The "Ideal" university president

I came across an interesting article in the CHE called “The Authentic, and Effective, College President,” by Rita Bornstein, who is president at Rollins College. To anyone who has even glanced through this blog before, you probably understand why I’m intrigued by this article. While the advice in this piece is overly general and mild, I suspect even this simple advice will once again be ignored by the EMU Board of Regents and others.

One passage I thought particularly interesting given the current scandals:

The power, perquisites, and bully pulpit provided by the presidency can cause some presidents to inflate their importance and sense of entitlement. They can be swept away by the opportunity to act on a broad stage and participate in so many local, regional, and national activities that they neglect their primary responsibilities for institutional oversight, decision making, and governance. They can begin to believe in an “imperial” presidency and fail to develop and maintain relationships of trust….A few presidents who have viewed themselves as superior to others have even acted as though social norms and laws did not apply to them, engaging in misconduct that has included impersonating a police officer and stealing college funds.

Bingo.

By the way, there is a “celebration” of the Kirkpatrick era happening this week– Thursday, I believe. I was invited (along with just about everyone else at EMU), but I won’t be able to make it because I’ll be out of town. I thought about going. I wondered what exactly Kirkpatrick et al would say about the “good works” that were done under his leadership. Honestly, I can’t imagine that part of the talk lasting too long. Interestingly enough, this is the exact kind of event that would be perfect for the “University House;” but because of the controversies around all that, it’s being held out at the Eagle Crest golf course clubhouse.

Update:
Late this afternoon, I (along with everyone else at EMU) received this message:

The Eastern Michigan University Foundation has announced that the
Farewell Reception scheduled for Thursday, July 29, 2004, for EMU
President and Mrs. Samuel Kirkparick, at the Eagle Crest Golf Club, has
been cancelled.

The Foundation apologizes for any inconvenience.

Somehow, that seems a fitting end to all this. Or at least an end to this chapter….

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