February 23, 2023
The irony is that I was late submitting to the editor this chapter on leading a well campus because I was facing several challenges to remaining well myself. Over the two months that I had to complete this chapter, I was faced with the unexpected death of my mother, COVID among my family members (but not me, unless I was asymptomatic and the numerous tests with negative results were all wrong), the stress of trying to impossibly balance the university’s operating budget, and, most recently, the decision to move my father who suffers from Alzheimer’s from Indiana, where he has lived his entire life, to Cleveland to be near me. But of course, my situation is not at all unique. As I look around my campus, I see many of us who are caring for elderly parents, often with dementia involved. The effects of COVID, both physical and emotional/mental, are everywhere to be seen. And the enormous pressures of enrollment and finances that higher education institutions are facing can be felt by both faculty and staff daily. So, taking the time to intentionally focus our campuses on being institutions where the well-being of faculty, staff, and students is at the heart of the institution is much needed these days.
February 23, 2023
Throughout the pandemic, all of us frequently invoked a single word to describe our experiences: “unprecedented.” How frequently? In 2020, The New York Times “Dealbook” called it one of the words of the year1, and this year, a quick Google search I did in writing this piece turned up 117 million hits and counting that paired “unprecedented” with COVID.
April 12, 2022
Like many college presidents, commencement is my favorite day on campus. This May, after more than a year of primarily virtual events, the opportunity to present diplomas to students in person reinvigorated my passion for supporting their success. As a first-generation college graduate coming from meager means, my life has been transformed by the power of education. Therefore, when each graduate walks across the stage to receive their diploma, whether on their way to a new career, graduate school, or planned service opportunity, I view their educational experience as a successful outcome.
October 20, 2021
It’s no secret that the landscape of higher education is changing rapidly. Every day, tuition-dependent private institutions are grappling with issues related to affordability, enrollment, competition, shrinking state and federal funding, student success and retention, and the looming drop in the number of high school graduates. As if this wasn’t enough, a global pandemic swept in, exacerbating existing challenges and creating unforeseen new ones.
September 07, 2021
I will write about how a concerted community formed across political, racial, and other differences to advance community health and the insight we might draw from that experience to understand prior successes and failures and project better outcomes in the future.
October 28, 2020
Innovation—the ability to anticipate and respond to changes taking place on our campus and throughout this 21st-century world—sets leading colleges and universities apart from the thousands of other institutions in the higher education marketplace. Innovation on our campuses can take many forms. Often it means adapting an existing strategy to emerging demands.
April 16, 2020
Pittsburgh is having a moment.
High-end hotels and condos are springing up all over town. The tech, energy, and advanced manufacturing sectors are booming. We have a superb restaurant scene, great sports teams, and you can’t open up the travel sections of The New York Times or The Washington Post without coming across articles gushing over Pittsburgh as “the next Austin” or “the next Portland.”
March 04, 2020
The United States has the best system of higher education in the world. It is the most comprehensive, multi-faceted, accessible, and well-funded system that any society has created, and despite its flaws and failures, it has stood the test of time for well over 125 years.
November 20, 2019
During my recent first year on a new campus, I found myself in search of the true character of the institution I had joined. What were the special strengths of this university? What opportunities existed for advancement? Were there areas where we could direct additional focus?
April 11, 2019
A few years ago, California Lutheran University did what many of you do on a regular basis: we held a table-top emergency drill.
January 10, 2019
The town-gown divide is not a new issue for college presidents. The relationships between colleges and the communities they inhabit have always been complex.
October 31, 2018
“College kids” is a phrase beloved by lawmakers working on higher education policy and reporters covering campus life.
October 03, 2018
Risk is characterized by uncertainty – that an event may or may not happen – and undesirable outcomes or loss.
Chapter 5: Staying True to Mission and History: University of Detroit Mercy's Role in the Revitalization of a Historic City and Its Communities
January 10, 2018
Nearly 20 years into the 21st century, university presidents are developing potential solutions to ensure their institutions' sustainability and viability for future decades.
February 13, 2018
Hillsborough Community College (HCC), a two-year public institution with five campuses in Hillsborough County, Tampa, is one of 28 community colleges in Florida.
March 07, 2018
At High Point University (HPU), we believe in what I call "intentional congruence," an idea that describes how what we do and what we espouse connect like pieces to a puzzle and helps us plant seeds of greatness in the hearts, minds, and souls of our students.
April 04, 2018
Much of higher education is grappling with the tension between a fragile business model and a quality educational model. These two concerns have been on a collision course as student demographics have shifted, the traditional-age student population has declined, the cost of college has outstripped inflation, and as students see college primarily, if not exclusively, as a path to employment. Our knowledge of what is most effective in college teaching and learning has increased, even as our ability to supply that level of intense education is financially and philosophically challenged.
October 04, 2016
Teaching, building community and integrating learning are all design challenges. We know that faculty want students to learn, that students want to connect with each other, and that they desire to internalize their learning. Our role as leaders is to help guide the design of systems that will increase desired behaviors. An inclusive process will help create facilities that are welcomed by your community and designed to match the needs of your individual campus, but clear priorities for outcomes and the paths that lead there are essential.
December 08, 2016
August of 2015 marked the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I was president of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, AR, during that time. Along with the rest of the nation, I watched the developments in shock.
Chapter 8: The Commons Concept: Building Dynamic Living and Learning Environments through Integrated Design
April 03, 2017
The University of British Columbia's Vancouver (UBC Vancouver) campus has the highest percentage of beds per full-time student in Canada. UBC Vancouver's inventory of on-campus, university-run housing spaces has grown by more than 4,350 beds in the last 10 years. Our Student Housing department currently manages 11,038 beds that both undergraduate and graduate, domestic and international students call home. As we have expanded our bed spaces over the last decade, our international student enrolment has more than doubled to our current enrolment of 13,174. For the first time this year, international students (51%) outnumber domestic students (49%) living in residence.
April 24, 2017
On a fateful night in 1998, Brenda Tracy came to Corvallis, the city where Oregon State University (OSU) is located, to visit friends. The night went horribly wrong when Ms. Tracy* was sexually assaulted by four men. Two of the suspects at the time were members of the OSU football team, while two of the other suspects were not enrolled as Oregon State students. Law enforcement officials did not pursue criminal charges in this case.
Chapter 10: Pathways to Success: Easing the Transition to Four-Year Universities with Comprehensive Guidance and Institutional Support
May 08, 2017
About 80 percent of students entering two-year institutions say they aim to ultimately complete a four-year degree. But only 14 percent of those students attain their goal within six years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.