- The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on growing acrimony at the University of New Mexico, where regents continue to debate a suspension or firing for President Robert Frank, who faces criticism for his management style and fiscal choices just months before he is scheduled to conclude his five-year contract.
- Frank would be the third consecutive president to leave the university among controversy with its board and faculty members, and he has publicly threatened to sue the university for defamation following a regent-commissioned report which revealed notions of staff mistreatment and audit findings.
- Known as a hard-nosed leader at his previous stop at Kent State University, some faculty members say Frank should not be terminated so close to an announced resignation, and that the episode could significantly hamper the school's ability to find a solid permanent replacement.
This is the latest example of why the American college presidency continues to rise in the rankings among the most stressful and volatile positions in the workforce. In the public sector, political jockeying, ego management of board and faculty members, and constant pressure to raise funds makes the position virtually unmanageable, even for seasoned administrators.
The goal for presidents is to remain in constant communication with all members of the board, key members of faculty and student leadership, and to remain as visible to donors and legislators as possible so that these groups get to know the personality traits, vision and commitment of the administration. Short of this, there is no trust factor among groups that can make or break an administration, and no reason to retain a person that has not made the effort to know these groups, or for them to know their top officer.