Chapter 10: Sustainable Strategic Planning in Times of Turbulence

April 22, 2024

“The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,

Gang aft agley” – Robert Burns

Chapter 9: Seeing All People More Clearly

April 02, 2024

While I don’t consider myself profound, I believe my lived experiences are worthy of examination. In fact, I believe it is our lived experiences that truly represent our greatest life lessons. Mine, like yours, have shaped me into the person I am today and have prepared me, to the extent such preparation is possible, to be a university president

Chapter 8: Strategies for Creating a Business Plan for a Sustainable Future

March 04, 2024

As presidents, we have seen these headlines from the past few months:

“Holy Names University Will Close in 2023”

“Cazenovia to Close in 2023”

“Stritch University in Wisconsin is closing after 86 years”

Chapter 7: Talent Management as a Tool for Institutional Sustainability

February 06, 2024

“The species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.” – Charles Darwin

Chapter 6: Applying Sustainability to Presidential Leadership

November 14, 2023

The concept of sustainability can serve as a useful leadership framework for presidents of institutions of higher education. Avery and Bergsteiner (2011) describe sustainable leadership as characterized by a long-term perspective that creates a better future for everyone by balancing economic prosperity, social well-being, and environmental responsibility. A sustainable leader works to ensure that their organization functions in such a way as to “protect the planet, care for the local communities in which it operates and protects its image and brand through ethical behavior” (Avery & Bergsteiner, 2011a, p.17).

Chapter 5: Reducing Energy Consumption as Step One to Building a Sustainability Movement

November 14, 2023

Sustainability programs take many forms on college campuses, from recycling programs and mindful consumerism to the use of renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power. Sam Houston State University (SHSU) is taking the first systematic steps to a sustainability program.

Chapter 4: Questions on the Path to a Sustainable Future

November 14, 2023

Since you’re a college president, you’re likely old enough to recall staring at a wall of blue and yellow boxes on Friday night at your local Blockbuster Video, which launched in 1985. By 2004, Blockbuster had over 9,000 stores and roughly 85,000 employees. Today, only one store is still standing (in Bend, Oregon, in case you’re curious). Yet the entertainment industry is alive and well, as is the American appetite for movies.

Chapter 3: Making the “Case” for Sustainability

October 16, 2023

Public colleges and universities continue to face great fiscal and structural challenges. The past 25 or more years have seen a precipitous decline in state appropriations and monumental challenges in enrollment and retention as college-going rates dip, inflationary pressures drive up costs, performance funding models in many states provide limited new resources, and college-going students decline in a generational demographic shift. In short, institutional budgets are very tight, and financial pressures continue to grow as tuition increases are severely limited due to the importance of access and affordability.

Chapter 2: A New Approach to Climate Action Planning: Reimagining Campus Sustainability in a Post-COVID Environment

September 25, 2023

COVID-19 has, in many ways, changed how those of us in higher education operate. It also has altered our relationship to the world around us, in ways both subtle and profound. It has made us more sensitive to the fragility of the natural world in which we live and to the importance of a clean, safe, and healthy environment in sustaining our lifestyles and advancing our goals. 

Chapter 1: Leading in a Digital World

September 04, 2023

The term “digital native” is growing in use and becoming a commonly used term to describe traditional-aged college students (18-24-years-old). Digital natives are considered to be persons born or brought up during the age of digital technology and are far more familiar with computers, apps, the internet, and electronic technology. Many of these individuals are also “gamers” who became familiar with technology by playing video games. Thirty-six percent of adolescents play video games. On average, gamers play for an hour on weekdays and an hour and a half on weekends. Compared with non-gamers, adolescent gamers spend 30% less time reading and 34% less time doing homework. According a 2022 survey, 36% of gamers come from the 18-to-34 age demographic, and 6 % are 65 years and older. But while the traditional college-aged student may be digitally savvy, I worry that their level of sophistication may be constrained by socioeconomic factors, such as the school they attend or their family’s circumstances.

2023-2024 Series Foreword

August 23, 2023

As President to President enters its 20th year, I am honored to write the foreword for the 2023-24 series and am especially thrilled because of its focus on sustainable futures in higher education. At this juncture in the history of American higher education, the sustainable future of our colleges and universities is of the utmost importance. As the story goes, higher education officially began in our country with the founding of Harvard College in 1636. Since then, we have matured into an industry of nearly 4,000 colleges and universities and now educate approximately 20 million undergraduate and graduate students annually.