Presidential Dialogues: Lessons on Effecting Change

Presidential Dialogues - Effecting Change - Image of a Highway Switchback

10 Lessons on Effecting Change in Higher Education

Change is here to stay and it will be more complex, ambiguous, and fast paced than ever before, and presidents are feeling tremendous pressure to significantly reshape their institutions. We wanted the inside story—how do you manage the people, politics, and process of change? For our second event in our series, Presidential Dialogues: Focus on the Future, we wanted to convene a group of presidents who have achieved (but not necessarily mastered) real change efforts on their campuses. Platitudes and pontifications and pithy quotes don’t matter when attempting to achieve difficult and meaningful change, but hard-won lessons and strategies from practitioners can contribute to our knowledge and leverage our efforts.

We wanted to discover what success looks like from a president’s perspective because both success and failure leave clues. A number of invaluable lessons surfaced in our conversation. In this report, we share the ten most important. We hope their advice will be useful to you.

In this paper, hear from:

  • Ricardo Azziz, Past President, Augusta University (formerly Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA)
  • Dennis Holtschneider, President, DePaul University (Chicago, IL)
  • Robert Johnson, President, Becker College (Worcester, MA)
  • Nivine Megahed, President, National Louis University (Chicago, IL)
  • Stephen Trachtenberg, President Emeritus, George Washington University (Washington, D.C.)

Through this ongoing series, we will continue to convene leading minds in higher education to uncover those skill sets and ways of rethinking the president’s work that will educate boards and inform and empower aspiring presidents. Watch for future papers from this series.

Read the report.


Image Credit: Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash.

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If you would like to talk with us about the AI Presidential Dialogues or our research on the presidency in higher education, please contact me at I would love to talk with you!