At a time when the college presidency has become a high-risk occupation and CEO turnover is accelerating, with 131 leaving their jobs in January alone, maybe they could benefit from some words of wisdom.
Some of the nation's poorest people work at higher educational institutions, and many of them are members of the faculty. Oh, yes, there are still faculty members who receive comfortable middle class salaries. But most faculty do not.
Presidents meet interesting people, promote big ideas, and affect the lives of countless students. They watch as students and families live dreams that are limited only by their imagination. College remains that one special place where dreams still matter.
Sitting in our inboxes and on our desks are two piles of petitions we've received as university presidents. One pile consists of petitions we are being asked to sign; the other contains those telling us what we should or should not do.
I decided that Dr. Kent Smith, the new president of Langston University, was the logical choice for the first interview for "Diverse Conversations." Recently, I sat down with him to talk about the first eight months of his presidency.
Given the amount of time and money invested in presidential searches, and the cost of failure, I'm convinced that the time is ripe for executive search professionals to reexamine how they approach their work and to make adjustments as warranted.
One definition of a college president is that he or she lives in a big house and carries a tin cup to search for money. A more accurate analysis might be that a president has a corporate title working as a 19th century political boss trying to manage a medieval craft guild.
Strong, innovative leadership is absolutely essential at HBCUs. Reconsidering where leaders come from and cultivating new leadership is necessary and vital to the future of these historic institutions.