CURRENT ARTICLE • February 14th leading change

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

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An amazing metamorphosis sometimes affects academic leaders between the time they interview for the job and the time they begin their position. As candidates for the position, prospective administrators are usually overwhelmed by the quality of the students and faculty. They’re impressed by the curriculum and mission of the institution, college, or department they may soon lead. They’d be honored to join such an elite group of talented individuals. But then, by some mysterious transformation that begins the day they sign the contract, they arrive on the job with all kinds of ideas about how to rescue this now not-quite-so-impressive unit.

OTHER RECENT ARTICLES

deans interpersonal skills February 12

Deans’ Interpersonal/Negotiating Skills

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The ever-present “revolving door” syndrome, where education deans leave their posts within four to five years, served as the impetus for our research. We wanted to understand what we were doing as veteran deans that enabled us to exhibit a certain degree of resiliency with our job responsibilities. We adapted Eisner’s connoisseurship model (1991, 1998) and served as both a connoisseur and critic of our patterns of behavior over a six-year period. Eisner’s model explains that a connoisseur is able to identify the different dimensions of situations and experiences as well as their relationships. A connoisseur not only appreciates a situation but also critiques the same situation to help others see its subtle and not-so-subtle aspects.


univerisity organizational cultures February 9

The Two (Organizational) Cultures of the University

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In a now legendary lecture at Cambridge’s Senate House in 1959, C.P. Snow coined the expression “the two cultures” as a way of characterizing what he saw as an increasing rift between science and the humanities in modern academic life. Since Snow’s time, we’ve seen even greater isolation of many disciples that has created the “silo effect” we so often lament as academic leaders. But in addition to this division on the academic side, we also should realize that the complexity of colleges and universities means they sometimes split into two other cultures as well.


College Admissions Experience February 5

Tailoring the Admissions Experience

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I remember that when I started my first job as an admissions counselor, one of the interview questions was, “Do you see the role of admissions counselors more as counseling or as sales?” I had no experience, so I really didn’t know the right answer. Since the word “counselor” was in the title of the position, I imagine I said something about counseling students.


Locating the Academic Leadership Land Mines February 2

Locating the (Leadership) Land Mines

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Beginning a position as an academic leader can be challenging under any circumstances. But those challenges increase exponentially when you’re hired into an institution from the outside. You enter a world where nearly everyone knows more about most local issues than you do. Alliances have already been formed. Coalitions that stand in opposition to those alliances have emerged. People have strong opinions about what should and shouldn’t be done, and they all have plenty of evidence to support their views. How do you know whom to believe and whom to regard with a bit of skepticism? If you make the wrong choice on an important enough issue, it can make it much harder to accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself. You can find that people mistakenly believe you’re aligned with this or that faction, causing them to interpret everything you say with a certain degree of distrust. Even in the best of circumstances, being in academic leadership can sometimes feel as though you’re constantly trying to negotiate your way through a minefield. But how do you locate the land mines in new and unfamiliar terrain?


Capacity-building through International Programs January 31

Capacity-building through International Programs

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How do universities continue to build their capacity during a time period of decreasing enrollments and demographic change? As enrollment managers struggle to maintain strong student volume and achieve degree attainment goals, it is critical to build broader and deeper channels for both attracting students and aligning new enrollment with institutional capacity.

Historically, as enrollment professionals, we have primarily thought of international partnerships as a method of attracting additional degree-seeking students from abroad, particularly from a small group of sending countries. International program development can also help us manage our domestic student population, however, by offering additional tools to attract new students, differentiating our programs, and outsourcing our overcapacity in ways that benefit both students and international partner institutions.


Addressing student protests January 29

Spotlight on Campus Speech: Five Things to Consider When Addressing Student Protests

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In our Q&A series Spotlight on Campus Speech, Academic Leader Today brings campus administrators expert perspectives to help understand the current challenges of campus speech issues. In this installment, education attorney Demetrius Peterson offers five considerations for addressing student protests.


Leading academic change January 26

The Challenge of Leading Change: Some Remedies for Resistance (Part 2)

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Other examples might be a decline in department majors, using instructional technology, adding research expectations, and initiating graduate programming. In each case, there is either a problem to solve or a new venture to consider. All will bring change and all will likely generate resistors. Again, some will be the result of self-interest while others will be because of self-perceptions of inadequacy.


Leading academic change January 24

The Challenge of Leading Change: Some Remedies for Resistance (Part 1)

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The faculty in our colleges and universities are frequently portrayed as being the focal point of resistance to change within the academy. When one spends many years in the academy, one will realize that resistance to doing things differently is a trait that exists in administrative ranks as well. In fact, change is difficult for everyone, although the range of tolerance for change is a wide one. Any change, no matter how small or inconsequential, leads to a level of resistance from some quarter. Higher education attracts a wide range of personalities who can express their opinions without fearing many sanctions due to tenure protection and generally more tolerant management.