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Articles: Leadership

Leaders at UNC-Chapel Hill and elsewhere can take actions to ensure that athletics don’t get too great a focus to the detriment of academics.

After several years of well-publicized scandals in the athletics programs at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a new report by the Association of American Universities (AAU) urges UNC to put as much energy into academics as it does into winning national championships.

More than 165 college and university presidents have asked President Obama and Congress to help close the “innovation deficit.” In an open letter coordinated by the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the presidents urge them not to cut additional research and education discretionary spending. By coining the phrase “innovation deficit,” they hope to spark national and local conversations.

Paul Brown, president of Monmouth University (N.J.)

Paul R. Brown began his new role as president of Monmouth University (N.J.) on Aug. 1. Previously, he served as dean of the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University (Pa.), where he raised more than $40 million for endowed faculty chairs and in unrestricted funds. Under Brown’s leadership, the school completed a transformative strategic plan. He also managed historically high levels of enrollment in both undergraduate and graduate programs. At Monmouth, Brown succeeded Paul G. Gaffney II, who retired on July 31 after 10 years of leadership.

Judith Shapiro, former president and professor of anthropology at Barnard College in New York City from 1994 to 2008.

Judith Shapiro, former president and professor of anthropology at Barnard College in New York City from 1994 to 2008, had been “happily retired” before assuming the leadership role at the Teagle Foundation in July. The New York-based foundation’s grant-making is focused on improving undergraduate student learning in the arts and sciences.

Our fascination with numbers stems from our faith that numbers are more precise than words. But journalists and public officials too often use numbers that are so simplified as to be misleading. The quick numbers on low salaries and high unemployment rates for liberal arts graduates, for example, suggest the opposite picture from what the details reveal. That is, new liberal arts graduates may earn less at first than classmates who majored in professional fields, but over time this gap closes. These glib statistics reveal more informative patterns just below the surface.

Effective succession plans require more than just leadership development programs. How can higher ed officials make that happen? Consider the following ideas from Chris Cullen, managing director of the higher education practice at Infinia Group, a brand strategy and design agency in Washington, DC.

Develop a system that monitors employee innovation. “There is a myth that pleasing your immediate supervisor is the pathway to replacing him or her,” says Cullen. “The reality is that innovation and demonstrated creativity is the pathway to advancement.”

Succession planning is moving from the private sector to higher education administration.

Zero. Zip. Zilch.

That’s what college president Don Cameron found after searching the internet back in 1996 for colleges with succession plans. Surprisingly, not much has changed, since such programs are still not common within higher ed institutions.

A “willingness to take significant risks to advance student success” is a quality often overlooked by hiring boards in the search for community college leaders, says Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence program.

Stephen Trachtenberg is president emeritus of George Washington University.

Not too long ago, the average tenure of a college or university president was 8.5 years, but with the increasing demands of the job, it’s no surprise that number is shrinking. A new book called Presidencies Derailed: Why University Leaders Fail and How to Prevent It (Johns Hopkins, 2013) sheds light on the often acrimonious problems that develop among a president, the board, and the institution.

After writing and editing for University Business more than a decade ago, and then becoming editor-in-chief and executive editor of our sister education publication, District Administration, for K12 superintendents, it is an enormous privilege to step into this new role as columnist for both magazines and editor at large (although my wife says it is more accurate to say editor at “extra-large”).

  • E. Gordon Gee, known for enhancing the academic profile of The Ohio State University and for his expansive bow tie collection, retired on July 1. He served as president of Ohio State from 1990 to 1997 and from 2007 to 2013, during which he contributed to strengthening the university’s long-term financial condition, most recently helping to raise more than $1.6 billion in private support. Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph A. Alutto, previously executive vice president and provost, has taken over as interim president.

Where can administrators go for ideas and answers to questions about Clery Act compliance? Soon, it may be easier to learn what peers are up to in this area. On July 1, the Clery Center for Security On Campus launched the new year-long Collaborative Learning Program. Representatives from 34 Pennsylvania institutions can learn about Clery together and self-assess their compliance efforts, says Alison Kiss, executive director for the Clery Center.

In effect since 1991 and amended several times since, the Clery Act requires colleges and universities with federal student financial aid programs to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses.

This May, the news broke that Yale University had been fined $165,000 by the U.S. Department of Education for Clery Act violations. The charges against Yale are considered significant and serious: failure to report four instances of forcible sex offenses occurring between 2001 and 2002.

With more than 3,000 students, Connecticut’s Wesleyan University is not your typical liberal arts college. Its larger size allows for research institution-level courses, where students work directly with high profile scholars, while the intimacy of a liberal arts college is preserved. But, as President Michael Roth says, there was still a desire to “expand the university without creating brick-and-mortar campuses.” Online education seemed to be the answer, but how to do it remained the question.

Today’s enrollment challenges have impacted all sectors and strata of colleges and universities. Campus leaders are questioning whether their organizational models, as well as the roles and responsibilities of key enrollment players, are aligned for optimal enrollment success.