Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

The Impact of University Senior Leadership During the Covid-19 Pandemic Through the Lens of Kouzes And Posner Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership (FELT) Framework
Tabatha Scott, Felix A. Okojie

University presidents are accountable for the health and welfare of their institutions. Previous research has established a need for crisis preparation and planning and experienced leadership to address and manage crisis events at higher education institutions (Bhaduri, 2019; Shaw, 2017). Not all institutions possess the necessary leadership and crisis management capabilities to respond effectively to crises (Burrell & Heiselt, 2012; Shaw, 2017). This qualitative phenomenological study examined the lived experiences and practices of university senior leadership in higher education, using Kouzes and Posner (2011) Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership Theory (FELT). The study was designed to explore and understand university senior leadership best practices from the Covid-19 pandemic inception to the present by analyzing data from interviews. The study sampled twenty participants, from two institutions of higher learning. The data collected during the interviews were analyzed using participant responses. The major themes that emerged from the findings for perceived leadership practices employed during COVID-19 were Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Encourage the Heart, and the non-FELT leadership practices of Accountability, Decision-Making Capabilities, and Integrity. The extent of the five constructs and their impact on university senior leadership were Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. The perceived leadership characteristic was Model the Way. The major findings also indicated the convergent leadership characteristics of Confidence and Faith displayed by the university senior leadership.

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