Exploring the Learning Journeys of Academic Head of Department Preparations and Access to Their Roles: The Case of a Selected University in Ghana

Gloria Nyame


Leadership training for educational leaders in the academia has been considered paramount to empower them both for leadership and management skills, knowledge and experience necessary to bring about quality in teaching and learning. Majority of the academic leaders are appointed without any preparation for the role and tend to struggle on the role in order to be effective. Most studies carried out on academic leaders in Africa focus mainly on challenges, roles and theories of leadership. This study explores the journeys involved in the preparations of academics who become Head of Departments in a selected university in Ghana in order to enable them play their roles effectively. The case study approach was used to study the journeys involved in the preparations of 16 academic HoDs in a selected university in Ghana, focusing on how they accessed their roles, their understanding about the roles, preparations they have had on the roles and the preparations they would have wished for the roles. It sought to describe, understand and interpret the learning journeys of academic HoDs regarding how they became HoDs and preparations they received to be effective in their roles. Interviews and documentary evidence were employed. Semi structured interviews were conducted with sixteen university head of departments. Using thematic analysis, the study revealed among others that most newly appointed academic HoDs were not given formal training before they began to play their roles, Again, the findings revealed different degrees of preparations which were mainly informal and were not directly linked to the roles of the HoDs, which were consistent with the literature that majority of academic HoDs did not receive preparations for their roles and tended to use their experiences to play their roles. Based on these findings, recommendations are that there should be a formal training on the HoD’s duties and their implementations for all newly appointed HoDs to enrich them with the necessary skills and knowledge to make them effective and efficient. There is the need to conduct needs assessment from the HoDs to inform their preparation or training and development of HoDs manual to serve as a reference guide to the HoDs. It is hoped that the findings will contribute to effective preparations of the academic HoDs. The research may also lead to the production of HoD’s manuals. More importantly, it may inform policies to identify areas for effective preparations of the academic HoDs.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/wjeh.v2n4p11


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