September 23, 2016

Welcome to the 2016-2017 edition of President to President, a thought leadership series offering perspectives from university presidents for university presidents on the challenges faced in higher education. This year’s series, titled “Integrated Approaches to Student Living and Campus Housing—Enhancing Quality of Life and Performance,” will focus on issues related to living on campus, how they impact students and institutions.

Chapter 1: Designing for Integrative Learning

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.

Chapter 2: The Role of the University in Promoting Community Resiliency

November 10, 2016

According to, "resiliency" is an object's ability to return an original form after being bent, compressed, or stretched. In human terms, it is the ability to adapt and recover from illness or adversity. The word derives from the Latin resilire, to bounce or spring back. Resiliency assumes negative change—bad things will happen. The key question is: will we bounce back?

Chapter 3: After Katrina: Rebuilding a Residence Life Program

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 4: The StepUP Program at Augsburg: Overcoming the Stigma of Addiction on a University Campus

January 05, 2017

It began nearly 20 years ago with one student, a student who went to one of his professors with a remarkable story. As he recounts it, the student told the faculty member that he was in recovery from addiction and that college was a really tough place for someone in recovery to negotiate. The faculty member responded with humility and compassion: "I don't know anything about recovery, but if I can help you succeed in college, we will go on this path together."

Chapter 5: Lessons in Leadership: How a Silent Student Protest Inculcated University Values

February 13, 2017

It was as if a blanket of snow covered the auditorium floor in the Center for Global Citizenship, where 52 years earlier, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke while visiting Saint Louis University (SLU). Nearly all were dressed in white. Some wore hijabs. They sat quietly in 11 rows of 25 folding chairs, waiting.

Chapter 6: The Inclusive Campus: Leading from Within

March 06, 2017

A salient influence during my time at Drew University has been the crescendo-reaching national conversation on race and inclusion. Campuses are engaging in conversations about race, ethnicity, discrimination, religious intolerance, LGBTQ acceptance and rights, and sanctuary.

Chapter 7: Pathways for Success: From Pre-College to Campus Life

March 18, 2017

Imagine you are a business owner. You own a general store in a small town, and for many years you have depended upon a local manufacturing company to subsidize your business. But now they are downsizing, and their standing order has been reduced from 60% of your revenue to 20% and falling. They are laying off employees who, in turn, are moving away for new jobs. And, of course, internet providers are significantly undercutting your business as you are unable to compete with their pricing structure. What can you do?

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.

Chapter 9: Taking Action to Overcome Institutional Betrayal on College Campuses

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.