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All hail to the Chief!

December 7, 2008

Several stories from University World News about vice-chancellors/principals/rectors/presidents:

  • GLOBAL: Huge demands on today’s vice-chancellors,” Karen MacGregor (Dec. 7/08): an odd article in that after seeming to make the case that university leaders need to be “a combination of CEOs and fund-raisers,” it ends by quoting Professor Philip Altbach, Director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College: “This is in my view a serious problem since top university leadership tends to ignore the academic values that drive all successful universities.”
  • GLOBAL: The outsider as university leader,” John Gerritsen (Dec. 7/08): Cites Dr Amanda Goodall, author of Socrates in the Boardroom: Why research universities should be led by top scholars (Princeton UP, forthcoming):

Goodall argues that universities are knowledge-intensive organisations. Because their core business is knowledge and the core workers are experts, they need a leader who understands their work. She compares universities to law or accounting firm: “Can you ever imagine a top law firm placing a non-lawyer into the top job? Or an accountancy firm putting a journalist in as CEO?”

The world’s top research universities are in the United States and the likes of Stanford and MIT would never appoint a business person as head, Goodall says. “These are the best institutions in the world. We should take our lead from them. Instead of putting people who know nothing about universities in to lead them, we should be focusing on encouraging the best scholars to become leaders, and we should be offering high-quality management and leadership training to enable scholars to perform these roles adequately.”


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