ERIC Number: EJ839459
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb-19
Reference Count: N/A
The Presidential Search "Plateau"
Cooper, Kenneth J.
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, v26 n1 p18-21 Feb 2009
As the new vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1971, Dr. Randolph W. Bromery had not given any thought to moving up to chancellor. But the president of the UMass system, Dr. Robert C. Wood, had contemplated the possibility. Then he made it happen. Indisputably, Wood's gamble worked out. For eight years, Bromery led UMass Amherst so capably that other colleges in the state kept summoning him to straighten out their management problems. After that groundbreaking start four decades ago, the history of college presidents of color in Massachusetts, a state known for its liberal politics and elite private colleges, has unfolded at about the same halting pace as it has in the rest of the country. Since Bromery in the 1970s, the state flagship university in Amherst has not tapped a minority as a chancellor, although two African-Americans have filled in temporarily. "The tragedy of these things is you end up being the first and the last," Bromery says. "The institution has this sense we have done our diversity thing, and we don't have to do anymore." According to Richard Doherty, president of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts (AICUM), the number of minority presidents at the state's private colleges will continue to grow. One reason is demographic, he believes: The increasing presence of minorities in the pool of college-age students means a president of color can make an institution more attractive. Selective colleges, however, are insulated from that market pressure. John Isaacson, a principal in an executive search firm, says colleges' interest in diversity in presidential searches has remained about the same for a decade. "I wouldn't say it's a trend," he says. "It's a plateau." The biggest question about the future of higher education leadership in Massachusetts is when will an administrator of color take the reins of an elite private university like Harvard University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or even a Tufts University or Boston University? Doherty of the AICUM suggests that time may not be too far off.
Descriptors: College Presidents, African American Leadership, Promotion (Occupational), Tenure, Personnel Selection, Search Committees (Personnel), Cultural Pluralism, Minority Groups, Profiles
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts