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ERIC Number: ED559956
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 263
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3033-3258-6
Transforming the Gray Factory: The Presidential Leadership of Charles M. Vest and the Architecture of Change at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Daas, Mahesh
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
The single-site exemplar study presents an in-depth account of the presidential leadership of Charles M. Vest of MIT--the second longest presidency in the Institute's history--and his leadership team's journey between 1990 and 2004 into campus architectural changes that involved over a billion dollars, added a quarter of floor space to MIT's campus, and transformed the Institute from what was once termed "The Gray Factory on the Charles River" into an architecturally significant place designed by some of the world's leading architects including Charles Correa, Frank Gehry, Steven Holl, Fumihiko Maki, Kevin Roche, and landscape architect Laurie Olin. In the process Vest and his team transformed a run-down, dreary and outdated campus into a humanized and supportive place for creative and enterprising individuals who innovate and take risks to advance human knowledge. The larger purpose of the study was to understand leadership in higher education institutions through the interrelated lenses of organizational aesthetics, architecture and political science. Architecture is the single most valuable asset and the longest lasting physical artifact created by an institution. Architectural decisions reveal an institution's aspirations, inner struggles, conflicts, fears, underlying assumptions and competing identities, and remain a test for presidential leadership. The study suggests that transformational leadership and aesthetics matter in higher education institutions. The study indicates that the physical plant of an institution is, far from being a prosaic realm of real estate development, an integral part of its academic mission of knowledge creation in the form of tacit knowledge that embodies the institution's identity and mission, and transmits the institutional values to posterity through aesthetics, which are heightened sensory experiences. The study demonstrates how the methods and frameworks drawn from organizational aesthetics and architecture could be uniquely helpful in understanding leadership in higher education institutions. The findings could be of value to university presidents, architects, management researchers, campus planners, trustees, faculty, and leaders in any organizational setting. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts