Higher education roiled this spring in the wake of the scandal from Mount St. Mary’s University, a private Catholic university in Emmitsburg, Maryland. In January 2016, the school’s student newspaper The Mountain Echo ran a special edition featuring the student retention plan of President Simon Newman. In addition to potentially unethical use of incoming student data to encourage freshmen to leave early, the President allegedly told a professor that “this is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can’t. You just have to drown the bunnies ... put a Glock to their heads.”
School Heads from around the world congregate on our e-Lists to find crowdsourced answers to common problems only their peers would understand. If you’re curious to see what your fellow Heads have been talking about this year, read on for the fruits from nine lively discussions ranging from arming your teachers to considering alumni fundraisers.
In this, the most romantic of months, love is in the air for student sweethearts—and maybe in your administrative ranks, as well. When people spend most of their waking hours together, it’s natural for crushes to form for admirable, available peers, regardless if your school’s policies frown on it or not. If you find that love is swamping your school’s halls and offices, here are some ways in which to keep everyone’s “head in the game”—instead of Cupid’s clouds.
As School Head, you play a crucial part in your school’s advancement goals—particularly re-enrollment. There is no one else who can speak on behalf of your school quite as comprehensively and authoritatively as the School Head, which means you personally can wield a great deal of power and persuasion when it comes to student retention.
So, while the Admission Office works on accepting new mission-appropriate students, take a moment to address one vital question that no one else can answer.
Here at ISM, a lot of our theory and best-practice advice comes from our focus on a school’s mission. We consider the school’s mission a statement of why the institution exists, a “filter” through which every decision must be run. Everything from scheduling to facility expansion to financial aid comes from how a school interprets its mission.
But many organizations have a “vision,” in addition to its mission. When a school already has its mission—its core focus and primary compass pointing the community toward the “ideal” learning environment—a vision feels superfluous, at least initially. Done correctly, however, a school’s vision articulates how a school will fulfill its root mission, making it an interesting (albeit optional) part of the school’s strategic plan and marketing strategy.
Leaders often possess a raw, natural charisma and energy, being the centers around whom others naturally congregate. But, there are distinct qualities which conscientious leaders—particularly academic leaders—actively cultivate to better both themselves and those around them. These people are the ones for which you should watch as you enter this year’s hiring and promotion season.
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