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 →
Recently I led members of the Peterson Rudgers Group team in the design and facilitation of a two-day university leadership retreat that included the chancellor, his provost, the vice chancellors and deans. This has become a significant area of practice for our firm, and one that Julie, Steve and I find deeply rewarding. There is both art and science in creating and facilitating a program that fosters deep team dialogue and strategic thinking. And it can have almost magical outcomes in both team building and performance.
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.