August 14, 2019

President to President was launched 14 years ago. Many of its current readers and authors were not yet presidents then, although many may have had that as a professional goal. First called Presidential Perspectives, the series was introduced before MOOCs, before Gen Z students started enrolling in college, and before the Great Recession. The series was introduced when the U.S. was in the early days of war with Iraq, and when Facebook was still in its infancy as “Thefacebook.” Classrooms hadn’t yet “flipped” and neither had the ratio between state funding for higher education and student funding in the form of tuition.

Chapter 1: Educating the Environmental Stewards of Tomorrow: Presidential Leadership and Climate Change

September 04, 2019

As a society, we face numerous challenges that universities seek to address as part of higher education’s central mission to educate students and serve the community. Among them, and one that I care about deeply, is the threat to our future and the clear danger we all face due to climate change. As educators—and leaders of universities essentially equivalent to “small cities” with a direct impact on the environment—I believe we are compelled to address these threats and do everything in our power to counter global warming.

Chapter 2: Building an Innovation Culture in Higher Education

October 01, 2019

A little more than a decade ago, as the university I serve prepared for a visit from its regional accrediting agency, a senior faculty member characterized the institution in the following terms: “We are a mediocre university, with a mediocre faculty and mediocre facilities, serving a mediocre community.” At the conclusion of the accreditation site visit, the Higher Learning Commission described the faculty relationship with the then president as “highly tenuous” and the University as being “without focus.”

Chapter 3: Your City (or Town) is More Than a Place to Call Home

October 30, 2019

When I became president of a private liberal arts college after nine years at the helm of a public research university, many surmised that I was practicing for retirement by starting to downsize.

Chapter 4: Opening the Campus to Comprehensive Education and Careers

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? 

Chapter 5: Mergers and Acquisitions in Higher Education: Is There an Opportunity to Build Competitive Advantage, Collective Strength, and Mission Focus?

December 11, 2019

Higher education is in an unprecedented place in its history; competition has never been more intense for an increasingly smaller traditional student population, and many institutions now offer online programs and cater to adult and part-time students, not to mention the existence of corporate universities, continued for-profit participation in the industry, government regulations, and the often negative misperception too many have from the media concerning the value of a degree given the rising costs.

Chapter 6: Innovating to Advance Success for Students’ Diverse Needs

January 15, 2020

Alarms sound about the future of American colleges and universities as innovations proliferate to address the dynamics of how we educate, whom we educate, for what purpose, and with what value. Near universal agreement can be reached that business as usual will not serve anyone well; yet, no single solution can address the challenges we face. One size never fits all.

Chapter 7: Leveraging Our Assets: Adult Education as a Tool for Transformation

February 05, 2020

Having been engaged in K-12 and higher education leadership for over 40 years, I have personally experienced the significant changes in the higher education landscape in the past two decades in particular.

Chapter 8: The Digital Transformation Age Means Personalized Learning for All

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.

Chapter 9: Creative Collaborations: The Promise of Strategic Partnerships

March 25, 2020

The future is collaborative. For small, private, four-year colleges, it is also, as countless articles and reports have warned, replete with risk. But despite the most challenging combination of demographic and cultural headwinds in generations, schools that choose to carefully cultivate vibrant, synergistic partnerships can not only survive but flourish.

Chapter 10: The Blank Sheet of Paper: Crafting Curated Solutions for Strategic Partners

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.”