The Changing of the Guard in Academia and Academic Research Leadership—Employing Natural Language Processing

  •  Eyal Eckhaus    
  •  Nitza Davidovitch    


This pioneering study examines the meaning of academic leadership in terms of the changing of the guard in academia. Research findings on seniority and experience and their association with leadership show that these have a considerable impact on management skills and on the ability of those with experience and seniority to influence the young leadership. This is particularly essential in academia where research is the most meaningful and effective value that serves as a measure of faculty members. Management skills are not perceived as a coherent part of faculty members’ work.

Structural Equation Modeling confirmed the developed model. Findings show that indeed, from the perspective of faculty at the academic institution, senior experienced faculty members undoubtedly contribute to the academic institution first of all in research, but also otherwise. Senior and experienced faculty members contribute by encouraging, directing, and guiding young faculty members on how to contribute to the institution, particularly through the activity which is expected of them as academic faculty – i.e., research. This urging and direction is one of the most well-known qualities in the context of academic leadership – the ability to help people develop, advance, and to outline a high-quality academic research tradition. The meaning of the findings is that senior faculty has a contribution beyond their direct output in the form of scientific publications, as a research engine and spotlight for the young faculty. Notably, no difference was found in faculty’s perception of this contribution of senior faculty members by gender or age.

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