Leading in the education sector requires decision making and professional management. The leaders must make big and small decisions that have an impact on the lives of those around them, especially students. Lately, leadership in academic institutions has been placed under increased scrutiny since. Such a state is caused by the expansion of student numbers, continuing globalization, increased marketization, and student choice (Fullan & Scott, 2009). Due to these causes, learning institutions are required to develop their leaders and establish appropriate leadership behaviors that embrace the changes in the learning environment. In higher education, leaders must ensure they consider practicalities and competence frameworks that might assist in the management process. Fullan & Scott (2009) assert that the expectations placed upon leaders in higher education require the definition of behaviors, tendencies, and potential framework that suits the learning institutions. Such demands are due to the growing interest in the management role in higher education (HE) facilities. HE is believed to develop students who have sufficient knowledge to comprehend the global challenges in every sector. The comprehensive educational enhancements have also influenced the state of higher education. For instance, online learning is under consideration in the future HE. Lastly, it should be noted that leadership and higher education are interrelated in the global context.
Online Education and the Future of Higher Education
Online learning is already a common debate in higher education. It entails various learning approaches, including watching live streams of lectures and reading online educational sources such as articles, and books (Venable, 2020). There is also a website that supports participation in group discussions. Therefore, online education is a method that is embraced in the global educational sector. Nonetheless, it is not yet the primary mode of learning. Still, with the changing learning conditions and external factors such as the global pandemics that restrain frequent movements, there is a likelihood that digital learning is going to be more prevalent. Currently, teachers and lecturers are communicating assignments and grading via online platforms such as messaging. Some learning institutions deploy a "blended" learning approach where there are both in-person instructions and online reading. Online education is popular among learners with irregular schedules and those who live far from educational centers (Venable, 2020). Besides, it is regarded as a vital aspect of learning. However, it may create difficulties for educators.
According to Venable (2020), advocates for online education have provided arguments that show the significance of this form of learning. For instance, they say that online learning offers students the chance to manage and control their education. Furthermore, it provides flexibility for schedules benefiting students who have other commitments such as work, and have children. Digital learning is viewed as a future form of global education. It offers a better way to teach and prepare students for technology-related jobs. Also, it is cost-effective as it cuts down on various expenses, including building and maintenance. However, critics argue that online learning is logistically inequitable and challenging to a large section of learners, especially those who do not have access to the internet and laptop (Chuang & Ho, 2016). They also assert that there are students who need teachers' physical presence the most to learn. Some learners lack the self-learning motivation required in a remote learning environment. Finally, there is the belief that online learning prevents the creation of community learning.
The shift influences the future of higher education in the way that students perceive and consume knowledge. Learners obtain credit in different ways, such as from online providers, community colleges, and dual-degree programs. At the moment, there is a rise in the number of students applying for online courses. This effect undermines core curricula, which is a cash cow. Chuang & Ho (2016) alludes that to embrace online learning in higher education, there is a need for learning stakeholders to become more student-focused, agile, accountable, and entrepreneurial for what students learn. There are new learning styles that require financial sustainability to have an impact on the education landscape. Therefore, leaders in higher education have to develop new strategies to leverage the changing conditions and challenges. However, the students are the constant denominator in all transformations surrounding learning. The learners are directed by what the system applies. Therefore, higher education leaders must ensure they recruit and retain students. For universities to lead in higher education, they have to offer the best life experience for the students (Chuang & Ho, 2016). This state will ensure the students become dynamic and healthy people in the future. Online education is one of the institutional factors that are currently being debated regarding higher education.
Brown et al. (2020) state that online learning requires long-standing models of higher education. Thus, there must be stability in various aspects, such as responsivity, innovation, and adaptation. There is as well the need to have a dual transformation approach whereby the operations and the learning environment are parallel. As a result, the core organizational values and structures are made more responsive to meet the challenges it encounters. The concept of higher education entails analytics, artificial intelligence, virtual, and augmented reality (Brown et al., 2020). There is also cyber defense, which is crucial in the case of digital learning.
Leading in higher education requires an input of digital learning. Therefore, it is crucial to create structures that can sustain interactive online education. These conditions include course design. Class sessions are always portrayed as a journey, and so there must be a standard approach that identifies the learning objectives that align with the course being taken. The term 'journey' is used as a metaphor that urges the learning process to be student-centered. There are cutting-edge courses that require a more interactive online platform. This site must contain a sense of direction, a starting point, and a narrative arc (Parker, 2008). Further, a course as a journey requires the lecturers and instructors to consider the learning as a series of challenges, stops experiences, tasks, contests, and encounters.
Further, there should be an instructional design that considers a course as the transmission of skills. Such an aspect is crucial in higher education. Having a course as a knowledge sourcing platform makes learners acquire life skills and not just insight to answer the exam questions (Carey, 2016). Therefore, it goes beyond the challenges, debates, and issues that are typically asked in conventional educational systems. Higher education does not entail ingestion, and memorization of facts, but gaining the test hypotheses, formulating, and refining arguments. It also involves the correction of misconceptions and building on prior knowledge through research. For example, in a history class, an inquiry is vital as it enables learners to acknowledge the body of facts surrounding historical events (Carey, 2016). Therefore, online learning must be aligned to various aspects of education by integrating opportunities for students to investigate global educational problems.
Leadership and Higher Education in the Global Context
In the past few decades, higher education has been considered a vital part of globalization processes. This state has led to new trends that have cross-national implications. The effects include staff, and faculty use of new technologies, a global market place for students, and mass higher education (Fullan & Scott, 2009). Consequently, higher education is no longer viewed through national context because of the internationalization that has occurred as an impact of globalization. In the future, it might be wholly aligned with international standards. The concept of internationalization refers to the state created by nations' unique culture and history. Therefore, the internationalization of higher education is said to be a process of incorporating intercultural dimensions into research, service, and teaching of a learning institution (Gertler & Dirks, 2019). Leadership is crucial in managing higher education. A leader in an institution must ensure that essential practices are implemented at the operational level.
Nevertheless, there are obstacles regarding the implementation of international standards in higher education. One of these limitations occurs when leaders fail to perform some of their primary responsibilities (Kirby, 2014). These duties are related to procedures and policies in the learning environment. Gertler & Dirks (2019) states that the global aspect of HE makes it difficult to establish necessary procedures because there are complexity and diversity that exist in domestic institutions such as universities. Leadership competencies are required to diffuse the changing composition of the population in HE.
Higher education brings people with diverse cultures and backgrounds to work and learn together. Such an international team requires global leadership and global strategies. In this context, global leadership refers to behavioral management and approach that directs the activities of an international group to a shared goal. This ideology is meant to create order and uniformity in the operations undertaken. In doing so, there must be consideration of everyone's needs and opinions. For instance, every student from different nations will expect higher education to observe the particular domestic aspect they are accustomed to in their countries (Gertler & Dirks, 2019). Therefore, the global marketization of higher education must arrive at some consensus as to the standards being implemented.
A leader in higher education must ensure the shared goal being enforced is protected from interpersonal influences. This requirement can only be achieved by influencing the attitudes, behaviors, and thinking of the learners. Furthermore, international learning requires the team to work synergistically towards a common goal and vision. The research teams in the universities are of diverse backgrounds, and so leaders have to apply cross-cultural communication and learn about culture (Fischer, 2019). When leaders have knowledge about different cultures, they can speak across different cultures. As a result, they will be able to equally associate and work with people of diverse backgrounds. However, the personal qualities of the leaders will influence how they manage higher education as there is a need to have a better understanding. There are identified leadership competencies that are necessary to succeed in a globalized work environment like that in higher education. For instance, a global leader should create and maintain a corporate culture that establishes attitudes and values and transcends cultural differences that are compelling and comprehensible for people with cultural differences (Fischer, 2019). The institutional leaders must implement and support management strategies that can enhance responses to global requirements to develop and nurture the competences and professionals that are suitable for the governance of higher education institutions.
In conclusion, higher education is gaining much r...
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