Navigating neoliberal waters: Building capacities and skills for effective instructional leadership in higher education.


  • Aloysius Nwabugo Maduforo
  • Shelleyann Scott
  • Donald E. Scott



ethical leadership, ethics, higher education, doctoral supervision, well-being, Canadian universities


In the current era, leadership in higher education faces unprecedented challenges as a result of neoliberalism's influence. To effectively provide instructional leadership, higher education leaders and administrators need to acquire new skills and strategies. The issues of inadequate funding, increased workload, massification, and marketization in universities necessitate skillful navigation to uphold educational quality. This integrated literature review examines the impact of neoliberalism on teaching and learning and explores the specific skills and capacities required by university leaders to deliver effective instructional leadership. Through a comprehensive review, we shed light on the essential leadership skills necessary within the context of neoliberalism. By addressing these challenges head-on, leaders can navigate the neoliberal waters and build the capacities needed for successful instructional leadership in higher education.

Author Biographies

Aloysius Nwabugo Maduforo

Aloysius Nwabugo Maduforo, (PhD, RDN). Aloysius holds a PhD in Human Nutrition. He is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN) in Nigeria who has had work experience in the hospital, community, and academic settings. He is currently a PhD student in the Leadership specialization at Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Aloysius was a lecturer at the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Aloysius’s research interest is in leadership, policy, and governance in the health and educational sectors, diet-related non-communicable diseases, community nutrition and dietetics, maternal and child nutrition, food consumption studies, and food composition. Aloysius has held several leadership positions during his academic career.
*Corresponding Author:

Shelleyann Scott

Dr Shelleyann Scott (PhD) is a Professor, and Chair of the Leadership, Policy & Governance specialization, University of Calgary, Canada. Shelley is the coordinator of the doctoral programs in Leadership (Senior Leadership & Post-secondary Leadership programs – EdD & PhD). She is currently President of the Canadian Society for Studies in Education (CSSE). She has international experience as an educator, leader, and professional developer working across 15 countries. Her research is multi-sector and includes: leadership, leadership development, professional development, assessment, and teaching and learning. Her leadership roles include: school district curriculum leadership, university chair of department, associate dean, director, and program designer and coordinator roles.

Donald E. Scott

Dr. Donald Scott (PhD) is an Associate Professor in the Leadership, Policy & Governance specialization in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada. He is an experienced university instructor teaching within the areas of post-secondary teaching and learning, professional development of teachers and faculty, school and university leadership development, and mixed methods research approaches. Dr. Scott has been a Science teacher and school/district leader, professional developer, and consultant to the Western Australian government in relation to their ICT implementation strategies for schools. Dr. Scott’s doctoral research was in university teaching and learning within technology-mediated learning environments with implications for academic development and institutional leadership.




How to Cite

Maduforo, A. N., Scott, S., & Scott, D. E. (2024). Navigating neoliberal waters: Building capacities and skills for effective instructional leadership in higher education. International Journal for Leadership in Learning, 24(1), 191–225.