About the researchers

This project will be led by Linda Evans, supported by Neil Morris – both of whom are based in the School of Education at the University of Leeds. Linda is Professor of Leadership and Professional Learning, whose expertise and interests incorporate a strong focus on the HE sector. Indeed, in the last 3 years she has led and completed two projects on professorial academic leadership, funded by the Leadership Foundation. Linda has spoken at UK- and overseas-based organisations on aspects of leadership in HE, including academic leadership, research leadership and researcher development – including, most recently, at the Mauritian Ministry of Higher Education. The title of Neil Morris’s chair – Professor of Educational Technology, Innovation and Change – denotes the focus of his internationally recognised expertise in digital learning, blended learning and leadership of teaching and learning. He has extensive experience of leading strategic change for innovative teaching and learning at Leeds in his role as Director of Digital Learning and currently has academic leadership responsibility for implementing digital technologies across the institution. Neil regularly advises other HEIs about strategic leadership of learning and teaching, and speaks at many national and international events on digital strategy, leadership of learning and teaching; he has contributed to numerous HEA projects and events and hosted a CLL event at Leeds.

This makes for a research team whose principal members are both professors of considerable experience; together, they provide a combination of substantive research interests and methodological expertise and experience that is ideal for this project: Linda is a qualitative researcher who has published on advanced research skills; Neil is experienced in quantitative analysis of the impact of digital technologies on student experience and learning outcomes, and has developed a number of well-embedded university-level strategies and policies, including a digital strategy, blended learning strategy, audio and video recording policy and open educational resources strategy.

About the research project

This research project is being undertaken to draw out key themes from the Changing the Learning Landscapes (CLL) project. Changing the Learning Landscape is a groundbreaking partnership between the Association for Learning Technology, the Higher Education Academy, Jisc, the National Union of Students and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. The Partnership has been funded in 2012-13 and 2013-14 by Hefce, and so is able to provide services at minimal or no cost to institutions.

The outcomes of the CLL project offer a very rich collection of insights from institutional and other leaders about the key attributes, strategies and approaches necessary to deliver successful strategic change for learning and teaching within UK universities. Drawing upon these, the extant literature, and the research team’s experience and expertise in strategic leadership, the following research questions will be addressed:

1. What are the key lessons and themes identified by institutional leaders and student leaders for driving strategic change through technology adoption?

2. What are the key attributes, characteristics of, and strategies employed by leaders who have developed and facilitated impactful changes to learning and teaching?

3. Why are some institutional strategic learning and teaching change projects successful, whilst others fail?