Strengthening institutions of higher education through disruptive leadership
The intensifying COVID-19 calamity has caused massive pressure on institutions of higher learning across the globe. Most institutions of higher education closed down in order to protect students and staff from the deadly pandemic. However, it is important to understand that combined efforts by key stakeholders could inform future perspectives on higher education cognisant of the new normal. In view of these developments, this study sought to evaluate how positive disruptive leadership can have an important role in strengthening the higher education system in the face of COVID-19. The study used a case study approach applying a qualitative research design. Purposive sampling was used to select respondents from a private university operating in Zimbabwe. Virtual interviews were used to gather data from the University Board, University Executive, teaching staff and students, referred to as key stakeholders in this study. To overcome the challenges related to the unintended shift from face-to-face to online learning, disruptive approach to issues by these stakeholders has created a resilient institution that can survive during times of uncertainty where drastic changes are necessary as a result of external forces. The study noted that the key stakeholders exhibited positive disruptive leadership roles in their unique ways. The key challenges cited include limited accessibility to internet and lack of affordability in terms of data bundles and other ICT affordances to allow effective learning to take place. The study adds to knowledge different leadership roles played by the University Board, University Executive, academic staff and students to build a resilient and innovative institution in the face of COVID-19.
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