The role of leadership in academic professional development.
Leadership is one of the most comprehensively researched topics of the 21ˢᵗ century; as it plays a vital role in student learning and whole school improvement, effective leadership is critical to student achievement. Academic staff morale at Mnambithi TVET College is low as the disjoint between the leadership and academic staff is evident. The throughput rate is very low and absenteeism among the learners registered at the College is very high. This research was based on the premise that in order for the College to perform better, a greater investment with regard to academic professional development has to be made in the lecturing staff to ensure success. Only with a motivated and committed workforce will the College be in a position to deliver improved pass rates and better articulation of students. The aim of the research was to determine the role of leadership in academic professional development. The leadership at the College is directly responsible for training and development, therefore it was necessary to gain an insight into their role to ensure that effective training is taking place. The objectives of the research were to determine whether academic professional development is taking place and if this development is adding value to the organisation; to determine the role and involvement of leadership towards academic professional development; to establish if there are any opportunities or any issues hindering academic professional development at the College; and to identify strategies that could be introduced to improve academic professional development. A qualitative research approach was taken as this helps to understand exactly how people feel or think about a particular topic or question. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with the 15 management staff at Mnambithi TVET College and data were analysed using thematic analysis. The findings of the research revealed that academic professional development is imperative to student success, however due to ineffective leadership, training and development has been neglected at the College. The recommendations made are for leadership to put in place various systems such as the revival of the training committee, to employ additional staff in the human resource division, to increase funding for training and development, and to establish partnerships to improve academic professional development at the College.