Presidential Dialogues: Leading in Complex Times

university campus in the summer

How do you confront tradition-bound institutions and mobilize campuses to move forward?

Recently, we gathered five leaders from very different institutions to discuss this issue in-depth. We know that change on any scale is difficult, so how do these leaders motivate and mobilize their campuses to move forward, especially knowing that change comes slowly? How do they lead in complex times? What inspires them and what makes them nervous? We spoke with:

  • Mark P. Becker, President of Georgia State University
  • Rebecca Chopp, Chancellor of the University of Denver
  • Kent Hanson, President of Anoka Ramsey Community College and Anoka Technical College
  • Ronald H. Nowaczyk, President of Frostburg State University
  • Daniel Weeks, President of the University of Northern British Columbia

Out of a wide-ranging and robust conversation, a set of five common and core principles emerged. Whether they were in their first year of the presidency or on their third presidency, each leader emphasized the importance of:

  1. Focusing on your institution's core purpose and value
  2. Investing in your institution's distributed leadership
  3. Creating a culture of authentic engagement and ownership
  4. Collaborating with campus stakeholders to set a strategic direction
  5. Nurturing trust and building relational capital

We hope their insights and experiences will be useful to you!

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Related Paper:

The Skills Future Higher-Ed Leaders Need to Succeed