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From Creative Catalysts’ Observations to Insight: The Departmental Leadership Factor in Enhancing Academic Excellence in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions

Ajayi, Olayemi T. & Omisakin, Funke-Wale T., Volume 5 Issue 1, July 2024 Pages 94-103, Published: 2024-06-08


This study delves into the critical role of departmental leadership in fostering academic excellence in Nigerian tertiary institutions, focusing on insights from creative catalysts, such as art experts and seasoned faculty members. Anchored by the Transformational Leadership Theory and Academic Capital Theory, it examines how effective leadership and academic capital contribute to academic excellence. The research, based on extensive experience and observations in Nigerian tertiary institutions, utilized covert observations of the researchers as well as observations of 250 selected participants across five tertiary institutions in Southwest Nigeria obtained through unstructured interviews. Findings underscored that departmental leaders embodying transformational qualities like vision, communication, and empowerment tend to cultivate cultures of academic excellence. However, challenges arise from privileges allowing leaders to instruct faculty to grant unearned marks, negatively impacting education quality and oversight. Excesses like power abuse, nepotism, and favoritism were noted, harming academic standards and eroding faculty trust. The study stressed the need to train departmental leaders in transformational leadership, enhance academic capital to support research and teaching, address power abuses through policy reviews, and implement leadership development programs. It advocates for transparent, inclusive, and collaborative leadership alongside robust accountability mechanisms to uphold academic quality and foster innovation across Nigerian tertiary institutions