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  • Author: Mariana Nicolae x
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Development, competence and performance – who does what in higher education?

Abstract

Higher education is in turmoil in the whole world. Universities as organizations are being challenged by their various stakeholders. This is true of any and most organizations. Nevertheless in some places universities continue to be looked upon as providers of the correct answers to those challenges as they have rallied within their ranks self-proclaimed experts in leadership, management and organizational performance. The literature existing documents the issues universities as organizations face in today’s complex world and attempts at pointing at various ways they can take to address those challenges. Specialists and sometimes the general public itself show an understanding of the fact that higher education evolves through its institutions, practices and processes at some paces in global contexts and at different ones in local contexts in spite of a relatively unifying public discourse used especially by decision and policy makers and some parts of the media. In other words, similar concepts may refer to very dissimilar realities making the evaluation of performance difficult and questionable. This paper looks at the way universities address the need for professional development of their leaders and/or managers at the various university levels. The focus will be on Romanian economic and business higher education institutions. The research presented here evolved from a doctoral study one the authors did in the field of leadership in Romanian higher education and from both authors’ experience in the university system in Romania and in other higher education systems they are familiar with. The authors claim and document that in Romania little is still done in terms of formalized, transparent and open access training for university leaders and administrators. The same is true for those who are interested in preparing for a career in academic management or leadership and do not have a clear road map to follow. In the complex higher education system of today professional competence is an important component that cannot be left entirely to personal development needs. Formalized and open access training in management, leadership, educational management, research management, organizational culture, strategic planning and time management skills is critical for one’s professional competence. In Romania both organizations and individuals need to understand the need to offer opportunities for professional training and the need to invest in personal development. This is how academics working or contemplating to work in administration would be empowered to plan for their organization’s performance in an open, transparent, continually and unpredictably changing world.

Open access
Leadership in Higher Education – coping with AI and the turbulence of our times

Abstract

Today’s world is clearly fractured whether we are looking at it through economic, political, cultural or educational lenses. This is in no way something new. The world has always been in this state, but the speed with which it reacted to real or perceived threats and tried to change accordingly was barely perceivable and, therefore, easier to adopt and adapt to. Today those changes happen with incredible speed and our reactions to them may not be informed or educated and are usually taken by leaders who are, at best, controversial and at worst obviously partial to their own, petty interests against the greater public good they vowed to serve. What can higher education do in such a world? Artificial intelligence (AI) is making huge progress and, although education at all levels is lagging behind in meaningfully adopting AI and working with it, the educational system is expected to react to a world divided by the fear of AI using big data, claiming jobs, and ushering in the era of loss of human supremacy or by the glorification of AI which is only a tool, fast developing indeed, but permanently controlled by human intelligence. Even if that human intelligence is concentrated into fewer and fewer human decision makers thus contributing to the already huge gap of inequality existing in today’s world. The present paper will explore issues related to the way in which the leadership of higher education chooses to handle today’s challenges and will use the home university of the authors to illustrate what happens in Romanian universities. The discussion will be informed by the authors’ own experience in the higher education system as well as by an analysis of various discourses and narratives belonging to different stakeholders, discussing those issues in various inter/national media. The paper will offer some recommendations.

Open access
Regional differences in entrepreneurial perceptions and implications for the Romanian competitiveness policy

Abstract

Understanding entrepreneurship as being spatially rooted transforms it in a regional and national competitiveness factor. Despite the increasing importance of the territorial dimension in supporting economic growth at policy and declarative levels, in practice, in Romania, the territorial structure and spatial organization of the economy contributes little to the national value added. In this context, we study regional differences in entrepreneurial initiative and perception and their possible impact on the national competitiveness strategy. We use primary data collected in three Romanian regions (Centre, North-East, Bucureşti-Ilfov) and conduct a statistical analysis of the data. The results indicate different comparative regional profiles. The regional differences in the intentions, motivations, barriers and limitation for entrepreneurship confirm the theoretical view that personal motivations of becoming an entrepreneur are determined by environmental conditions. We conclude that the regional differences should be taken into account in the elaboration of the competitiveness policy, corroborated with the results of other similar studies.

Open access