Practising distributed leadership





This section presents examples of the use of distribtued leadership to produce change in Australian universities.





The use of distributed leadership in Australian universities is now becoming more common to introduce change in teaching, research and administration . All  of the uses of distributed leadership in these areas share the six central tenets  of Engage, Enable, Enact, Encourage, Evalutate and Emerge. To illustrate  how these tenets are used in practice, a number of examples are given below. Although the examples are all from the learning and teaching area, the lessons that can be learnt from them are applicable to other uses of distributed leadership.


RMIT logo
Developing multi-level leadership for excellence in learning and teaching

Problem Addressed

The lack of clarity at institutional level in relation to leadership and responsibility for use of student feedback, the multiplicity of staff involved in the exercise and the possibility that many staff members lacked appropriate skills to undertake the task effectively.

Project outcome

P.A.C.E.D (Participative, Accredited, Collaborative, Engaged, Devolved Leadership)  Distributed Leadership model for the use of student feedback to enhance student learning and teaching practice. This model is supported by an R.E.A.L.I.S.E.D. (Recognition, Encouragement, Acknowledgment, Leadership, Integrated, Systems, Environment and Dissemination) Change Management Model.


Wollongong logo
Distributive Leadership for learning and teaching; developing the faculty scholar model

Problem addressed

The need for the strategic development of potential leaders for teaching and learning across multiple levels of the university to support succession planning was addressed through the development and trial of a leadership capacity development framework (LCDF). 

Project outcome

GREEN (Growing, Reflecting, Enabling, Engaging and Networking) Leadership Capacity Development Framework (Faculty Scholar).
This framework was further developed by Flinders University together with partner universities in ALTC LE8-691 Sustaining distributive leadership in learning and teaching: cascade and perpetual effectiveness of the faculty scholar model


Leaders in Effective Assessment Practice 

Problem addressed

The need to incorporate, into a coherent institute-wide framework, the existing assessment-related good practices of individual lecturers.

Project outcome

Leaders of Effective Assessment Practice (LEAP) model that combines the synergies of Distributed Leadership with Participatory Action Research (PAR) to achieve sustainable outcomes.


Australian Catholic University logo 
Development of distributed institutional leadership capacity in online learning and teaching

Problem addressed

How to develop distributed institutional leadership capacity in the pedagogical and evaluative dimensions of online teaching and learning in the university.  Pedagogical dimensions were defined as those relating to the principles and practice of online teaching and learning, at both design and implementation stages. Evaluative dimensions referred to the evaluation of online teaching and learning design, materials, processes, practices, outcomes and impacts.

Project outcomes

Distributed Leadership Capacity Building Training and Support Strategic Plan for Online Learning and Teaching, built on the Wenger theories of knowledge sharing within organisations, that has become an embedded formally funded position within each Faculty.