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Following is a collection of scenarios in higher education where leaders have to balance competing priorities when deciding how best to respond. The scenarios are fictitious, but realistic constructions based on actual cases.


Each scenario is accompanied by two potential, but differing, responses you might make as a leader in higher education. Each potential response has been constructed to reflect a different “Values Position”, and therefore either draws on different underpinning values, or uses the same values in different ways.


Please select the response that most closely matches what you would do if faced with this scenario yourself.

Ideally, the response that most closely matches what you would do will also be the one most consonant with your values - but, not necessarily. There are situations in which you may feel obliged to choose an option that is not consistent with your values.


There are no right answers or wrong answers. The purpose of this exercise is simply to help you to reflect on the values you do use to support your decision, and to become more consciously aware of the alignment between your values and the actions you take - more especially if your context obliges you to act in ways that are not entirely consistent with your values.


Responses you make will also enable greater understanding of these issues and help us all to become better leaders.


Use the scenarios listed here to help you reflect on leadership decision scenarios in which values play an important role in determining the choice of action

Falsifying qualifications versus institutional reputation
Public funding
and personal gain
Implications of adjusting assessment requirements to help students with COVID challenges.
Being the leader for the people, or of the people
technology innovation.JPG
Transitioning a technological innovation to support learning and teaching.
advocacy for staff.JPG
Advocacy for staff within the context of a disciplinary enquiry.
informal reference request.JPG
Handling an informal reference request about a previous staff member who was dismissed.
Balancing a teacher’s duty of care to students with reasonable teaching responsibilities.
Upholding institutional standards relating to students’ academic integrity in assignments.
group work.JPG
The development and assessment of students’ group-working skills.
validity and equity.JPG
Maintaining validity and equity in assessment marks when the work is submitted late.
community health.JPG
Shared responsibility for community health in the workplace.

Make your own scenario

Have you experienced a situation that you think could be adapted and added as a scenario on this site? You can do this anonymously through the following link.


Submitted scenarios will be considered for addition to the scenarios above (in an edited form).

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