It’s been said that no one dreams of becoming an academic leader when they grow up. It’s a tough job that’s only gotten more challenging as budgets shrink, public scrutiny rises, and responsibilities continue to grow. It requires a unique skill set – part field general, part mediator, part visionary, and part circus barker – to name just a few. But what does it really take to be an
Featuring 13 articles from Academic Leader this special report seeks to answer that question and provide guidance for anyone in a campus leadership role. For example, in the article “Leadership and Management: Complementary Skill Sets,” Donna Goss
and Don Robertson, explain the differences between management and leadership, and share their thoughts on how to develop leadership skills in yourself and others.
In “Zen and the Art of Higher Education Administration,” author Jeffrey L. Buller shows how the Buddhist practice features many principles for daily life that could benefit academic leaders. Such advice includes “Walk gently, leaving tracks only where they can make a difference.” In “Techniques of Leadership,” authors Isa Kaftal Zimmerman and Joan Thormann outline specific
leadership skills for effectively running meetings, building consensus, and communicating across the institution.
The article “A Formal Approach to Facilitating Change” explains how Northwestern University’s Office of Change Management is structured as well as its operating principles for effectively managing change at the university. The key is to articulate how a change can benefit those directly affected and others not directly affected, to be accountable, and to provide clear criteria for
measuring success Other articles in the report include:
• Factors That Affect Department Chairs’ Performance
• Changing Roles for Chairs
• Becoming a More Mindful Leader
• Creating a Culture of Leadership
• There’s More to Leadership than Motivation and Ability
Academic leadership roles are constantly changing. We hope this report will help you be a more
effective leader during these challenging times.