Faculty heads: Their roles and leadership practices in New Zealand secondary schools
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Citation:Feist, C. (2007). Faculty heads: Their roles and leadership practices in New Zealand secondary schools. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Educational Management, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/1315
In secondary schools, the role of curriculum middle manager is a complex one, by virtue of its position within a management structure, and more needs to be understood about the demands of the role within particular organisational contexts. The rise of a neo-liberal philosophy during the 1990s has seen the need to implement mandated curricula in schools along with extra demands to measure outputs, account for performance and report to external agencies. Educational restructuring at a national level and the shift to school self-management has placed greater emphasis on the improvement of schools through the efficient management of systems at a local level. For some schools, this has meant a restructuring of curriculum management, involving a shift from a traditional subject department organisation towards faculties. The addition of a further management layer has positioned the faculty head as the line manager of a group of heads of departments. This case study reports on research conducted in three large New Zealand secondary schools which have restructured using a faculty model. It examines faculty heads’ work within the framework of an organisational structure to describe their formal roles, responsibilities and leadership practices within the context of each school. The structural positioning of faculty heads can be problematic. The role shifts them away from their usual dispositions and identities as subject leaders and requires leadership across a range of subject departments within a broad learning area. Results from this research indicate that faculty heads identify their work first and foremost as social practice but that there are tensions between competing managerial and professional demands. This raises questions about whether their primary responsibility is a managerial one where they act as conduits for senior management or whether it is a professional one linked to leading teams of teachers in the pursuit of improved pedagogical practice.