A model for 21st century academic leadership

🌍 “What brings a university to life? “A model of academic leadership in the 21st century” is a leadership program addressed to rectors, vice-rectors and also lecturers of universities throughout Poland. We strive to develop a leadership model that will prove helpful in the scientific and institutional development of Polish scientists and the Polish university.


🌍 The project “What brings a university to life?” is distinguished by an integral understanding of leadership, going beyond the categories of effectiveness or creating a vision of common action. According to the authors’ assumptions, a full understanding of leadership must take into account both the leader’s inner life and all aspects of his functioning, as well as the difficult ability to balance between them. Leadership appears as the ability to be creative and free from anxiety in the academic world, able to create emotionally healthy bonds with others and with a network of challenges and responsibilities.

Nowadays, there are many leadership models designed with the needs of the business or political world in mind – but there are no concepts that would take into account the specificity of functioning at a university.


🌍 Academic leadership is a concept that takes into account the entire richness of university life, from the challenges of research and creative work through administrative responsibility and public involvement of academics.

The idea of developing a practical and profound model of academic leadership meets the needs of people from marginalized groups struggling with difficult access to higher levels of the university’s hierarchical structures. The project’s creators want to provide tools for climbing the social ladder based on mechanisms that strengthen both themselves and the institutions or communities they are a part of.

Although our research project was created with a Polish university in mind, in our theoretical preparations and research work we think internationally, wanting to draw knowledge and inspiration about leadership from the best global sources. At Oxford University, we organize seminars to popularize our project and consult its assumptions with leading leadership experts, e.g. prof. Andrew Briggs, propagator of the concept of human flourishing, and Martin Kalungu-Banda, trainer of Said Business School. Many seminars have already been held, and next year we are planning a larger event – the International Academic Leadership Congress.


🌍 As part of the project, extensive research was carried out on the Polish university environment. 

Thanks to three focus groups and several dozen in-depth individual interviews with the best Polish researchers, administrative leaders of the largest universities and Polish and foreign leadership experts, it was possible to obtain material for the development of an adequate and comprehensive leadership model. The research work carried out as part of the project will culminate in articles, reports and a book comprehensively presenting the results of the research and the assumptions and details of the academic leadership model.


🌍 In addition to research work, the project also includes implementation work.

A number of local training courses will be carried out at Polish universities in academic leadership (Academic Leadership Development Program) and polarity management program (Polarity Management Program). Thanks to their implementation, the training program developed as part of the project will reach the university environment and begin to shape the academic culture. The first local training took place in 2023.


The key co-implementer of the project is the Two Wings Institute, but our partners are also the University of Warsaw and Collegium Wratislaviense.