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.