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Academic Leadership

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates has been named the 24th chancellor of the College of William & Mary (Va.), effective February 2012. He led the defense department under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama before retiring this summer.  … Having served in the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives, as Texas Railroad Commissioner, and as Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, John Sharp can add chancellor of The Texas A&M University System to his list of public service positions, effective September 6.

Bill Cooper of Stanford University and Jack D. Zencheck of Yeshiva University (N.Y.), who serve on E&I Cooperative Purchasing's strategic sourcing committee, offer these examples of how their more strategic ideas and actions are paying off for their institutions:

viewpoint

As universities push to support interdisciplinary education and research initiatives, a crucial ingredient is faculty collaboration across disciplinary and departmental lines. True collaboration—where faculty grasp the institutional “greater whole” that clearly values individual faculty contributions yet still transcends the sum of the faculty “parts”—is difficult to achieve.

At some public universities, giving collective bargaining rights to faculty has become part of the shared governance equation. That equation changed this past winter in Wisconsin and Ohio, as newly-elected governors and state legislatures enacted laws cutting the benefits of all public employees—university faculty among them—and eliminated most collective bargaining rights.

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The idea that faculty members are uniquely qualified to determine the direction, standards, and practices of the institutions at which they teach and do research has been a tenet in higher education. At many colleges and universities, the faculty has almost sole responsibility for hiring, promoting, and granting tenure to its own.

The idea that faculty members are uniquely qualified to determine the direction, standards, and practices of the institutions at which they teach and do research has been a tenet in higher education. At many colleges and universities, the faculty has almost sole responsibility for hiring, promoting, and granting tenure to its own.

Think about everyday gizmos like cell phones, iPods, Kindles, and Cuisinarts. We take items of convenience for granted, yet without polymer science discovery and product development research, these consumer devices would not exist.

For over a century, polymer science faculty and graduate students have explored applications of a wide range of polymer materials, including nylon, neoprene, PVC, silicone, Kevlar, and even old-fashioned natural rubber. So, we offer a guided tour of today’s leading polymer university programs.

University of California, San Diego Chancellor Mary Anne Fox has announced she will step down in June 2012 after nearly eight years of service. The 2010 recipient of the National Medal of Science, Fox will return to the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry to teach and conduct research. During Fox's tenure, UC San Diego successfully completed a $1 billion-dollar capital campaign, celebrated the campus' 50th anniversary, and expanded at an unprecedented pace to accommodate increasing numbers of students and a billion-dollar research enterprise.

When H1N1 made its way to the mountains of northwestern Vermont two years ago, the technology experts at Saint Michael's College were concerned students or teachers might not make it to class. The virus didn't reach epidemic proportions at the small Catholic college, but it energized the team already considering ways to bring lessons beyond the classroom.

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Campus excellence begins with the faculty. It's not just about hiring high-quality professors, but also about maintaining their skills through professional development programs. "I tell our students hiring is job one, two, and three," says John Roueche, director of the Community College Leadership Program (CCLP) at The University of Texas at Austin, a graduate program for community college administrators. "But then you have to do something with them to continue to help them grow and keep them committed to the institution."

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