Tag Archives: education leadership

Alma Harris on the inclusion of women’s stories as a global leadership issue

Dr. Alma Harris

Dr. Alma Harris

Dr. Alma Harris is internationally known for her research and writing on leadership and school improvement. She started her career as a teacher in South Wales and has held senior academic appointments at five UK Universities, most recently as Professor of Educational Leadership at the Institute of Education, University College London. In 2010-12, she was seconded to the ‘Welsh Government’ as a Senior Policy Adviser to assist with the process of system wide reform which involved co-leading the National professional learning communities program and developing a new Masters qualification for all newly qualified teachers. During her career, she has worked with various governments and government agencies around the world to assist with school and system improvement. Dr. Harris is currently Past President of the ‘International Congress of School Effectiveness and School Improvement’ which is an organization dedicated to quality and equity in education. She is currently Director of the Institute of Educational Leadership, University of Malaya, Malaysia and is leading a major research project focusing on leadership policy and leadership practice in seven systems in Asia

In this interview, which is part of an Esteem series focusing on the public scholarship of women in education leadership, Dr. Harris shares her experiences of leadership and underlines her belief that our conversations about school leadership can more accurately reflect the real-world practice of leadership if they are much more inclusive of women’s voices.

When we look at much of the writing on leadership, it has been argued, that it often comes from the male perspective. The ‘great man theory of leadership’, for example, characterizes those features and factors associated with individual leadership. In contrast, women’s leadership, and the books on this topic, tends to be a sub-set of the broader literature, almost taking a back-seat, position. As Gillian Hamilton said [in an earlier Esteem interview] there is not really a special thing that is “women’s leadership,” just a breadth of leadership practices and the fact that women leaders have important stories to tell. In short, this is not an issue of gender, it is a leadership issue, a global leadership issue.

This Esteem interview appears as part of a series that features experts in education leadership from around the globe. Recent interviews have included Karen EdgeHelen Janc Malone, Gillian Hamilton, and Andrea Stringer.

Esteem interview with Karen Edge

Dr. Karen Edge

Dr. Karen Edge

Karen Edge is the Pro Vice Provost (International) at University College London (UCL) and Reader in Educational Leadership at the UCL Institute of Education in London, UK. Karen is an academic and advocate committed to asking new questions to shake up how policy and educational leaders think about educational opportunities and challenges. Karen’s latest international research project was funded by the ESRC (UK) and engaged 60+ Generation X school leaders in London, New York and Toronto in exploring their careers, leadership and future aspirations. She is a member of the six-person Advisory Panel for International School Leadership Principals and a visiting academic in Canada, Malaysia and Chile. Karen is Past Editor-in-Chief of Educational Assessment Evaluation and Accountability and sits on the Editorial Boards of School Leadership and Management and Leadership and Policy in Schools. Karen regularly gives talks and support organizations in relation to knowledge management, leadership, networks, talent spotting, retention and wellbeing. Karen can be reached at k.edge@ucl.ac.uk or on twitter @drkarenedge

In this interview, which is part of an Esteem series focusing on the public scholarship of women in education leadership, Dr. Edge shares how her current research has helped her to see the importance of role modeling and talent spotting for women in education. Edge believes that we are seeing a new willingness to make conversations around these and other topics more public, which can help us to move forward in a way that’s better for everybody:

Conversations about women in leadership used to be about what women needed to do to be seen as the leaders. I think we are now entering an age where the conversation needs to shift to what are things that are happening in the system that may be institutionally getting in the way of women being successful? But it’s not just women. We also need to consider how the experience of a white woman, a white straight woman, would be radically different than a woman who identifies as LGBT or a person of color. Not all experiences are the same and we need all leaders in our education systems for them to be successful. This is not happening, in my opinion, to the extent necessary at the moment.

This Esteem interview appears as part of a series that features experts in education leadership from around the globe. Recent interviews have included Helen Janc Malone, Gillian Hamilton, and Andrea Stringer.