University Business - February 2009 - (Page 32)

CHAPTERS Achieving the Turnaround: From Strategy to Action By James Martin and James E. Samels N REVIEWING SUMMARY RECOMMENDA tions from the book’s core chapters on board leadership, the presidency, academic strategy, and the work of the cabinet, five areas emerge as central to turnaround success: clarity of mission, financial stability, infrastructure health, accreditation transparency, and engaged board, executive, and faculty leadership. Each of these areas must be integrated into the overall turnaround plan for the institution finally to achieve and sustain stability, but we caution readers to realize that even in the face of a major enrollment decline or budget deficit, or the sudden defection of the president, there will remain multiple ways to address the institution’s most pressing problems. Thus we synthesize key strategies of approach and lessons learned with the understanding that they conclude a practitioner’s handbook designed to provide solutions for campus leaders who are contending with a broad scope of overlapping and ingrained weaknesses. MISSION During the uncertainties of a turnaround, the mission of the college or university is sometimes taken for granted and is left unconsidered with the assumption that there must be dozens, if not hundreds, of issues that need addressing—particularly the hard core financial challenges— I ● T U R N A RO U N D : L E A D I N G S T R E S S E D C O L L E G E S A N D Universities to Excellence (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009) is the new book by University Business “Future Shock” columnists James Martin and James E. Samels. The book outlines how board members, presidents, and administrators can identify their institutions’ weaknesses, implement plans for improvement, and mitigate existing damage. Here we offer an excerpt summarizing the key strategies that must be implemented to turn around a stressed college or university. Read this story online at www to get an additional collection of leadership lessons gathered from presidents and others who have managed a turnaround process firsthand. You’ll also find information for ordering a copy of the book for yourself. before time can be taken to sit and reflect on this sometimes overlooked element of community life. Amid many campus anxieties, discussions of mission sometimes seem to be a luxury that the leadership team cannot afford, but in our research we have noted how often it has been necessary to rethink the institution’s original vision and goals in order to get underneath the current causes of its fragility and to start addressing them seriously. Instead of beginning with a complex plan to reorganize personnel or an expensive outcomes-assessment system, the leadership team should more wisely use this energy to examine how dangerously dated and off-center the institutional mission has become. William Weary, consultant to the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges on trustee leadership issues, advises, “The board’s final responsibility is not to its current faculty, staff, alumni, or even students. Rather, it is to the institution’s mission. Key members of the leadership team and trustees must keep asking: How well does this university implement that mission? From the perspective of best use of available human, financial, and physical resources, can current institutional sacrifices be justified? And, finally, what would the consequences be of shutting our doors?” Rather than jumping too quickly to a new, expensive degree program or an expanded marketing campaign, experienced campus leaders working to mitigate risks learn to gauge early on if mission has been 32 | February 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - February 2009

University Business - February 2009
Editor's Note
College Index
Company Index
Advisory Board
Behind the News
Sense of Place
Independent Outlook
Wireless Windfall
Share and Share Alike
Achieving the Turnaround
Internet Technology
What's New
End Note

University Business - February 2009