing the precise city challenge to be addressed. Participants will vary between cities, but will always include university and city council leaders, joined by other key leaders from organisations in areas like health, education or economic development, depending on the nature of the city challenge chosen but always to ensure a whole systems approach to leadership development and one which embedded universities into that system.