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Academic Leadership Framework

The Academic Leadership Framework is a competency framework based on the general management and academic leadership literature. The proposed framework defines and treats separately the broadly distinguishable “domains” of leadership competence from the individual “competencies” that collectively compose each domain. In other words, a “competency” is an observable ability of an administrative professional related to a specific activity that integrates knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes. When integrated, these competencies coalesce into broad distinguishable “domains” of competence. This is similar to the framework of “Research, teaching and service” which is used to describe faculty work. Taken together, these domains of competencies aggregate into a general descriptive framework for academic leadership.



These domains are:

1. Values and behaviors - the foundation of the leadership framework lies in the institution’s promotion of ethical values and professional attitude as well as personal and skills development by its administrators.

2. People - the systematic development of people focusses on the recruitment and development of highly performing faculty and staff.

3. Decision making - the knowledge of decision-making models and processes as well as the participation of faculty and staff is essential for the ability to reach well-reasoned comprehensive decisions.

4. Goal-setting - strategic planning, change and crisis management appropriate for every administrative level and function serve to guide administrative work including resource allocation.

5. Organization - reviewing and revising the organizational structure of the units and their processes results in an agile and adaptable university.

6. Oversight - providing oversight for people is crucial to ensure performance in terms of productivity and professional behavior.

The Academic Leadership Framework has been published:

A guide for systematic assessment and improvement of academic administrative work

Stefan Niewiesk and E. Gates Garrity‐Rokous Global Business and Organization Excellence, Volume 40, Issue4, May/June 2021, Pages 50-63

An Executive summary for Chairs is available at:

For a “Toolkit for Chairs” containing executive notes, questionnaires for self-evaluation and references, please contact Stefan Niewiesk (