Interesting special report on leadership in higher education published by the Washington Post on October 31. Includes a set of articles from a variety of perspectives. Worth a look, I think.

Mark Taylor: Why university presidents refuse reform

Paul Portney: Higher ed’s leadership vacuum

Howard Gardner: The rise and fall of the university emperor

Anya Kamenetz: Sacrificing the higher-ed sacred cow

The following quote is taken from Paul Portney’s “Higher Ed’s Leadership Vacuum”

Midway through my nearly six-year tenure as a dean, I once griped to a friend about the frustrating difficulty of making even small changes. He said, “Duh. You’re in a profession in which you and your colleagues celebrate graduation by putting on the same silly hats and robes that were worn a thousand years ago. What the hell did you expect?”

He had me there. This almost slavish adherence to faculty governance and tradition (“I teach this way because this is the way I was taught”) and the view that universities should be islands unto themselves, free from such mundane concerns as having to meet a budget, make bold leadership almost impossible.

The home page of the special report on leadership

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