A Jisc HE Leaders podcast debate explores the impact of the pandemic on university culture and leadership.
Leaders must ‘live and breathe’ digital culture, says Debra Gray, principal of the Grimsby Institute.
Participating in Jisc’s latest HE Leaders podcast, she says:
“Digital leadership is about enthusiasm, knowledge, passion, drive and ambition for your organisation, for your students, for your employers, and for your communities. It is interwoven into the fabric of everything we do.”
A planned approach
Also debating post-pandemic ‘culture and leadership’ - a key pillar of Jisc’s three-year powering UK higher education strategy - are the University of Wolverhampton’s vice-chancellor Geoff Layer, the CEO of Century Tech Priya Lakhani, and Jisc’s managing director of HE, Jonathan Baldwin.
As Layer reflects on lessons learned through the 2020 lockdown, he recalls:
“It was very much an emergency response. Staff were doing their best, with different tech skills, to enable their students to participate and to learn. After that, we moved to a planned system, methodology, and set of curriculum principles around digital learning; a more consistent style.”
Today, Layer says,
“That transition is still evolving and developing, because we improve it all the time.”
Leading by example
Gray echoes this, and says it’s important she recognises and shares her own learning, “so staff can see where I’m developing.” Growing together, she says:
“We create a safe space to play and experiment with technology.”
“Digital leadership is not simply hiring a digital manager and leaving transformation to them, [it] has to be embraced by every leader across the organisation if you want it to truly filter through. That’s not about screen time, it’s about using tools and technologies that augment and help you with your particular goals.”
The fourth HE Leaders podcast will be available in July, bringing a different panel of experts together to discuss transforming infrastructure.