Tips for navigating the interim presidency
- Short-term leaders are typically selected by boards for having an intimate knowledge of the university, while being completely removed from scandal which may have led to the departure of the previous president.
- Interim presidents are commonly asked to address usual issues facing a campus, all while executing a vision for success and expectations beyond a year or two.
- Current and former interim presidents say the best approach to leadership is to proceed as if the appointment will be long-term, in order to command respect from faculty and to gain trust from the board of trustees.
Baylor University's David Garland, serving in his second stint as interim, has to address the college's sexual assault scandal and all of the media, legal and financial issues which may accompany it. But he does so with the full support of faculty, believing that he will be transparent and fair in his review and decisions about how to move forward.
The profile of an interim president, which ultimately is the best audition for a presidency any executive can hope for, is a career academician with a range of experience, from professor to dean to service as an assistant provost or provost. But with changing priorities for the college presidency and its demands in the areas of revenue creation, technology, diversity management and political lobbying, the profile could change from career professor to campus CIO or lawyer.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education What it's like to be interim president - again