The literature on leadership in higher education is focused mainly on senior academic leaders with managerial roles. It largely excludes informal and distributed forms of intellectual leadership offered by full professors among others. This article explores the concept of intellectual leadership using academic obituaries. A total of 63 obituaries were collected from Times Higher Education published between 2008 and 2010. These identify the importance of personal characteristics and academic achievements in the formation of reputation. Four elements of intellectual leadership are suggested, linked to academic obituaries: a passion for transformation, possessing a balance of personal virtues, a commitment to service, and overcoming adversity. Despite the limitations of obituaries, it is argued that they provide a valuable and under-utilised ‘last judgement’ on intellectual leadership. Copyright © 2012 Society for Research into Higher Education.
CitationMacfarlane, B., & Chan, R. Y. (2014). The last judgement: Exploring intellectual leadership in higher education through academic obituaries. Studies in Higher Education, 39(2), 294-306. doi: 10.1080/03075079.2012.684679
- Intellectual leadership
- Transformative leadership