PRG senior associate, independent consultant and longtime higher ed leader Laurie Fenlason offers wise advice about the importance of college and university leaders making an extra effort to engage their staff. She notes that talent shortages, labor unrest, attacks on diversity and inclusion programs, and the complexities of hybrid work make employee engagement an even more urgent priority in the year ahead. Read the rest of her essay, which includes great examples of best practices, in Inside Higher Ed.
The following is a guest blog post by Ariana González Stokas, a senior associate with PRG. Stokas previously served as the vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion at Barnard and Bard colleges and is the author of “Reparative Universities: Why Diversity Alone Won’t Solve Racism in Higher Ed,” published by Johns Hopkins University Press.
It is impossible to be a higher education leader in 2023 without being painfully aware of the multiple attacks on diversity and inclusion work—ranging from legislation in 20 states to the pending Supreme Court decision on the consideration of race in admissions. A recent Washington Post headline perfectly summed up the national mood: “DEI Is Dead,” the State of Virginia’s chief diversity officer said in remarks at Virginia Military Institute.
There are few things that managers detest more than annual performance reviews. Not only does the process feel like a time-consuming chore, but it also may lead to conflict when the manager needs to give corrective performance feedback. Nobody likes to be on the receiving end of criticism, either. The first time I received honest feedback from a 360 review of my leadership skills, I literally sobbed in my office — even though it was delivered by a supportive and caring coach.
But I have come to regard the act of sharing honest, constructive feedback with my team and with the clients I coach as a gift, grounded in a sincere desire to help them improve and succeed. And in an era when employee morale is low and retention is paramount, productive feedback, done right, may be a manager’s secret weapon: a tool for rebuilding commitment and connection. I’d like to share some best practices that my PRG colleagues and I have developed through our consulting practice for delivering clear performance feedback that is both helpful and well received.
The following is a guest post by E. Royster Harper, a senior advisor with Peterson Rudgers Group. She served for four decades in student life roles at the University of Michigan, including as vice president for student life.
Universities are well aware that after two years of pandemic disruption, students are feeling stressed, disconnected, and concerned about their safety, their futures and the value of their education. We’ve seen their fear and anger over sexual assaults and racial incidents spark campus protests across the nation, demanding change.
When Generation Z students are dissatisfied, they take their complaints straight to the top. They expect to be consulted and heard — yet too often, university leaders don’t take the time to engage students in honest dialogue and involve them when addressing issues that shape their college experience. Continue reading
Julie, Steve and I are delighted to share the news that University of Michigan President Emerita Mary Sue Coleman has returned to Peterson Rudgers Group as Senior Advisor. Mary Sue has concluded her historic service at Michigan, coming back to the university to serve as interim president for nine months during a time of great need.