The Role of University Leadership

Divisions, subdivisions, administration, and staff play a large part in the operation of a college or university. Today’s organizational structures are quite different from those of the colonial colleges and late 19th-century universities. The first U.S. colleges operated with only a president who directly conducted all the general functions that we have today, such as teaching, advising, housing, financial aid, discipline, and more. The post-Civil War universities developed diversified organizational structures with personnel to reflect changing public expectations and expanding missions.

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As colleges and universities in the United States grew in size and number, a division of labor was inevitable. Today’s colleges and universities have complex structures and divisions. Divisions, too, change with the times. For example, many colleges have combined academics with student affairs to advance student growth and success. Likewise, enrollment and marketing offices are often under the same vice president because of the relationship of institutional storytelling to prospective student enrollment.

In this question you will closely examine the roles of presidents and other leaders, as well as the roles and structures of divisional offices.

In addition to the president, numerous philanthropists, business leaders, politicians, and governing board members have played key roles in the growth and development of individual colleges and universities. Choose one of the leaders discussed in this week’s readings and research this person using at least two sources in addition to your textbook. For your initial post in this discussion:

  1. Describe the activities of  your chosen leader and highlight his or her role in advancing an institution’s growth and success.
  2. Choose another current college or university leader (a president or other key stakeholder), and summarize the leader’s activities and accomplishments.
  3. Compare and contrast their roles and their approaches to their work.

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