A diverse group of four female leaders in higher ed faces the camera February 7, 2022

Petty Principles for Women in Higher Education: Realistic and Practical Advice for Success in Higher Education Leadership

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According to recent research, women in higher education continue to consistently be underrepresented at the administrative levels of dean, chief academic officers, provost, and president (Gallant, 2014). There are numerous motives identified by researchers for the persistence of the underrepresentation


December 3, 2018

Petty Principles for Leaders in Higher Education

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Higher education leaders have an opportunity to make an impact on the education and development of a diverse population of students and help them become contributing citizens in society. However, the job comes with a myriad of challenges that can confound both novice and experienced leaders alike.

In this post, I offer seven tips to help guide academic decision-making. In a play on my last name, I call them “petty principles.”


leadership development November 8, 2018

Assessing the Impact of Leadership Development, Part 2: The Holton Model

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Elwood F. “Ed” Holton III, former director of the School of Human Resource Education & Workforce Development at Louisiana State University, recognized as early as 1996 that the Kirkpatrick Model of Training Assessment, although so widely adopted that it has become virtually an industry standard, had several serious drawbacks (Holton, 1996). To begin with, he noted that the Kirkpatrick model is essentially a taxonomy, or classification scheme, and he stated, “One shortcoming of taxonomies is that they do not fully identify all constructs underlying the phenomena of interest, thus making validation impossible” (Holton, 1996, p. 6).


Leadership development November 7, 2018

Assessing the Impact of Leadership Development: Part 1, The Kirkpatrick Model

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With all the investments that colleges and universities make in trying to develop their academic leaders—sending them to conferences and workshops, creating their own in-house professional development programs, assigning new leaders to mentors, and so on—institutions want to know whether they’re getting any return on their investment. In short, does the leadership development that current and prospective academic leaders participate in make any real difference? If so, what difference does it make? And in either case, how do we know?


succession planning October 29, 2018

Succession Planning: Developing Future Leaders from Within

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Succession planning, or targeted leadership development, is not very common in higher education institutions, perhaps because of the corporate cronyism it often calls to mind. Certainly, the values and hiring practices in higher education are inconsistent with the “good ol’ boy” network found in the corporate sector, but perhaps higher education institutions could apply some of the more benign aspects of succession planning to minimize disruptions associated with leadership change, preserve institutional memory, and make full use of the talents within the institution.


avoiding groupthink October 25, 2018

Avoiding Groupthink

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With the spate of books and articles that deal with the issue of incivility in higher education, it’s easy to conclude that destructive disharmony is the single biggest problem facing colleges and universities today. To be sure, lack of collegiality has become a significant challenge, and nearly every academic leader can recall at least one department or college that became increasingly dysfunctional because of its inability to work together in a mutually supportive manner. But the great deal of attention we pay to the challenges of incivility can cause us to underestimate the dangers of an opposing threat that also exists in many academic units: groupthink.