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The evaluating distributed leadership project was successful in realising its intent of designing benchmarks for use in evaluating the practical experience of distributed leadership.

It has delivered several tailored instruments to enable ongoing exploration of the extent to which distributed leadership is being practiced across the sector.

It has made links between people engaged in projects that utilise a distributed leadership approach through the establishment of an online collaborative community of practice that provides the basis for sustainable discourse around distributed leadership.

The project delivered an unexpected outcome in the design of a new conceptual model for distributed leadership that can assist institutions in conceptualising/determining the action required to implement distributed leadership. The 6E conceptual framework for distributed leadership extended the ASERT, designed in the previous project, to create a more systematic approach to enabling distributed leadership.

The benchmarks for distributed leadership devised through this project provide institutions with the means to evaluate the extent to which they have been effective in implementing a distributed leadership approach that will build leadership capacity in learning and teaching.

The process used to design these benchmarks for distributed leadership resulted in the design of an internally validated survey instrument for distributed leadership that is available for further sector use.

The project confirmed that actions to enable distributed leadership and actions to evaluate distributed leadership, although related, need to be differentiated. It also confirmed the importance of both action and reflection in sustaining a distributed leadership approach. This re-emphasises the importance of a continuous action-research-reflection approach to building leadership capacity in learning and teaching.

An additional unexpected learning outcome was the suggestion by senior leaders in the reference group that the benchmarks had strong potential for building leadership in higher education institutions generally, beyond learning and teaching. These leaders suggested that there was potential for exploration of the transferability of the benchmarks for use by HR departments, as many are facilitating programs for emerging leaders.

The project team have been successful in disseminating findings throughout the project. The project team recognises that there is a need to develop an integrated, holistic approach to sustain leadership capacity building in learning and teaching. To this end, the team has submitted an application for a further grant to design and test an implementation strategy for distributed leadership that integrates the elements of enabling and evaluating to change in learning and teaching and to develop a handbook of distributed leadership.