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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.

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.

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.

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