Leadership Statement – Rae Earnshaw
My organising ability was recognised fairly early in my career. I was able to attend to the detail without losing sight of the overall picture. However, leadership was quite a different kind of challenge! I have endeavoured to meet these challenges using the various approaches and strategies set out here.
As my career has been primarily in academia it was very clear from the early days that academic staff preferred to follow leaders who had internationally significant academic achievements and who also treated their colleagues with respect and gave them full support. As I moved from followship to leadership I have always endeavoured to carry forward these values and qualities and have sought to develop the careers of all the staff for whom I have had responsibility – in order to enable them to achieve their full potential and obtain real job satisfaction from their careers.
I had a number of management roles at the University of Leeds, and also held a number of positions in the wider community as chair of national and international committees, and also chair or co-chair of international conferences.
Visiting professorships at Illinois Institute of Technology and George Washington University during the period 1976 to 1985 provided an international dimension to my university experience which I have found invaluable in my career – in seeking to implement international standards, and also to understand different points of view.
My first significant full-time leadership and management role was when I was appointed to the chair of electronic imaging and headship of the department at the University of Bradford in 1995. This involved leading the teaching, research, and knowledge transfer work of the department, although my primary responsibility on appointment was to develop the postgraduate research side and build up the masters courses and the number of PhD students. This was successful – largely because of the increasing number of students at the time and also the ready availability of resources – financial, estate, and equipment – from the University to expand.
This led to the headship of the School of Electronics and Digital Media in 1997, Dean of the School of Informatics in 1999, and then Pro Vice-Chancellor in 2004.
I have participated in a number of workshops, conference, and training sessions in order to be more aware of my own skill set (and how to improve it) and also how to understand the changing environment within which leadership and management is being carried out.
The University of Bradford proposed me for participation in the UK Leadership Foundation’s Top Management Programme (TMP) in 2004 and I completed this course during 2005 becoming a TMP Fellow.
Although the current recent trend in the UK appears to have been to appoint managers more by their management experience than by their academic achievements, it is becoming clear that it may not be fully effective in academic institutions that attach a high value to traditional academic leadership as a means of inspiring and motivating staff to achieve the very best in teaching and research.