The future of higher education depends on succession planning. An institution that is healthy and thriving today won’t sustain without insightful leaders to meet the challenges of tomorrow. Leaders must attend to the current moment as well as long-term challenges and opportunities.
I have worked in higher education for decades, first in faculty and within administrative roles and now on a consulting basis, serving the diverse needs of today’s colleges and universities with experienced perspective, strategic coaching and often for helping to find the right leaders capable of taking an organization into future growth and meeting its established goals.
Unexpected openings are a reality of higher education. However, they must not be the only way an institution selects its leaders. The alarm bells of urgency do not allow for the reflection that long-term planning requires.
Because of the many demands placed on leaders in higher education, many presidents, boards, and provosts are reactive, responding to the myriad challenges before them. A defensive posture may win the battle, but lose the war. Engaged leaders hold a vision for the future that compels them to be proactive. They implement strategies that move the mission and values of an institution forward.
The threats facing higher education are multiplying. Colleges must consider the educational climate, analyze enrollment trends, address funding gaps, evaluate entrenched approaches, and innovate programs. Uniting all of these challenges is the need for skilled leaders. Leaders are the foundation upon which we build the future.
The Grass Isn’t Always Greener on the Other Side
Socrates’ maxim “the unexamined life is not worth living” has application beyond existential musing. Introspection is essential to success. Before filling a leadership position, search committees must identify and evaluate their assumptions.
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