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Articles: Leadership

For engineers, life has become increasingly complicated in the worlds of nanotechnology, lean manufacturing, and rapid product design and development. We learned from our research that engineering education can no longer deploy conventional, isolated solutions. Indeed, there is rarely an easy, one size fits all, cookie cutter answer in an environment that has uncountable moving parts and continuous technological change and innovation.

In the ongoing debate over the rising cost of higher education, collaboration frequently emerges as a proposed path forward. Despite the allure of savings and efficiencies, efforts to follow the strategy often fall victim to both conceptual and implementation flaws. Two institutions, a higher education association and private liberal arts college, have managed to navigate the tricky waters of collaboration to create a rewarding partnership. Our eight-year experience has taught us some key lessons that should be helpful to others.

Have you ever wondered why experts like Forbes and Bloomberg estimate that between 80-90 percent of entrepreneurial initiatives fail? American higher ed surely has, and universities are now investing in startups by connecting them to business incubators, product development accelerators, and other higher education-based launchpads. As small business entrepreneurs, we observed early on that many of our cohorts from college retreated to their campus caves (i.e. dorms) to go it alone – typically a bad decision.

Jay Lemons is president of Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa.

The college presidency is a high-risk occupation. The old challenges—fundraising, strategic planning, managing enrollment, protecting students—are still there, along with newer trials involving demographic shifts, flatlining family incomes, access, and compliance to growing governmental regulation.

David Rugendorf is an attorney with Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, specializing in immigration and nationality law, representing employers and individuals in administrative petitions to governmental agencies.

Just imagine this nightmare scenario playing out at your institution of higher education: armed agents in navy blue “FBI,” “ICE” and “DHS” windbreakers wandering the halls, stuffing files into boxes marked for evidence, removing and taking possession of computer hard drives, and sealing off rooms with yellow tape.

Television reporters chase you and other university officials, shoving bright lights and microphones in your face and pushing for comment.

Agents. Subpoenas. Investigations. Not fun. Certainly avoidable.

Margaret Spellings served as secretary of education from 2005 to 2009, during which she led the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act and spearheaded an access and affordability plan for higher education

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has been elected president of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system. Spellings is currently president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

Nancy Cantor is chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark.

As colleges chase the mantle of selectivity over inclusivity, we knowingly turn our backs on the fast-growing, first-generation, low-income, largely black and brown talent pool in the communities right at our gates. We continue to favor a “better prepared,” student body deemed meritorious by narrow metrics of tests they prep for all of their lives.

In 1969, three-quarters of faculty at U.S. colleges and universities were tenured or tenure-track. That number dropped to just above one-quarter in 2013. (Click to enlarge)

Colleges and universities have made spending on administrators and part-time instructors a higher priority than raising salaries of core faculty members who have the biggest impact on learning, says a new report from the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education.

Amy Collier joined Vermont’s Middlebury College in July as its first associate provost for digital learning.

In an emerging trend that illustrates the growing importance of digital strategy in higher education, a handful of universities have named a chief digital officer to their leadership teams to merge the worlds of instruction and IT.

Mary Sue Coleman is a national spokesperson on the educational value of affirmative action and diverse perspectives in the classroom.

Mary Sue Coleman, a former president of the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa, has been named the next president of the Association of American Universities, an organization for research institutions.

She will succeed the retiring Hunter R. Rawlings III, who has held the post since June 2011.

Earlier this year, former College of DuPage President Robert Breuder almost won himself a $763,000 golden parachute to leave the institution in March 2016, three years before his contract expired; that contract has since been voided by the college’s board, and the package reduced to $495,000.

In an apparent response, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed two new laws limiting terms for community college presidents and restricting their severance packages.

Like it or not, we spend a lot of time on planes and in airports as we travel to campuses across the Nation and around the world. Over the 2015 summer session we sensed winds of change in the aeronautics industry – read as, devising new global security measures; retrofitting outdated air fleets; and creating safe and enjoyable air travel experiences.

The skill set required for today’s top jobs in higher education has never been more extensive or demanding. Boards of Trustees are looking for leadership in several areas: academic authority, fundraising ability, public relations and media savvy, legal and political sensitivity, as well as ease of movement between constituent groups—alumni, students, faculty, parents, donors, business leaders, government—all with significant claims on the president’s time and attention.

Several years ago we shared with University Business readership our prognostications on contemporary polytechnic institutions popping up across the U.S. In relatively short time, higher ed is still surfing the Polytechnic Revival wave at engineering schools, colleges, and universities across the Nation.

The common heritage of Classic Polytechnics extends back to the 1745 founding of the Technische Universität Braunschweig in Germany; the establishment in 1794 of the École Polytechnique in France; and the first American polytechnic, Rensselaer, chartered in 1824.

In her keynote speech at UBTech 2015, Worcester Polytechnic Institute President Laurie Leshin said educators must drive innovation—and the economy—by inspiring students to ask tough questions.

The leadership teams of InfoComm International and UBTech/University Business will collaborate on conference programming and promotional initiatives to offer expanded participation opportunities for higher education leaders at the flagship annual conferences of both organizations.

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