Managing academic projects have both similarity and difference with business projects. Many of the same concepts such as project management, collaboration, communication, monitoring and evaluation apply. However, there are significant contextual differences due to the nature of the services provided to students, the organisational structures of academic institutions, the staff who are teachers, and the type of products (programmes) developed.
Marshall and others (2011) suggest that academic project leaders:
Plan, budget, organise, staff, monitor and problem solve.
The academic project leaders will need to have a good understanding of graduateness (discipline based) and early career success for their graduates. In addition, understanding of quality management document is essential to ensure that a programme document meets funding requirements.
The skills required for academic project management include, planning, scheduling, budgeting, organising, communicating, collaborating, monitoring, benchmarking and problem solving. Vital academic skills include confidence in writing graduate profiles, course documents, assessments and curriculum maps.
At the hear of the academic project is an intention that student learning experiences will be enhanced. Academic project managers will need to be committed to continous improvement of :
Learning and teaching,
Organisation enablers capabilities
There are a number of people the academic project manager will need to collaborate with including, staff, students, advisers, quality managers, faculty/departmental staff, community and stakeholders. In addition key performers who are needed to support the success of the project will need to be identified, trained and resourced.
As part of providing a resource base to key performers, the project itself will benefit from a collaborative online knowledge hub. This hub will be a base for resource creation and will encourage discussion and sharing of ideas.
All the activity of managing an academic project can be included in a portfolio of professional practice to demonstrate capabilities and skills.