In higher ed leadership turnover, data show it's all about the money
- Recent studies on turnover in college and university presidencies reveal that most involuntary departures were tied to issues involving financial management or increasing pressures tied to financial shifts in institutional financial outlook.
- The more rigorous the institution, the greater the instance of firing or forced termination; about 18% in turnover rate a doctoral level universities versus 8% at masters-level schools in 500 transitions reviewed between 2008 and 2013.
- More than 44% of firings took place between 2008-09, which researchers attributed to the national economic recession. Campus dissatisfaction, was a distant second in most issues of presidential dismissal or separation.
Finance and race have emerged as the two biggest challenges to college administrators in the last three years, and with the increasing media coverage of the topics combined with volatile perspectives growing among students and alumni about both topics, president are under increasing pressure to be politicians, business people and peacemakers, with each of the elements carrying conflicting needs.
The goal for most college and university leaders will be to communicate with the board the kind of support they will need from them, to help in brokering relationships across each of these areas. Without corporate, community influence from faces outside of the campus, most leaders will be at the whim of the people and the markets, with no quick fix on how to alter either reality.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education Why university chiefs head out the door