Presidencies Derailed: Why University Leaders Fail and How


Presidencies Derailed: Why University Leaders Fail and How to Prevent It University presidents have become as expendable as football coaches one bad season, scandal, or political or financial misstep and they are sent packing A derailed presidency can undermine an institution s image, damage its alumni relations, and destroy campus morale, but it can also cost millions of dollars Duringand , fifty college, university, and system presidents either resigned, retired prematurely, or were firedThese high profile campus appointments are increasingly scrutinized by faculty, administrators, alumni, and the media, and problems emerge all too publicly A combination of constrained resources and a trend toward hiring from outside of academia results in tensions between governing boards and presidents that can quickly erupt Sometimes presidents are dismissed for performance, financial, or institutional fit reasons, but there are nearly always political reasons as well The details of these employment situations, often masked by confidentially clauses, increasingly emerge as social networks and traditional media buzz with speculationFormer university president Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, along with Gerald B Kauvar and former chancellor E Grady Bogue, examine what can go wrong and indeed has and who in academic institutions has the responsibility to address these issues before things get out of hand Presidencies Derailed is the first book to explore in depth, from every sector of higher education, the reasons why university presidencies fail and how university and college leadership can prevent these unfortunate situations from happening

  • Hardcover
  • 184 pages
  • Presidencies Derailed: Why University Leaders Fail and How to Prevent It
  • Stephen Joel Trachtenberg
  • English
  • 26 October 2019
  • 1421410249

About the Author: Stephen Joel Trachtenberg

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Presidencies Derailed: Why University Leaders Fail and How to Prevent It book, this is one of the most wanted Stephen Joel Trachtenberg author readers around the world.



10 thoughts on “Presidencies Derailed: Why University Leaders Fail and How to Prevent It

  1. says:

    Part schadenfreude, part cautionary tale, this is a study of failed university presidents in redacted case studies and in the reflections of people like William Frawley, who chose to write op eds about his behavior at Mary Washington Whether it is being out of step with the local community, the institution s faith tradition, antagonizing faculty, being unable to work with a board, not working within a system wide structure, having industry experience rather than academic track recordthere a Part schadenfreude, part cautionary tale, this is a study of failed university presidents in redacted case studies and in the reflections of people like William Frawley, who chose to write op eds about his behavior at Mary Washington Whether it is being out of step with the local community, the institution s faith tradition, antagonizing faculty, being unable to work with a board, not working within a system wide structure, having industry experience rather than academic track recordthere are many ways to crash and burn, including straight up nepotism, fraud and misuse of public funds What the author offers is cases on which to reflect, not advice on how to avoid the pitfalls, but since I am never likely to be a college President, I can just watch the carnage and try to guess who the thinly veiled case studies are and the untold destruction they ve caused to people s careers and communities relationships with the schools

  2. says:

    Leading institutions of higher education is a formidable endeavor Presidencies Derailed is rooted in research and feedback, the authors dive into 6 areas trends that have occurred in derailments Some the fault of the president, some by products of the context culture of the institutions, and others the result of board shortcomings An eye opening read Leading institutions of higher education is a formidable endeavor Presidencies Derailed is rooted in research and feedback, the authors dive into 6 areas trends that have occurred in derailments Some the fault of the president, some by products of the context culture of the institutions, and others the result of board shortcomings An eye opening read

  3. says:

    Board members are obliged, as a body and as individuals, to become familiar with good governance and the principles of academic freedom and free inquiry, as well as the particular culture of their institution, its history, mission, and aspirations As higher education as all too frequently has failed to develop programs to socialize new faculty, so too have boards ignored their responsibility to develop orientation programs to acquaint new board members with the culture of academia and the trad Board members are obliged, as a body and as individuals, to become familiar with good governance and the principles of academic freedom and free inquiry, as well as the particular culture of their institution, its history, mission, and aspirations As higher education as all too frequently has failed to develop programs to socialize new faculty, so too have boards ignored their responsibility to develop orientation programs to acquaint new board members with the culture of academia and the traditions of their individual institution or system The board should also devote attention to reminding continuing board members of the obligations, limits, and constraints on their power and authority In shhort, boards must be vigilant in practicing good governance p 115 Although this book lays out a variety of reasons presidencies fail, including missing goals, poor relationship skills, and cultural competence in the sense of adapting to a new academic environment , the overwhelming takeaway is the critical role of the governing board in successful presidencies The book itself is a series of chapters contributed by various authors in two cases, derailed presidents themselves There are four chapters organized around types of schools, with sample derailments illustrating various themes the organization breaks down somewhat from there, as every example demonstrates multiple factors that lead to derailment The second section, on averting derailment, has two ideas good searches and good governance There aren t brilliant insights,points for rumination that would be useful for board member education, but there is not much applicable for anyone outside of the board For the majority of the chapters, the overall structure is what I am going to say, narrative, table, and here is what I said , which gets tedious reading straight through the book, but does make it much easier to dip in and out at random The attempt to explore the black box of presidential derailments is a good idea, but I was left unsatisfiedthe black box nature of the problem of failed presidencies traps this book at a level of generality that is most useful for individuals without strong organizational leadership background in higher education

  4. says:

    This book weaves together a dozen or so case studies of derailed presidents presidents who resigned or were ousted during their first terms , statistics about a larger group of derailments, and speculations about the causes for derailment and how to prevent them I thought it did a very nice job of balancing the anecdotal with the analytical, and keeping the narrative moving forward.Many of the derailments stemmed from specific incidents or behaviors that were unethical, showed poor judgment, This book weaves together a dozen or so case studies of derailed presidents presidents who resigned or were ousted during their first terms , statistics about a larger group of derailments, and speculations about the causes for derailment and how to prevent them I thought it did a very nice job of balancing the anecdotal with the analytical, and keeping the narrative moving forward.Many of the derailments stemmed from specific incidents or behaviors that were unethical, showed poor judgment, or reflected some fundamental personality instability temper tantrums, paranoid secrecy I found myself muchinterested by the derailments where the situation wasn t so black and white the president behaved in an ethical way, but simply wasn t able to navigate the political shoals of the institution or the president was between a rock and a hard place an impossible economic situation, warring faculty, insurmountable board dysfunction Those are the cases that I felt one could learn the most from, about how to manage a tricky, complex environment without getting derailed or, conversely, about avoiding taking a position that is doomed to failure in the first place

  5. says:

    Working at an institution that recently had a president who was forced to resign by our board, I found this book quite topical and informative I thought that it was well organized, included case studies for reflection on the issues albeit anonymous case studies which made it somewhat difficult to follow was Overland State or Ridge State the larger university Was there a difference in their governance structures These were public cases and the real ones should have been used so that we could Working at an institution that recently had a president who was forced to resign by our board, I found this book quite topical and informative I thought that it was well organized, included case studies for reflection on the issues albeit anonymous case studies which made it somewhat difficult to follow was Overland State or Ridge State the larger university Was there a difference in their governance structures These were public cases and the real ones should have been used so that we could have understood the school dynamics better The authors summarize the themes of presidential derailment very well and even have a great section on dysfunctional boards that all academics should read however, the authors did a much poorer job with the methods to avoid derailment

  6. says:

    The author studied the first term derailments of 50 university presidents, at community colleges, private schools and regional universities Seldom was failing to reach institutional goals the reason for the presidents being let go Instead, the most frequent factors were failure to adjust to a given institutional or community climate, lack of soft skills, and dysfunctional boards Good food for thought for any institution, especially concerning how to on board a new president successfully.

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