Keynote Luncheon: Thoughts On Interim Leadership In Higher Education

By: Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and Gerald B. Kauvar 

The interim leadership one is called upon to provide in higher education depends on a variety of challenges and opportunities, the history and culture of the organization, the nature of the business, what you think your competition is thinking, contemplated changes to law and regulation, and various other knowns, unknowns, and unk-unks — those unknown unknowns you haven’t even conceived of. 

“There is a golden rule, but it is not much help in advising leaders in higher education: They either learned it and followed it long before they became leaders or they haven’t and won’t. More college and university presidents fail because of failures of character than lapses in judgment.”

Disruption occurs in all manners of controversy and surprise. It occurs when someone in your shop (maybe you) says or does or tweets something you wish they hadn’t. Or when you’re challenged by new federal or State regulations and mandates — perhaps by changes  in the way federal research and student grants are awarded — that may force the institution to behave in ways it hasn’t before, collect different data sets, focus on training (job or career opportunities that either exist or are likely to exist) rather than education which arguably but not inevitably prepare us for the unknown.

Leading is a tough and messy sport. Just when you think you have it down pat, there is a new book published that tells you how far behind you are. If you are not constantly reassessing your own ideas and practices, it will not matter what books have to say or what folks you are working with suggest. 






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