The essay below, by Mary Sue Coleman and Lisa Rudgers, originally appeared April 20, 2021, in Inside Higher Ed.
Being a college president is tough under the best of circumstances. While the pandemic has exponentially expanded the day-to-day work and uncertainty, the job has in truth always been extremely challenging. Pressures from stakeholders across the institution, economic and political stressors, and the precariousness of the sector’s financial model can threaten to undermine even the most determined leader’s ability to sustain forward momentum.
This is especially true for those taking on higher education’s CEO role for the first time. New presidents must learn how to navigate the institution’s governance and culture, all while balancing the seemingly endless demands from internal and external constituents.
Increasingly, wise boards of trustees and campus leaders are recognizing that executive coaching and mentoring can be an important component in successful presidential leadership over the long haul. Although executive coaching is common in the corporate sector, higher education has been slower to understand the benefits that external coaching and expertise can bring to bear — and the reasons why an experienced, outside perspective is so valuable. Here’s what we’ve learned. Continue reading →
Preserving and enhancing faith in our nation’s scientific enterprise is central to the mission of every college and university. Our peers across higher education have been concerned about a multi-year trend for the public to devalue scientific research and expertise, and especially the growing partisan gap in the perception that science and scientists are trustworthy. The good news is that the pandemic has started to reverse this trend, with both Americans and citizens around the globe reporting renewed trust in science and medicine.
For colleges in the midst of presidential transition, this is often the time of year when search committees are reviewing candidates, selecting finalists and preparing to announce a new leader. It is an historic, forward-looking milestone in the life of an institution, and among the most important responsibilities trustees and university leaders undertake.
Last week we saw a Black man’s life snuffed out, horrifically. And we can’t “unsee” it.
I sat at the water’s edge here in northern Michigan this morning at dawn, reflecting on all that has happened over the course of the past few days. “How can I help?”, I thought to myself. “What can I do or do better? What part can I play in meaningful, positive change?”