ERIC Number: ED497195
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jul
The Pressure-Cooker Presidency
McLaughlin, Judith Block
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, Trusteeship v14 n4 Jul-Aug 2006
When the AGB task force on the state of the Presidency in American Higher Education was meeting last fall in Washington, D.C., to deliberate about the role of the academic presidency, the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education convened across town to examine issues ranging from access to affordability to accountability. The coincidental timing of these two meetings was entirely fitting. The task of implementing the recommendations of the Spellings Commission will fall squarely on college and university presidents. No matter that presidents' "to do" lists are already impossibly long or that significant power in higher education lies not at the top but at middle and lower levels of the formal organization chart as well as, increasingly, outside of it altogether. The president is the one person upon whom the hopes and fears for the future of a college or university most often rest. Nothing is new about this; the president has occupied this central role since the founding of the first colonial colleges. In recent years, however, the pressures of this position have become especially strong. In particular, four trends significantly affect the presidency: (1) the urgent need for funding; (2) the increased calls for colleges and universities to demonstrate their worth; (3) the pace and crush of communications; and (4) the changing landscape of governance. These pressures raise questions about the qualifications of presidents, the manageability of presidential responsibilities, and the relationship between the president and the board.
Descriptors: Higher Education, College Presidents, Governing Boards, Board Administrator Relationship, Trustees, Accountability, Governance, Educational Finance, Administrator Responsibility, Administrator Role
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Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial; Opinion Papers; Reports - General; Journal Articles
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, Washington, DC.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A