- In a piece for Inside Higher Ed, Penn State strategic communications instructor and University RepProtect strategic partner Bill Mahon provides tips for first-year college presidents hoping to avoid pitfalls.
- Spending is a major factor in the first year, especially when building budgets for investiture and the presidential residence in contrast with budget cuts and faculty salary considerations. Likewise, student affairs issues like racial tolerance during holidays like Halloween, drinking and associated behaviors, and social media crises should all be top of mind when entering the presidency.
- Athletics and legislative engagement are two areas deserving of high attention, because of the exposure and financial elements tied to each.
The biggest shock for many presidents is the amount of influence they must provide for all elements of campus operations and culture. Many do not expect for the culture of the previous administration, or the tradition of the institution, to demand that presidents prove their embrace of or departure from varying elements of both.
What is key for presidents to first embrace is that the institutional mission undergirds all aspect of personnel management, operations, budgeting and community development. By holding to this blueprint, and making sure that governing boards understand the ties between the mission and executive vision, it becomes much easier to lead and to hold others to a uniform standard.