By: Henry W. Smorynski, PhD
Every academic leader invests time in strategic planning groups, presidential cabinets, councils of department chairs, dean’s council meetings, and similar regularly scheduled meetings. Academic leaders occasionally leave the campus for meetings of professional societies or to participate with other academic leaders in retreats. What few institutional leaders do is develop a meaningful retreat on campus or at a location close to campus for a day to day and one-half of their academic team including deans/assistant deans, service units (registrar, counseling, support services), institutional research, budget officer, etc.), head librarian, and the secretaries servicing major officers.
By: N. Douglas Lees, PhD
Viewing the change agenda through a political lens requires significant insight, careful forethought, and planning on the part of the leader. Regardless of the level of the leader, there are immediate clusters of personnel who represent the first wave of those who must be brought into the fold of supporting the initiative. A president may have to take this approach with a cluster of deans who represent many diverse schools, each with a unique blend of missions, cultures, values, aspirations, and ways of conducting business. Similarly, a dean would have to gain the support of faculty chairs as the first steps to success. The true complexity of higher education is most evident when considering change through the political frame.
By: N. Douglas Lees, PhD
Have you ever witnessed a keynote address in which a new university president shared such an inspiring and imaginative future strategy that you wished you were a part of that institution’s implementation team? Innovative thinkers who transform their vision into eloquent language can have that effect on their audiences. Assuming no bad behavior, how would one explain that two years later that same institution has launched a presidential search? One could list several reasons for this, including personal or family illness or an attractive offer elsewhere. However, in some cases the failure is due to the inability to implement the plan to achieve the vision. This failure would not only disappoint the president but would also be a blow to the governing board, faculty, and students who brought this individual to campus.
By: Tyler Koshakow
More than 200 academic leaders attended Magna’s Leadership in Higher Education Conference in Baltimore, Md., for a two-and-half-day exploration of and best practices that define effective leadership in higher education. Here is a recap of the presentations given by the event’s three distinguished plenary speakers.
By: James Kowalski, MSEd
Faculty development now more than ever is necessary to an institution’s viability. But as my fellow faculty developers know, the task is not an easy one. Before any effective program can be implemented, three major challenges must be overcome.
By: Brian Udermann, PhD
As students continue to show interest in taking online courses, and faculty continue to be interested in teaching them, colleges and universities are, in many cases, expanding efforts to increase online programming for their students. This article discusses seven strategies to consider for growing online course and program offerings.
By: Barbara Kaufman, PhD
Administrative leadership roles are more complex and challenging today. Yet expectations remain high that campus and system leaders will handle both internal and external responsibilities with finesse and success. Twenty-first-century students also expect a quality education that guarantees a job, increased accessibility to resources and professors, and schedule flexibility. As a result, leaders are faced with an insurmountable workload of strategic choices and decisions. Today’s reality is that initiatives cannot be successful if they are driven solely by an individual chancellor or president. High-functioning teams are essential. Campus communities and cultures vary widely, so no institutional goals are identical and no two teams are alike. Yet every team has the potential to be high-performing if leaders follow these critical paths to success:
By: N. Douglas Lees, PhD
As changes among traditional faculty lines have taken place, and as new appointment types have emerged and been adopted, little thought seems to have been given to establishing the ideal balance of instructional resources in a given unit, neither has there been much planning for future changes that would result in new ratios or mixes of instructional types. Rather, new appointments are made on an ad hoc basis to address present needs. In addition, the increase in the different types of faculty appointments means that alternative training, orientation, evaluation, and development programs are called for, and it is often years after a new appointment type is made that these sorts of issues are recognized and dealt with. Finally, another critical challenge is assimilating these individuals into the tenure track (TT)-dominated culture of higher education such that there is mutual respect and understanding for the contributions of all parties. The responsibility for addressing these issues lies primarily with the department chair and secondarily with the dean who approves all full-time hiring and who has oversight of academic programs across departments.
By: Jeffrey L. Buller, PhD
At a college meeting I once attended, one of the department chairs accused the dean of not being transparent enough in the way she made decisions. The dean answered that it wasn’t that simple. Confidential matters were sometimes involved. She couldn’t violate the trust of people who had shared certain information with her. She needed to be discreet about personnel issues, and so on. There was a pause, and then the chair asked, “Well, if you can’t be transparent, can you at least be a little more translucent?”