Presidential Dialogues: The Changing Presidency in Higher Education

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College President: An Impossible Job?

The president of a college or university stands in the cross-hairs, operating in an environment where the challenges are complex, there are no clear answers and decisions come in all shades of gray. All eyes are on the institution’s chief executive to navigate the strategic dilemmas facing their institutions.

And as today’s presidents try to balance the competing demands of an array of stakeholders, they can’t always count on the buy-in and support of the board—leading them to spend much of their time managing the board. With all this complexity, the presidents that succeed tomorrow won’t be the same as the presidents that were successful yesterday.

In the first of our Presidential Dialogues, we speak with five highly successful chief executives, asking their advice for new presidents. In this paper, hear from:

  • Peter Cimbolic, President, Ohio Dominican University
  • Rufus Glasper, Chancellor, Maricopa Community Colleges
  • Mary Hinton, President, College of Saint Benedict
  • Clif Smart, President, Missouri State University
  • Steve Titus, President, Iowa Wesleyan College

This is the first of the AI Presidential Dialogues. 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.

Contact Me

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!