The Challenges of Working and Studying at a Satellite Campus of a University: A Case of the Durban University of Technology
AbstractUniversities seem to be facing a turbulent storm of challenges in the midst of economic meltdown and growing access demands. The environments in which they operate are becoming increasingly competitive making sound leadership crucial. Changes and institutional mergers that took place worldwide two decades ago diffused to the south of Africa as well resulting in the formation of mega universities. This study was conducted in order to establish the challenges that staff and students at satellite campuses face using the case of the Riverside Campus of DUT. Literature on leadership and management theories, and organisational structures was reviewed in order to contextualise the study. A sample of the executive leadership of the university was interviewed and data was also gathered from academic and administrative staff as well as first and third year students at the satellite campus using questionnaires. The study discovered that there were still leadership challenges which were not unique to the university and campus, but similar to those identified during literature review. Issues such as lack of leadership and strategic direction, diverse cultures, incomplete merger, isolation, inequitable distribution of resources, etc. were identified as challenges that needed to be addressed. At its best leadership is proximate, contextual and distributed especially in the case of complex organisations. The study advances as original contribution the ‘Radial Structure’, which was inspired by the natural distribution of energy in fractals. This structure ensures equitable distribution of resources across all campuses irrespective of size and location.
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