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Academic Leadership

In the wake of last week’s shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., more than 160 college and university presidents are calling for stricter gun laws.

The college presidents signed an open letter to U.S. policy makers that was drafted by the leaders of two Georgia schools, Lawrence M. Schall, president of Oglethorpe University, and Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott College.

The letter calls for:

As a consultant to schools on programming for students with autism, I’m used to proposing ideas and hearing, “Sounds great, but sorry, we can’t do that.” Good intentions sometimes can’t overcome limitations in resources. But when I proposed the development of a bachelor’s degree designed to meet the specific needs of students with autism to The Sage Colleges (N.Y.), the response was very different. From the president on down, the prevailing attitude was, “How can we make this happen?”

In the wake of a slow, mostly jobless recovery, volatile market conditions have chilled the appetite of multinational corporations for creating permanent, full-time employment opportunities with health benefits. Recent seismic tremors in international financial markets have exacerbated these market conditions, and importantly, established the critical need for preparing a new breed of global business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Business school is a laboratory for problem solving where aspiring executives are trained to make organizations more efficient, manage risk, and develop new ways to meet society’s needs. They are trained to manage a wide variety of business tasks such as introducing better detergents or MP3 players, running a theme park, bringing life-saving medicines to market, or establishing micro-lending to improve living standards in the third world.

Nancy A. Roseman
  • Dickinson College (Pa.) will be led by a female for the first time when Nancy A. Roseman begins as the college’s 28th president on July 1, 2013. Formerly a dean at Williams College (Mass.) for seven years, she will succeed William G. Durden, who will retire June 30 after 14 years as president. At Williams, Roseman later became assistant to the president for special projects, where she developed and implemented policies to improve the lives of students, such as those on financial aid who needed assistance purchasing textbooks.
Timothy P. White

Timothy P. White, who will become the seventh chancellor of The California State University system come December, understands the value of a public education. Born in Argentina, he immigrated to California and is a first-generation college student who has matriculated within every college system in the state. Currently chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, White was previously president of the University of Idaho. He is succeeding Charles B. Reed, who is retiring from the 23-campus system after 14 years.

  • Yale University (Conn.) President Richard C. Levin will step down at the end of this academic year. During his 20-year tenure, he advanced Yale’s schools and academic programs, particularly strengthening science, engineering, and medicine at the university. He oversaw the largest buildingand renovation program on campus since the 1930s, built partnerships with the city of New Haven, and also expanded Yale’s international activities. Levin has led Yale longer than any other president currently in the Ivy League or the 61-member Association of American Universities.
  • The Maine Community College System has lost an integral part of its community. Charles M. Lyons, president of York County Community College, 68, died of cancer August 22. He was president of YCCC from 2006 until the time of his death and previously served as president of the University of Maine at Augusta from 2001 to 2006 and president of the University of Maine at Fort Kent from 1996 to 2001. He was also vice chancellor of the University of Maine System for three years.

Over the past 10 years, tenure at colleges and universities has come under fire from a variety of sources, especially legislators and politicians, most of whom have little or only tangential experience within the academic community. A recent pro and con about tenure by those more connected to the academy also appeared in The Wall Street Journal. Most surprising among recent attention to this issue is a survey of university presidents, a majority of whom would do away with tenure if they could.

Sitting back in our local air-conditioned movie theater, on a sweltering hot summer day watching Andrew Garfield scale a sky-scraper in 3D, we are reminded of a recent graduate fast-forwarding from the world of for-profit animation education to the emergent career field of game design.