Corresponding Author

Beronda L. Montgomery


Common approaches to academic leadership include serving as assessors of the progress of individuals towards organizationally determined milestones and markers of success. Likewise, leadership development often focuses on leadership skills and tactics, rather than on cultivation and enactment of leadership philosophies and progressive vision. Here, I discuss the importance of cultivating leadership for progressive faculty and academic staff development through strategically tending the cultures and systems that one leads, in addition to tactical supervision of people. I describe this as systems-engaged leadership manifested as groundskeeping, or as attending to the individuals in an organization while simultaneously actively tending the ecosystems in which the work of the organization occurs. Groundskeeping contrasts with more traditional approaches of leading, which function as gatekeeping, or primarily via guarding who gains access and who advances based on conceptualizations and assumptions about who can function and thrive.