Educational Leadership

Are you an Educational Leadership stream faculty member at UBC looking for strategies for preparing a promotion/tenure dossier? Explore the tips, resources, and example Tables of Contents available here, and my Table of Contents here: Rawn PoT Dossier ToC to share. Of course, mine is offered as one example only and is not to be considered the example. And please reach out! I’m happy to meet with you to discuss strategies on preparing these documents.

I developed this statement of Educational Leadership while developing an EL dossier for the International Program for the Scholarship of Educational Leadership: UBC Certificate on Curriculum and Pedagogy in Higher Education, September 2016 to April 2017. I am grateful to reviewers of earlier drafts, and to the program for prompting me to think deeply about this aspect of my career.

Statement of Educational Leadership

Higher education can fundamentally transform people’s lives. In its best moments, higher education broadens students’ perspective of the world and their role in it, and empowers them to be thoughtful, engaged citizens who are ready to keep learning. In its best moments, higher education is a system that empowers all faculty to commit to life-long transformative learning in themselves and in our students. As a teacher, I strive to guide my students through this transformation using evidence-based techniques, and this commitment drives my work outside the classroom. As an Educational Leader, I strive to empower my colleagues to teach students effectively, and I strive to understand and change the higher education system so it, too, effectively empowers us all.

Educational Leadership (EL) at the University of British Columbia, a large research intensive university, is broadly defined as work that improves teaching and learning beyond one’s own classroom (Article 4.04, Collective Agreement). I have interpreted this mandate in two ways. First, I pursue EL as a way to engage and build capacity among colleagues toward teaching excellence. I tend to view teaching as a developmental process that transforms the way people think, and I view my role as a strategic guide to that process. In my best moments, I meet learners where they are and engage them in an activity that challenges them to take a new perspective. I bring this developmental approach into my EL work guiding colleagues’ progression as teachers. I acknowledge that there is no single model of effective teaching (Pratt, 2016), and encourage colleagues to identify and enhance their teaching strengths. I build resources (e.g., Instructor Manual) and presentations (e.g., on two-stage exams) that share evidence-based, creative options for helping students learn, making it easier for busy academics to imagine how they might adapt their teaching practice for greater efficacy (Richmond et al., 2014). I strive to build opportunities for faculty to share teaching experiences and successes (e.g., Instructor Network, strategic focus groups in the psychology department), building communities that may lead to a stronger culture of teaching and learning (Boose & Hutchings, 2016).

Second, I pursue EL as an opportunity to examine and work to change structures in higher education to support positive transformation. Any endeavour in higher education necessarily implicates multiple perspectives, stakeholder groups, resource limits and other tensions. I draw from the scholarship of curriculum practice to acknowledge complex realities of institutional change as inherently situated (in discipline, environment), socially mediated (by stakeholders who need to be engaged), and locally implemented (by leaders who take a particular approach and rigour) (Hubball, Pearson, & Clarke, 2013). In the past I have created graduate level training in teaching and teaching assistant work without fully considering these complexities, yet met with some success. My more recent work renewing psychology’s undergraduate curriculum takes this broader structural perspective, and is beginning to achieve wider, more meaningful impact.

Overall, I believe that EL is most effective when it is (a) approached as scholarship and (b) is collaborative. Bringing a scholarly approach to EL increases its efficacy by drawing on relevant research literatures, employing appropriate methodologies of inquiry, and publically reporting findings, ideally after peer review (Hubball, Clarke, & Pearson, 2017). It increases accountability and transparency, and contributes to collective knowledge about a part of the higher education system. A scholarly approach is important yet insufficient for effective EL. Higher education is an inherently social system. Effective EL initiatives will require collaboration from some combination of faculty, administrators, staff, and students (Burt & Hubball, 2016). As I move forward in EL, I will continue high collaboration, and will build toward approaching all EL as scholarship. In doing so, I strive to help create a UBC where all community members effectively transform our students for the better.


Boose, D. L., & Hutchings, P. (2016). The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning as a subversive activity. Teaching & Learning Inquiry: The ISSOTL Journal, 4, 1-12.

Burt, H. M., & Hubball, H. (2016). A strategic approach to the scholarship of curriculum leadership in a research-intensive university context: The art, science and politics of implementation. IJUTFD, 5(4), 1-16.

Hubball, H. T., Clarke, A., & Pearson, M. L., (2017). Strategic leadership development in research-intensive higher education contexts: The Scholarship of Educational Leadership. In S. Mukerji, & P. Tripathi (Eds.). Handbook of Research on Administration, Policy, and Leadership in Higher Education (pp. 1-19). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Hubball, H., Pearson, M. L., & Clarke, A. (2013). SoTL inquiry in broader curricular and institutional contexts: Theoretical underpinnings and emerging trends. Teaching & Learning Inquiry: The ISSOTL Journal, 1, 41-57.

Pratt, D. (2016). Five perspectives on teaching: Mapping a plurality of the good. (2nd ed.) Malabar, FL: Krieger.

Richmond, A. S., Boysen, G. A., Gurung, R. A. R., Tazeau, Y. N., Meyers, S. A., & Sciutto, M. J. (2014). Aspirational model teaching criteria for psychology. Teaching of Psychology, 41, 281-295.