jossey-bass

Stay up to date with

  • Guidance on dealing with daily challenges, such as strained budgets, faculty development and crisis management
  • Interviews with your colleagues and other leaders in the field
  • Concise lawsuit summaries to help guide policies and practices
  • and more
Use discount code DAPW5 and SAVE 20%! SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Other Products of Interest

The Department Chair
Written for academic administrators, this award-winning periodical features in-depth articles that deliver sound insight and proven strategies essential for successfully leading an academic department. Read More
Campus Legal Advisor
As a higher education administrator, your every decision has legal ramifications. From complying with the ADA and keeping residence halls safe, to protecting the privacy of student information, Campus Legal Advisor delivers proven strategies to address the tough legal issues you face every day. Plus, summaries of recent court cases and OCR and FPCO rulings help you create legally defensible student programs and employment practices. Read More
Leadership
1/26/2015 12:00 AM

When I entered the Millennium Gate Museum in Atlanta to view the Churchill exhibit, I was filled with much emotion. After all, he was arguably one of the most important political figures in the 20th century and perhaps the most influential person in the outcome of the Second World War.

Dawn Z. HodgesWhen I entered the Millennium Gate Museum in Atlanta to view the Churchill exhibit, I was filled with much emotion. After all, he was arguably one of the most important political figures in the 20th century and perhaps the most influential person in the outcome of the Second World War. But it wasn’t a war or political exhibit I had come to see. It was “The Art of Diplomacy: Winston Churchill and the Pursuit of Painting.” I had learned he was an artist only a few days before. Let me tell you how I came to know this.

If you read the November issue of Dean & Provost, you might recall Part I of this article. If not, let me bring you up to speed. Last summer I toured the Chicago Institute of Art. Gallery by gallery, I kept being reminded of leadership principles. In the European gallery, paintings of battles left me feeling unsettled. I included Churchill’s “victory at all cost” quote, making the point that leaders often face unsettling circumstances, but there are things worth fighting for, and winning is sometimes all-important to a great leader.

A colleague read my article and sent me another detailing the exhibit that was on display in Atlanta, not far from where I live and work. Within a few days, I drove to midtown and entered the museum. Tears filled my eyes as I turned the corner to view Churchill’s paintings. The first two turned out to be the best of the whole lot in my opinion and my personal favorites. I’m no art critic, but he wasn’t a great artist. But it wasn’t about the paintings to me. It was more about the story line that accompanied the art.

In the background I could hear the sound of an old eight-millimeter film, the kind we would watch after filing into the dark media room on Thursday mornings in junior year of high school during our American history class. “That voice” narrated just about every film I ever watched about World War II. But what I learned from those film clips and from a few paragraphs in the textbooks was all I really knew about Churchill. I didn’t know (or didn’t remember) that he had had a meteoric political rise, but in May 1915, following the disastrous Gallipoli campaign, was politically dead.

Feeling ostracized, he suffered from acute depression, so much so that he named it “the black dog.” It was then that he took up painting. During his lifetime he created more than 500 canvases, 300 of them during the 1930s. He was a voice “crying in the wilderness” throughout the decade as he tried to convince the Brits of the ever-growing danger of the Nazis as an evil empire. Finally, he was able to make his way back into the political spotlight and, when Neville Chamberlain was forced out, Churchill became the prime minister of the United Kingdom in 1940.

Churchill credits the strategic skills he learned as a painter with helping him to be a more effective decision-maker and communicator. “In a painting, each stroke changes the field, informs the strokes that follow, and the outcome is the cumulative product of thousands of tiny, correlated decisions,” he wrote. The Art of Diplomacy exhibit invites the patrons to consider whether painting may have contributed to saving Western civilization.

Once again I found myself being taught leadership skills from art. Here are some of the things I took away:

  • Every decision a leader makes informs his next decision.
  • Outcomes are based on many combined decisions.
  • Even in a leader’s darkest moments, there are lessons to be learned. Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal.…”
  • There is a lot of gray in leadership and decision-making. Churchill said, “At one side of the palette there is white, at the other black; and neither is ever used neat.”
  • There are powerful leadership skills to be learned from the arts. It takes strategic thinking and analytical ability to find the lessons.
Leadership
12/23/2014 12:00 AM

“There’s a looming leadership void across all of higher education,” said Josh Wyner, vice president and executive director of the College Excellence Program at the Aspen Institute. Nearly 50 percent of community college presidents are predicted to retire over the next five years, according to research by the American Association of Community Colleges.

“There’s a looming leadership void across all of higher education,” said Josh Wyner, vice president and executive director of the College Excellence Program at The Aspen Institute. Nearly 50 percent of community college presidents are predicted to retire over the next five years, according to research by the American Association of Community Colleges.

Many presidential search committees look for someone who will replicate what they already have. They assume that the landscape in the future will be the same as it has been in the past, Wyner said. But the environment colleges operate in has changed. “Presidents in the future will need to understand how to deliver more degrees, at a lower cost, to a more diverse group of students,” Wyner said.

The Aspen Institute has developed a set of tools to help community colleges through the presidential hiring process. Hiring Exceptional Community College Presidents: Tools for Hiring Leaders Who Advance Student Access and Success contains a set of tools designed to help search committees and boards of trustees identify and hire presidents who have the right qualities and abilities to improve levels of student success.

Officials for Aspen, in speaking with search committees, found that boards often overlooked certain key qualities that make community college presidents exceptional, Wyner said. Wyner said some of the most important of those qualities are:

  • Deep commitment to student success. “I’m not talking about if they care, but is it a top priority?” Wyner said. It should be an even bigger priority than institutional advancement, he added. That’s not to say that presidents should abandon fundraising and marketing. But student success should be in their top two or three priorities — if not number one, Wyner said.
  • Change management skills. “It’s time to get a whole college moving in the same direction,” Wyner said. For example, Valencia College doubled the number of degrees it awarded over a seven-year period, he said. To achieve this type of success, a community college president needs to be able to get the entire campus to rally around specific goals.
  • Willingness to take risks. A president should be willing to push through cultural norms and habits, Wyner said. For example, at Valencia, a gym was shut down to make room for a tutoring center.

In combination, those qualities have a strong impact. For example, sometimes college presidents need to take risks to support their commitment to student success, said Scott Ralls, president of the North Carolina Community College System. For example, the decisions that lead to increased enrollment and its resulting revenue might not be the same as those that lead to increased completions, he said.

Hiring Exceptional Community College Presidents describes the essential qualities search committees should seek and outlines a process they can follow for hiring. The seven tools it includes are:

  1. Protocol to align student access and success priorities to hiring criteria.
  2. Job announcement language.
  3. Scenario-based writing exercise.
  4. Questions for in-person interviews.
  5. Rubric for evaluating candidates.
  6. Scoring sheets to aggregate reviewer assessments of candidates.
  7. Protocol for reference checks.

When Ralls meets with officials starting the presidential hiring process at his system’s 58 colleges, he shares Aspen’s research presented in its earlier Crisis and Opportunity: Aligning the Community College Presidency with Student Success report that outlines the qualities exceptional community college leaders have in common. Now that the tools are available, he will also share those.

Each campus makes its own hiring decision, but Ralls emphasizes the importance of finding a leader who is fully committed to student success.

Aspen officials expect hiring committees to customize the tools for their specific needs, Wyner said. They would be happy to speak with members of hiring committees about how to implement them to meet their needs.

For more information, contact The Aspen Institute at aspenccleadership@aspeninstitute.org. To review Hiring Exceptional Community College Presidents: Tools for Hiring Leaders Who Advance Student Access and Success in PDF format or online, go to www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/college-excellence.

Review key qualities of exceptional leaders

Aspen’s hiring tools grew out of the institute’s work for its report Crisis and Opportunity: Aligning the Community College Presidency with Student Success. That report identified the qualities that are essential for presidents to be successful. The 10 qualities of exceptional community college presidents are:

  1. Committed to student access and success.
  2. Takes strategic risks.
  3. Builds strong teams.
  4. Establishes urgency for improvement.
  5. Plans lasting internal change.
  6. Results-oriented.
  7. Communicates effectively.
  8. Financial and operational ability.
  9. Entrepreneurial fundraiser.
  10. Develops effective external partnerships.

Review Crisis and Opportunity: Aligning the Community College Presidency with Student Success at www.aspeninstitute.org/publications/crisis-opportunity-aligning-community-college-presidency-student-success.

Prepare to be a strong candidate for a president position

Ralls observes many individuals who have the potential to be great leaders. He’s not worried about whether talent is available to fill presidential positions when they open at the 58 colleges in his system. But he is worried that some of those leaders will not choose to apply for presidential positions.

Many leaders at the provost/chief academic officer level have demonstrated leadership with student success initiatives and have taken the kinds of risks that show they are ready to be presidents, Ralls said. Community college leaders need to understand academic programs, he said. Many people think the president’s role is to deal with external issues and not to get involved in programs. But from a student success perspective, the leader needs to understand the academic functions, Ralls said.

If you’re considering seeking a community college presidency, Ralls suggests you keep the following advice in mind:

  • Understand yourself and your weaknesses. Many potential presidents think they need to be strong in every area their position will entail. “No one goes in who has mastered all those areas,” Ralls said. Instead, as president, you will build on your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.
  • Thoughts like “I’m not a great public speaker” or “I don’t have expertise in this area” shouldn’t deter good candidates from pursuing presidencies, Ralls said.

    “You don’t have to know everything but you need to know what you need to know,” he said. That will help you determine how to compensate and who you need to have around you.

  • Let your vision emerge after you become president. Many people feel like they should go into the presidency — and the search process — expressing what the vision should be for the college. But the vision needs to emerge as you engage with the faculty and others on campus and come to understand the college’s strengths and culture. “The vision is not something you bring in. It’s what emerges. You don’t unpack it from your car when you’re taking your books into your office,” Ralls said.
  • Focus on student success. Great presidents need a strong understanding of student success, but they don’t need to know all the answers, Ralls said. Instead, they need to know where to look to find best practices.
Executive Management
11/21/2014 12:00 AM

As a college administrator, you may have thought about mentoring one of your junior millennial employees but are hesitant due to negative generational stereotypes. As a millennial who is currently in a mentor-mentee relationship with a baby boomer, I want to plead our case and explain the top five reasons we need your help.

Kate WilliamsAs a college administrator, you may have thought about mentoring one of your junior millennial employees but are hesitant due to negative generational stereotypes. As a millennial who is currently in a mentor-mentee relationship with a baby boomer, I want to plead our case and explain the top five reasons we need your help.

  1. We’re painfully aware of what we don’t know. Millennials don’t think that they have all the answers — they think that they can find all the answers on social media. In the workplace, however, we quickly learn that Reddit doesn’t have the necessary information when it comes to developing the interpersonal skills we need to succeed. We quickly learn that higher education is a tricky place with departmental loyalties and rivalries that run deep. Mentors are invaluable to us in learning how to build new and effective collaborative partnerships while showing respect for those who have gone before us.
  2. We’re idealistic but easily become jaded. One of millennials’ best traits is our optimism. We think we can change the world and make a positive difference in people’s lives. But once we enter the workforce, our optimism, so carefully nurtured in college, can be crushed quickly by relentless bureaucracy. We need mentors who both encourage our optimism and teach us how to navigate bureaucracy effectively because once we become jaded, our tendency to change jobs kicks in. Millennials don’t inherently lack employer loyalty. We seek meaning and inspiration in our jobs and are willing to go elsewhere to find it.
  3. We need help understanding and navigating The Establishment. You’ll have to forgive us and remember that we’re young — we don’t have the knowledge and the experience that you do when it comes to understanding the history and politics of higher education. We need you to help us understand the status quo and teach us how to pick our battles wisely. Millennials can be a great force for positive change if you help us channel our energies effectively.
  4. We’ve been told we can be anything. And, therefore, we have no idea what we want to be. Millennials need career guidance and help in focusing our many interests and passions. We think that we are supposed to have our career in line by the time we are 30 but suffer a mini-crisis when that birthday comes and goes and we’re no closer to being the organic farmer/tech upstart CEO/professional knitter that we planned. Mentors’ advice will help reassure us that it is OK to explore our professional areas of interest as long as we do it in a focused, systematic way that builds our skill sets, broadens our field of experience and moves our career forward.
  5. We’re not as bad as you think. I swear we are not as bad as you’ve been told. We came into the workforce during a recession, and we watched our parents’ and grandparents’ retirement funds disappear before their eyes. We are fully aware that we will have to work hard all of our lives, but because of that, we place tremendous value in having a work-life balance and meaning in our careers.

My mentor relationship has been invaluable to me in many ways. I’ve grown as a leader, focused my career goals, and built a strong professional support system as a result. In the future, I plan on paying this forward and mentoring someone who is just starting out in her career. As a millennial mentee, I would encourage all college administrators to consider mentoring someone like me. You’ll find out that, contrary to our reputation, we’re pretty amazing — or at least that is what our moms tell us.

Lawsuits and Rulings
8/13/2013 12:00 AM

30+ years of law practice are no substitute for scholarship

Case name: Spaeth v. Georgetown University, No. 11-1376 (ESH) (D.D.C. 05/09/13).

Ruling: The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment to Georgetown University, dismissing the plaintiff’s age discrimination claims.

Case name: Spaeth v. Georgetown University, No. 11-1376 (ESH) (D.D.C. 05/09/13).

Ruling: The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment to Georgetown University, dismissing the plaintiff’s age discrimination claims.

What it means: When a plaintiff claims he was not interviewed for a college or university position because of his age, it’s not sufficient to show that the individuals interviewed and hired were younger than he was. He must also show that he had all the qualifications necessary to obtain a tenure-track position.

Summary: Nicholas Spaeth — born in 1950 — attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. He graduated from Stanford Law School in 1977 after serving as a law review editor.

Following law school, he served as North Dakota state attorney general for seven years, as general counsel to several Fortune 500 companies, and as a lawyer in private practice. He also taught constitutional law as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School from 1980 through 1983.

In 2009, he decided to pursue an academic career. Ultimately, he obtained a non-tenure-track position as a visiting professor of law at the University of Missouri at Columbia for the 2010-2011 school year.

In 2010, Spaeth submitted a resume to an online resume system in which 172 law schools participated because his visiting professor position was only a one-year appointment.

He also wrote to several law schools directly to indicate his interest in being considered for a position.

He did not write directly to Georgetown University because he didn’t think that he wanted to live in Washington, D.C.

Spaeth was invited to preliminary interviews by only two schools and received no job offers.

He then filed a suit against Georgetown, claiming that its failure to interview and hire him violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act because it ultimately hired three less-qualified candidates who were approximately 25 years younger.

Georgetown filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Spaeth’s online résumé did not reveal any interest or experience in producing the kind of original legal research and scholarship that Georgetown and other top-tier law schools required.

Spaeth countered that Georgetown had no written requirement that scholarship weighed heavily — or outweighed — teaching and service.

However, District Judge Ellen Huvelle said that the lack of a written requirement was irrelevant. She said there was no need to put in writing what everyone knew: that scholarship was — for better or worse — one of the overriding concerns among elite law schools in making hiring decisions.

She recognized that Spaeth strongly felt that law students should be taught by practitioners instead of academics. However, she said that he could not dispute that scholarship was indeed a primary focus of law schools when hiring faculty members, and she refused to interfere with the university’s priorities.

Judge Huvelle found that Spaeth did not demonstrate the necessary qualifications for an entry-level tenure-track position at Georgetown because he had no record of scholarly work and had not shown a potential for producing such work in the future.

She granted summary judgment in favor of the university.

  • LOGIN HERE

    Username: Password:
  • Content Directory

    DAP subscribers can now log in to browse all articles online!
    Browse Content
    Free Content
  • Free E-Alerts

    Sign up to receive exclusive content and special offers in the areas that interest you.
    Send
  • Subscription Formats

  • Meet the Editor

    Joan Hope
    Managing Editor

    Joan Hope became editor of Dean & Provost in 2007. She brings years of experience in higher education and journalism to her work. She has taught writing and literature courses for eight years at colleges and universities including Indiana University at Bloomington, Clark University, and Houston Community College
Copyright © 2000-2013 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. or related companies. All rights reserved.