ERIC Number: EJ773004
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Reference Count: 21
Selected Legal Aspects of Academic Administrative Leadership: An Orientation for New Academic Administrators
Jenkins, Charles R.
New Directions for Higher Education, n124 p65-77 Win 2003
An academic leader needs to have a basic understanding of the relevant constitutional and statutory provisions, evolving laws, and legal issues affecting higher education and the relationship between legal considerations and academic administration. At the same time, an academic leader must focus on accomplishing the goals, objectives, and highest ideals of the academy in teaching, scholarship, and service while incorporating the applicable legal considerations into policies, processes, procedures, practices, and decisions. Indeed, a close relationship exists between effective administration and developing and following policies, processes, procedures, and practices that are legally sound. One of the most effective means that an academic administrator may use to prevent or reduce legal problems is to continuously apply basic ethical principles of the profession, such as treating others as you would like to be treated; acting in good faith; being fair-minded, consistent, and reasonable; applying good judgment, common sense, and standards of reasonableness; and not acting vindictively. Also, appropriate documentation of situations and issues that have potential legal ramifications is an essential precautionary measure as well as a mandatory measure in case of legal challenge. Furthermore, developing and maintaining a positive, helpful, and supportive working relationship with the campus or system attorney is critical for effective academic leadership and contributes to peace of mind. Many of the challenges in academic administration will continue to include legal issues and considerations, and academic leaders should strive to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of laws and judicial decisions affecting all aspects of higher education. The threat or reality of facing a lawsuit is always present in academic administration, but academic leaders should not allow that fact to intimidate or paralyze them from providing leadership and doing what is right and best for students, faculty, staff, and the ideals of the academy.
Descriptors: Legal Problems, Governing Boards, Court Litigation, Higher Education, Constitutional Law
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Americans with Disabilities Act 1990; Civil Rights Act 1964 Title VI; Civil Rights Act 1964 Title VII; Education Amendments 1972; Fourteenth Amendment; Gratz et al v Bollinger et al; Grutter et al v Bollinger et al; Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments 1997; Rehabilitation Act 1973 (Section 504)