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Higher Education

Essay by   •  January 23, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  5,787 Words (24 Pages)  •  2,419 Views

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The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, is the institution of higher education (IHE) in which this paper is framed. Arkansas is a very liberal state and southeast Arkansas, known as the delta region, is even more liberal. The state's minority population is about 22% and includes African-Americans, American Indian, and Asian / Pacific Islanders. This Historically Black Institution is made up of the following five colleges and schools: the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Science, School of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Business and Management, and the School of Military Science. UAPB is a residential campus with 1800 of its 3500 students living on-campus in residence halls. UAPB's Carnegie classification is Baccalaureate Colleges-General.

UAPB is a state supported land grant institution. It was created in 1873 by an act of the Legislature as a branch of the Arkansas Industrial University (now University of Arkansas). Originally known as Branch Normal College, the school opened in 1873 primarily to establish the well-being of the poorer classes. UAPB is the second oldest institution of higher education (IHE) in Arkansas and one of five schools in the University of Arkansas (UA) system. A board of trustees appointed by a State Board of Education governs the university. Each campus has its respective chancellor; their senior administrators include Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Affairs and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Executive Assistant to the Chancellor. My preferred position at UAPB would be Special Advisor to the Chancellor (SAC). After serving as a senior level administrator at various HBCU's and the former executive director of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), I am qualified to provide advisement to the chancellor. The SAC is responsible for providing the chief officer with information that will be beneficial to the growth of the university in the areas of institutional research & planning, recruitment and retention, assessment and budgeting, marketing and public relations. There are a variety of tasks in which the SAC will assist the chancellor in the decision making process. These tasks cover a broad scope of the university framework which lends my choice to this particular position.

Effective Leadership Principles

Leadership plays an important role in the functioning of higher education. Effective leadership principles can assist administrators in the daily operations of IHE, with the planning of major and minor projects, and with problems that may occur. While leaders are responsible and get credit, or take the blame, for how an organization operates, an effective leader must be able to work with other members of the organization. As Tierney (1999) states, someone who leads all alone, is not a leader. A leader may be innovative and hard working, but a leader needs to have supporters. Five effective principles of leadership will be explored at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) to frame this essay.

In his book, The University: An Owners Manual, Rosovsky (1990) provides insight to governance by drawing upon his own leadership experience as Dean of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Some think of this particular position as the most respected academic job in the country. Rosovsky defines several effective principles of leadership in his book. I will examine two of Rosovsky's principles.

The fourth leadership principle states, "In a university, those with knowledge are entitled to a greater say" (Rosovsky, 1990, p.269). The longevity of some of the administration and faculty at UAPB and the influence they have on decisions made on campus immediately comes to mind in consideration of this principle. Rosovsky states that final judgments on educational issues and concerns are left to those who have experience and a lengthy period of apprenticeship. He also explains that students are associated with the university because they want to acquire knowledge. Those individuals with expert knowledge are found on the academic staff and not necessarily on executive boards. Rosovsky believes that the office of the president (in this case, chancellor) should not be viewed as one with superior knowledge. Presidential knowledge has little to do with individual expertise (Rosovsky, 1990). The higher one's place in a hierarchy, the less emphasis can be placed on expertise.

Athletic Department

At UAPB, the athletic department has been dissatisfied with the head football coach. The past three years have produced losing seasons and sub par performance in conference competition. Football is the single sport that everyone in the city supports. While the basketball team generates more revenue by competing against top Division I teams in "money games," the football utilizes over 50% of the overall athletic budget and does not generate revenue due to low-ticket sales. A new 12,500-seat stadium was constructed in 2000 and fan attendance has been slowly declining each year for home games. It is clear that the university should go in another direction and replace the head coach. The Chancellor hired a new athletic director (AD) after the former AD passed away. Between the death of one AD and the hiring of another, the Chancellor fired the current head basketball coach and replaced him with the former assistant basketball coach. The current state of the basketball team is not very good either, but football is expected to be competitive each year. Upon installing a new AD, the chancellor charged him with evaluating the athletic program and making authoritative decisions. Hence, as Rosovsky states, this new AD should have a greater knowledge in the field of athletics and should be able to make the tough decisions in the program. The AD wants to fire the head coach and replace his staff, but the chancellor reportedly offered him a four-year contract extension until 2006 because of his loyalty to the coach. This is a classic example of how a leader should entrust those he hires to do an effective job. By no means should he have hired a new AD and then went behind his back to continue with the current football state. Rosovsky's conceptualization of effective leadership suggests the chancellor utilized his authority improperly. The chancellor should have allowed the AD to assess the football coach during the season and then the two of them could have met together and made a better, more formalized decision.

To further illustrate the point of executive leadership exercising too much authority, Rosovsky explains, those with knowledge should have a greater say is not, subverted by presidential authority" (Rososvsky, 1990, p.273). I support

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