Nivin El Aawar
Head of Admissions (International School of London, Qatar)
As part of the network of international schools, admissions professionals are working in a growing global market of international schools. This brings up several important questions:
How can admissions lead?
Are they part of the leadership team?
Understanding the terminology of leadership is essential, as it is often misunderstood. In his book ”Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills,” Andrew DuBrin defined leadership as the ability to inspire confidence and support among the people who are needed to achieve organizational goals. And, most importantly, he states, leadership is not only found among people in high-level positions but it is needed at all levels in an organization and can be practiced to some extent even by a person not assigned to a formal leadership position. While schools are growing consistently, change needs to come especially from mid management level leaders and not exclusively rely on top leadership
In their book “The psychology of human leadership: How to develop charisma and authority” Paschen and Dihsmaier indicated three things we can observe in leadership:
While analyzing the leadership definitions and the role of admissions in international schools, several valuable contributions may be pointed out on the part of the latter:
In our roles of admissions professionals, the most important thing we share are our true emotions—happiness to see kids joining the early childhood years or tears while watching the graduation ceremonies of kids we saw for the first time years before. Our interaction with international families influences their parenting and this is most definitely a long-term leadership project.
Considering the diversity of nationalities and the skilled background of all the admission personnel across the globe, they all add up to promote a cultural forum that is a result of growth and accumulation from various leadership actions and structures. The admission leadership structure is more of a sculpture rather than a painting since we cannot see all the angles at once, each angle possesses depth and value, which is different than a painting that has an overall concept and can be evaluated by a singular subjective critical vision.
Admissions professionals empower the school community, through their vision and mindset: they feel their work is important, they believe they have the competence and capability to perform, they possess self-determination and motivation and they have the ability to create impact and influence others. The admissions function of a school influences and underpins the leadership of every department in that institution, community, and the world, ultimately. Whether Heads of international schools invite admissions to the leadership table or not, this action does not change the fact that admissions professionals have been leaders of the 21st-century generation and generations to come.