Wholescale transformational change at pace: Abertay University’s approach to developing academic leadership

Alastair Robertson, Steve Olivier

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


In 2013, Abertay University undertook a root and branch review of pedagogic policies and practices, catalysed by the university's new teaching and learning enhancement strategy. What is quite remarkable about these changes is their extent and the pace of their implementation. Transformation have included: curriculum (module credit size, new electives, portfolio review, programme redesign), assessment and feedback (electronic management of assessment, new literal grading scale, introduction of GPA and the Higher Education Achievement Report, HEAR), and academic staff development (revised postgraduate certificate in teaching, new accredited CPD scheme, funding for teaching innovation and creating a new, strong community of practice). The university's size (4000 students, 200 academic staff) has been a helpful factor, however, key has been a novel change management approach developed by the Abertay senior team. This approach can be summarised as 6Ps: Purpose, Principles, Participation, Practice, Pace, and Pre-mortem. This chapter explores the academic leadership and management aspects of the transformational changes introduced, the processes adopted, the success of the strategy's implementation, and how leaders and managers were supported throughout the process by a programme of university-provided structured CPD. Finally, the authors reflect on the challenges and wider lessons learned of this major institutional initiative.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDelivering Educational Change in Higher Education: A Transformative Approach for Leaders and Practitioners
EditorsJackie Potter, Cristina Devecchi
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherTaylor and Francis Ltd.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780429623028
ISBN (Print)9780367147846, 9780367147839
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2020

Publication series

NameStaff and educational development association series (SEDA)


  • Abertay University
  • Academic leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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