Category Archives: Leadership

Advice for Newly Promoted Leaders

Laurie L. Fenlason

In today’s hot market for talent, college and university leaders increasingly are finding opportunities to be promoted into new roles. PRG Senior Associate Laurie Fenlason and her colleague Jenn Desjarlais, a principal with Cambridge Hill Partners, offer great advice for how to take advantage of your institutional knowledge while also growing and developing in your new responsibilities. In an opinion piece in Inside Higher Ed, they write that “…even as you hit the ground running, don’t rush past the benefits of newness that would ordinarily accrue to an appointee coming from the outside.” Read their essay in Inside Higher Ed: “Congratulations, you’ve been promoted. Now what?

Getting the President-Board Relationship Right

PRG senior associate Laurie Fenlason and I co-authored an essay for Inside Higher Ed, Getting the President-Board Relationship Right, offering best practices for college presidents and their senior teams to develop strong, collaborative relationships with their governing boards. This essay is a companion to our new blog post, Why Board Engagement Matters. As we note in the essay, a highly engaged board is a vital strategic partner to a college or university president. While much of the responsibility for effectively engaging trustees falls on the board and its leaders, a significant portion of this work belongs to the president and their senior leadership team. Proactively and strategically cultivating a productive relationship with the board as a whole, and with individual trustees, is one of the most important tasks for any college president. Read the rest of our essay, including 10 practical tips for effective board engagement, on Inside Higher Ed.

Why Board Engagement Matters

The following essay was co-authored with PRG senior associate Laurie Fenlason, who is also the founder and principal of L. Fenlason Consulting. It is the companion to an essay that appeared in Inside Higher Ed on “Getting the President-Board Relationship Right.”

Laurie Fenlason

College and university governing boards have rarely faced the public spotlight as frequently and glaringly as they do today. The headwinds facing higher ed — enrollment pressures, challenges to the financial model, accelerated leadership turnover and political incursions on institutional mission, to name just a few — lie at the heart of a board’s duty of care for an institution.

Campus discourse about these matters is increasingly fractious, resulting in governance disputes playing out in social media and the public square. Campuses also face enormous pressure to respond to pressing societal needs, many of which lie beyond their institutional mission, of which trustees are the ultimate stewards. As we have seen on multiple campuses over the last several years, boards that are not sufficiently connected to the university’s history, mission and culture can work at odds with institutional leadership and, in extreme cases, tip challenges into full-blown crises.  Continue reading

Honoring One of Our Own

10/12/23 Harper Hall groundbreaking Photo by Eric Bronson

We are over the moon here at PRG with the news that the University of Michigan will name a new residence hall after long-time Vice President for Student Life, and now PRG Senior Advisor, Royster Harper. The honor recognizes Royster’s incredible contributions to student life at Michigan, including her deep commitment to inclusivity and well-being.

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