Dayton showcases best practices in leadership transition
- At the University of Dayton, trustees worked to select and to connect a new president into university culture as advisers, rather than observers, a transition policy which has drawn praise from around higher education.
- The incoming and outgoing presidents worked together for several months to develop a plan of approach for the institution's strengths and weaknesses, and to build an understanding of the role of the board in governance and operations.
- Boards frequently approach searches and appointments with few details about financial, social status of the institution, which puts new leadership at a disadvantage of understanding and perspective.
The University of Dayton has an ideal scenario for presidential transition, but what happens when the board is marred with political or financial pressure from outside sources in hiring and oversight? The burden, seemingly, will remain with new presidents to effectively assess an institution, and to work with the outgoing administration, when possible, to form the right questions about the state of a campus.
Leaders must be able to identify and visualize affairs with faculty governance and labor disputes, technological standing and upgrade needs, racial and gender climate, tenure and promotion trends, and legislative lobbying status to begin a presidency in the most effective way. But if boards cannot make the information clear, there is no way for a new administration to see the path to progress in those areas.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education How trustees can do better at presidential transitions