The fundamental principle contributing to the success of the PIVOTAL Model is that of fostering professional partnerships between schools and organisations on a local, state, national and international level.
Strategically fostering partnerships with local schools, individual school leaders and professional bodies, such as the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), provides opportunities to develop meaningful ongoing relationships that serve as a platform for future collaboration and knowledge-building exercises.
The natural extension of the first principle (Fostering professional partnerships) is the opportunity to facilitate Principle 2: Practitioner advocacy. It is here that partners are given the opportunity to share their knowledge, experience and understanding of the profession and contribute their insight into how institutions might better design curriculum that will effectively prepare future leaders.
The PIVOTAL Model illustrates the investigation process which focusses on the development of thriving academic leaders through innovative course design. Leadership coursedesigners must not only attend to the needs of the profession as articulated by the Reference Group advocates, but must also ensure they are responsive to those who are students as well as school leaders.
Aspiring leaders need to be given opportunities throughout their careers to acquire and retain confidence in their management skills and leadership capacity. Therefore, an important role of universities is to develop innovative and effective programs of study that support these needs. This will ensure effective capacity-building programs are developed that prepare leadership students for the complex job ahead of them.
Evaluation of course effectiveness is based on the feedback provided from leadership students in response to changes that are made to courses. This crucial aspect of the evaluation of course design provides professional insight into the relevance of adaptions and the impact on leadership capacity. Feedback can be informal, formal (through the SETAC process) and through specifically targeted focus group discussions. These processes can be considered after each iteration of the leadership courses to contribute to the evidence of effectiveness of the innovations made.
The notion of ‘vitality’ incorporated into the model refers to the relevance and continued responsiveness of the course designers to school leader learning needs, based on the ongoing invitation for practitioner advocacy at regular intervals. This intervention is intended to impact positively on the learning experience of future students / school leaders studying the innovated courses and that they will also benefit individually in increased levels of personal vitality.