Higher Education Policy and Practice

Leadership Critical in Times of Scarcity

John Nelson, director of the higher education practice for Moody’s Investor Service, recently gave a powerful speech where he talked about leadership, managing scarcity, and productive efficiency.  According to Nelson, the evidence indicates that colleges with strong leadership find new markets, expand markets in times of adversity, and improve efficiency thereby reducing the pressure on tuition rates.

Leadership is a continuing theme in the management of colleges and universities.  Colleges can either take the route recommended by the late George Keller and hire presidents who are willing to lead institutions forward or they can lose their way in the miasma resulting from the ambiguity of leadership that James Cohen says describes most institutions of higher learning.

James March’s proposition that leaders are game players rather than leaders because they are bound by the decision-making ambiguities inherent in colleges and universities is no longer a viable leadership strategy.  The tremendous transformation in higher education arising from technology, financial uncertainty, student demographics, and governmental pressure make it imperative that presidents must become dynamic leaders of change.

Stevens Strategy has the skills and experience to work with presidents who want to become dynamic leaders of their college or university.  We know how to work as facilitators for the president as strategies and plans are developed to introduce new programs, reach new markets, and cut the costs of operations.  You can reach us at:  [email protected].

Michael Townsley, PhD

Senior Consultant, Stevens Strategy

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