Functional Diversity of Programme Leaders in Four European Countries

Silke Preymann, Tarja Chydenius, Martina Gaisch, Frank Linde, Mark O'Hara

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingsConference contributionpeer-review


This contribution sets out to discuss programme leaders' (PLs) tasks and responsibilities at four Euro-pean higher education institutions (HEIs). It is sought to carve out their different roles, formal and informal power and resources with regard to the implementation of diversity management in their institutions. The four institutions that are the focus of this study are the University of 1, 2, 3 and 4. Despite seemingly similar functional portfolios, it became obvious throughout the study that PLs are not only differently embedded in their organisations; they also operate with differing roles and resources. In general, PLs at 1 are largely responsible for the overall success of their study programme (in terms of student intake, student success, employability rates). By means of predominantly informal power they seek to promote a spirit of cooperation amongst their functionally diverse (administrative and academic staff) team. Although being rooted in academia they need to act as an interface between the academic and the administrative mind-sets of HEIs. At 3-similarly to 1-PLs take responsibility for the day-today delivery of a designated academic programme. They act as advocates for the programme and foster a sense of student community and 'belonging'. They work collaboratively with academic colleagues, professional services teams and students to offer an excellent student learning experience. They also monitor, review and seek to enhance programme content and delivery. At 4, in contrast, PLs role is much more informal. They are appointed by their peers-in some cases they even appoint themselves-and are not like in "country1" officially announced after a lengthy hearing. PLs tasks at 4 are mainly coordinative and geared towards a smooth and efficient processing of study programmes. Similarly, 2 does not have a designated PL for each study programme. Educational leadership is shared to support regional strategies and a strong knowledge-based approach in each study programme. Development managers work closely with several academic specialists-such as degree or module coordinators and heads of student affairs to support a study programmes' development, student intake, student success and employability
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings Cross-Cultural Business Conference 2019
PublisherShaker Verlag
ISBN (Print)978-3-8440-6652-4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventCross-cultural Business Conference (CCBC) 2019 - Steyr, Austria
Duration: 16 May 201917 May 2019


ConferenceCross-cultural Business Conference (CCBC) 2019
Internet address


  • functional diversity
  • programme leaders
  • diversity management


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