Last week I wrote in this column about the issue of the increasing gap between administrators (mainly presidents) and the faculty. This is an issue that has been going on for decades and does not seem to be resolving by itself. How many institutions of higher education can succeed when their leaders are seen as “missing in action” because they seem to be out of touch with reality?
Presidents of institutions of higher education have been the focus of numerous books, yet their roles are not well understood. That is the result of the sheer number of colleges and universities together with their diversity. According to the Carnegie Foundation, there are more than 4,600 schools grouped into 33 categories. To that add the different nomenclature for the leadership position that includes – but is not limited to – president, chancellor, rector, and the like, which can lead to tremendous confusion. Some systems such as SUNY (State University of New York), where the top executive is called chancellor, have campus presidents reporting to him/her. In the University of California system the CEO is called president and the top campus executives are called chancellors.