Module code: ELAM027

Module Overview

This module builds upon some of the leadership and management themes explored in Policy in HE contexts and will focus on your own personal journeys into academic leadership.
Many practitioners in higher education find themselves moving into different roles which may involve leadership activities, such as writing curriculum, leading on modules, appraising and observing. These journeys will be varied, contextualized, situated and highly personal. The varying skills and knowledge required of an academic leader will also be discussed and you will reflect on your own academic development and identity throughout. In this module you will consider what academic leadership means to you in your specific context and discipline. You will consider national and international contexts e.g. higher education qualification frameworks.
A key aspect of academic leadership is often appraisal and observation of teaching. You will also consider the role of observation in the development of teaching practice and critique models of evaluative and peer observation.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

HERON Marion (Sy Inst Educ)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 95

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 22

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • The development of academics through disciplinary and interdisciplinary lenses.

  • Academic leadership in a national context.

  • The role of academic development: to lead or to follow?

  • The role of academic leadership in appraisal and observations

  • Characterizing ‘effective’ teaching – including the development of personal theories of teaching, and criteria for evaluating teaching appropriate to the disciplinary / professional context.

  • An introduction to observation of teaching – including key concepts / theories and challenges relating to the peer observation process, and consideration of what ‘effective’ observation involves.

  • Characterizing ‘effective’ feedback on teaching – including key concepts / theories and a consideration of what ‘effective’ feedback might look like.

  • Peer observation of teaching – including observing teaching from a variety of other disciplines and receiving peer feedback after being observed.

  • Reflections upon the observation process – including evaluation of key areas of development/changes in understanding, development of personal theories of teaching and criteria for evaluating teaching.

  • Leadership in practice: interpersonal communication

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 1,500 words critique of an HE institutional peer observation programme 50
Oral exam or presentation 15 minutes oral presentation on reflections of journey into academic leadership 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:


  Summative assessment

The summative assessment consists of:


  • Coursework: A commentary and critique of a peer observation programme. 1,500 words, 50%, addresses learning outcomes 4,5,6. In this assignment you will critique an institutional peer observation programme in a HE context, either own context or other institution. You will draw on the relevant literature to analyse the ethos, teaching philosophy, process and artefacts of the programme and suggest any changes.  Throughout this assignment you will be referring to the relevant literature as well as the experiences and voices of those involved in the implementation.

  • Oral presentation: Slide show with voice over – reflection on journey into academic leadership drawing on key literature and practice. (15 minutes), 50%, addresses learning outcomes 1,2,3. In this assignment you will draw on the scholarship on self-reflection and academic journeys to create your narrative. You will use critical incidents to structure your reflection. You will create slides and provide a voice over to comment on your journey into academic leadership and further steps to be taken, including action points.


    Formative assessment & feedback


  • Coursework: You will have the opportunity to receive peer review on your observation scheme. There will be a dedicated 1 hour slot in a seminar session for group discussion and feedback during the drafting stage.

  • Coursework: Reflection – you will have the opportunity to receive feedback on a draft slides with notes from your module tutor.

  • Oral presentation: You will have the opportunity to practice your oral presentation to your group in a dedicated session in a synchronous seminar. You will receive peer feedback from your group using the assessment rubrics.

Module aims

  • Encourage participants to reflect upon their own academic journey and development of academic leadership practices.
  • Critically evaluate the role of observation in the development of academic practice appropriate to the disciplinary / professional context.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Analyse their own trajectories into academic leadership through a process of autoethnography, enabling them to articulate their developer identity P
002 Critically reflect on the role of the academic leader in a disciplinary and interdisciplinary context CK
003 Place the role of the academic leader into national and international Higher Education context and regulatory frameworks where they exist, e.g. UKPSF P
004 Engage critically with key concepts and theories of peer observation in higher education, both nationally and internationally CK
005 Critically reflect upon teaching practices to identify development needs PT
006 Synthesise peer observation theory with self-evaluative inquiry for the purpose of informing and enhancing practice CP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to encourage interaction and communication with all group members. The mode of study is online and therefore the synchronous seminars and discussion board activities are crucial to the development of a group identity.


Captured content

You will have access to pre-recorded short videos and different supporting resources such as pdf slides, short articles and resources on self-reflection. The captured content aims to develop understanding of key concepts and theories. You will be expected to engage with the captured content in order to participate in the interactive activities both online and in the synchronous sessions. All the captured content will be accompanied by a guided learning worksheet. In order to maximise the learning opportunities from the captured content, and to make links to the in-session material, you will be expected to engage with the captured content prior to the synchronous sessions. All the captured content will be accompanied by a guided learning worksheet which you will be expected to complete prior to the synchronous sessions. Engagement with the captured content and other online resources support the development of your digital capabilities and ability to work autonomously.



Weekly synchronous seminar sessions

The synchronous seminar sessions will build on the captured content and will allow you to explore issues and reflect on your own educational and disciplinary context, as well as your own observations and experiences.  It is expected that you will bring your completed guided learning worksheet to these sessions. These synchronous seminar sessions will involve interactive tasks either whole class or in break out rooms, quizzes and presentations. The aim of the seminar sessions is to apply the reading to real world contexts, to share experiences of different educational contexts and leadership, and to critique HE practices in the field of peer observation. Examples of peer observation schemes will be drawn from a UK and international context. To maximise the potential for sharing ideas and learning from others, you will be expected to participate in whole group and smaller group activities and discussions based on the pre-session and in-class material. Discussions and other interactive activities with classmates supports the development of global and cultural awareness and understanding of how to work in multilingual contexts. It will also provide you with an awareness of different educational contexts and their similarities and differences, which enhances your employability.



Guided study

The guided study comprises a number of reading activities drawing on the key literature in the field. All readings are accompanied by a reading comprehension worksheet which will allow you to read key texts and engage with theories in their own contexts. There will also be tasks which involve auditing university websites for policy and practices in the area of peer observations. Guided study aims to encourage independent work and develop planning and monitoring skills.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ELAM027

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:


Employability: This module provides you with an awareness of career trajectories in higher education leadership roles and contexts. You will learn about different ways in which leadership in HE can be enacted and reflect on your own leadership journey. You will also develop skills in reflection on roles and your skills in developing a peer observation programme, a key aspect of educational leadership. These skills fully reflect the activities undertaken by professionals in educational contexts and therefore prepares you for undertaking such roles on completion of the programme.


Digital Capabilities: You will be expected to engage with all the online materials and resources through Surrey Learn. You will be participating in regular synchronous seminar sessions as well as contributing to the online discussion boards. The module takes a flipped learning approach and as such you will be engaging with captured content in a variety of different modes. You will work in collaborative groups in Teams break out rooms and you will use PowerPoint and voice over for your oral presentation.


Global and Cultural Capabilities: Due to the international perspective of this module, and the diverse backgrounds of the group, including tutors, you will be introduced to what leadership looks like in a range of different contexts. The examples of peer observation schemes will also be drawn from a range of contexts providing you with the opportunity to explore and examine how leadership works in different contexts. This allows you to build your awareness and sensitivities to different cultures and contexts. As part of your reflection into your own leadership journey you will be asked to consider the contexts in which you have developed and how these impact on practice. You will develop your own communication skills as you interact and work with students from different language and cultural backgrounds.


Resourcefulness and Resilience: You will be required to carry out oral presentations to peers and record an oral presentation. This may prove stressful, but you will develop the skills to overcome these challenges and work with others to provide and receive feedback. You will develop the skills and understanding to enact the feedback to further enhance your work and develop your resilience in dealing with what might, at times, be negative feedback.

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.